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What Makes Brands Elastic? The Influence of Brand Concept and Styles of Thinking on Brand Extension Evaluation

By Alokparna Basu Monga and Deborah Roedder John


Why are some brands more elastic than others? Prior research shows that consumers are more accepting of extensions into distant product categories for brands with prestige concepts (Rolex) than for brands with functional concepts (Timex). In this article, the authors examine consumers ’ style of thinking—analytic versus holistic thinking—to better understand the elasticity of prestige versus functional brands. For functional brands, the authors find that holistic thinkers provide more favorable responses to distant extensions than analytic thinkers; however, for prestige brands, holistic and analytic thinkers respond equally favorably. Thus, analytic thinkers are identified as the roadblocks for functional brands launching distant brand extensions. To meet this challenge, the authors offer several strategies, including (1) using a subbrand (Excer wallets by Toyota) instead of a direct brand (Toyota wallets) to reduce analytic thinking; (2) using elaborational communications, which address potentially problematic features of the extension, to reduce analytic thinking; and (3) matching extension information with the consumer’s style of thinking, which increases the persuasiveness of ad messages

Topics: brand extensions, prestige brands, functional brands, analytic thinking
Year: 2010
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