Perceptions versus performance when managing extensions: new evidence about the role of fit between a parent brand and an extension
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The extant literature contends that a new product extension’s success is an increasing function of the parent brand’s quality and the degree of fit between the parent brand and extension. We develop theory to explore relationships between parent quality, image fit and functional fit. Each of these components should trigger positive pre-purchase associations from the parent. However, at the point of sale, high levels of functional fit are expected to increase the probability of substitution between parent and extension. To test this and related assertions, we augment UPC scanner data with perceptual measures for 42 matched parent–extension pairs. Findings confirm that high parent quality negatively impacts an extension’s sales when functional fit is high. Equally telling, low parent quality can actually increase an extension’s sales in some cases. We use our fitted model to present counter-factual experiments to show the magnitude of these increases or decreases under combinations of our key variables and extension type, line or brand. The combinations we explore occur frequently in-market.
KeywordsAugmented scanner data Parent brand Brand extension Compensatory research Line extension Parent brand–extension fit (congruence)
The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions from Chris Allen, Sharon McFarland, Michael Barone, and three anonymous reviewers. Correspondence regarding this manuscript should be directed to the first author.
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