(Hoch and Deighton, 1989; Kempf and Smith,1998). Roedder-John
(1998) viewed brandknowledge as a network of beliefs and associations.Hence, the beliefs regarding the extension brandare transferable to the parent brand. Keller andAaker (1992) and Loken and Roedder-John(1993) posited that two conditions must bepresent for the transfer to occur:(1) The extension information must be deemedrelevantto theparentcategory.This mandatessimilarity between the parent and theextension categories.(2) The beliefs about the parent brand mustundergo a change.Roedder-John
(1998) suggested, however,that the network of beliefs linked to the ﬂagshipproduct tends to be extreme, strongly held, andresistant to change because of the accumulatedexposureandexperiencewiththeﬂagshipproduct.However, the beliefs associated with the parentbrand are likely to be different (varying strengths)across different segments of consumers.Consumers (prior users) who already have a highlevel of loyalty to the parent brand have awell-developed set of associations. It is expected,then, that new information from the experiencewith the extension brand will be unlikely toproduce a signiﬁcant change.Conversely, consumers with low to moderateloyalty toward the parent brand, those who haveless exposure to the parent brand, and those thathave negative association, particularly the non-users, are more likely to be receptive to changetheir beliefs and are prone to try the new brand(extension).If trial results in an unsuccessful brandextension, it is likely that extension triers will getnegative or at least neutral information regardingthe extension. Among the prior users, the negativeresults of the extension trial can provide newnegative information that can contradict theirexisting knowledge structures. For non-users,choice of the parent brand is already zero – hence,there is no more effect of the negative informationon their current choice.The notion that advertising might interactpositively with experience is rooted in the work of Ehrenberg (1974). There is empirical evidenceshowing that advertising has a disproportionateeffect on those “loyal” to a brand (Raj, 1982).Smith and Swinyard (1983) provided a cognitivefoundation differentiating between lower orderbeliefs, which are held prior to brand usageexperience and are hence more tentative, andhigher order beliefs, which form after extensiveusage and are therefore more resistant to change.According to Smith and Swinyard, advertisingcould work by two possible advertising-usageinteractions. One would occur by advertisinghelping to establish source credibility. The otherwould occur by advertising setting up a“predisposition” for a favorable usage experience,and then the favorable experience woulddetermine subsequent purchase behavior.Deighton (1984, 1986) described advertising asa “frame” on the brand usage experience, eitherpredictive or diagnostic. Framing might occurbefore (predictive) or after (diagnostic) the actualexperience. Before the experience, the advertisingmight focus the consumer on the brand’s bestattributes so that when the consumer evaluates theusage experience, the result is more favorablebecause the consumer evaluated the brandprimarilyonthesecriteria.After theexperiencetheadvertising could suggest to the consumer how tomake sense of what he or she has just experienced,resolving ambiguities and inﬂuencing what isretained in memory. In both predictive anddiagnostic framing, the key is that advertisinginteracts with the usage experience to enhance thelikelihood of repeat purchasing.
Consumer evaluation of extension
It is generally believed that linking the verticalbrandextension with thecore brandwill be helpfulin gaining consumer acceptance for the newlylaunched brand extension (Broniarczyk and Alba,1994). However, introducing a vertical brandextension almost always has a negative impact onconsumer perceptions of the ﬁrm’s core brand(Dacin and Smith, 1994). By its very nature,introducing a vertical extension results in a brandextension which exists in the same narrow productcategory but which differs from its core brand interms of quality level. This difference in qualitylevel that is perceived between the core brand andthe brand extension leads to consumer concerns,questions, or dissonance about the quality level of the core brand. Perceived ambiguity about thequality level of the core brand and the brandextension will inevitably diminish the favorabilitywith which consumers view the core brand.Research indicates that regardless of whether thevertical extension is a step-up or a step-downextension, the impact on the core brand image isnegative (Dacin and Smith, 1994).Categorization theory can be applied to brandfamilies in an attempt to understand the dynamicsofcorebrandsandbrandextensions(Meyers-Levyand Tybout, 1989; Sujan and Bettman, 1989;Sujan and Dekleva, 1987). One model fromcategorization theory, the bookkeeping model(Queller and Smith, 2002), suggests that newinformation about a brand extension introductioncauses consumers to update their beliefs about thebrand family and the core brand. Since a newly
Positive brand extension trial and choice of parent brand
Kuang-Jung Chen and Chu-Mei Liu
Journal of Product & Brand ManagementVolume 13 · Number 1 · 2004 · 25-36