The rejection of brand hegemony
Purveyors of strong brands can, through a number of the means intended to bolster their brand image, alienate and frustrate their consumers to the point of creating a broad-based reaction -- the rejection of brand hegemony. The literature describes a number of motivations for anti-consumption behavior. This paper explores the rejection of brand hegemony as a motivation for, and an expression of, anti-consumption, through a phenomenological study of the open source software (OSS) community. The study explores whether, and to what extent, the OSS community actively rejects software's dominant brand, Microsoft, and what motivations may be at work in the creation and expression of that rejection. Findings elucidate the necessary conditions for the rejection of brand hegemony to occur, revealing valuable lessons for vendors. These conditions comprise environment, positive motivation and negative motivation factors. The first two conditions are relatively constant, regardless of vendor's actions, while the last is largely of the vendor's creation. The managerial and theory-building implications of the study indicate that purveyors of strong brands may inadvertently create their own anti-consumption nemesis.
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