Marketing Letters

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 109–124 | Cite as

Image feedback effects of brand extensions: Evidence from a longitudinal field study

  • Franziska Völckner
  • Henrik Sattler
  • Gwen Kaufmann


This paper examines the issue of image feedback effects and potential drivers of these effects by analyzing real-world extensions that have been introduced successfully in the market, using a longitudinal field study. Within the context of typical FMCG extensions, the authors find strong evidence that even for successful extensions, negative image feedback effects can occur, particularly when the perceived quality of the extension fails to meet the quality level of the parent brand. Strong brands tend to be more vulnerable to negative image feedback effects because consumers have a higher reference level for their extensions than for those of weaker brands. The likelihood of negative feedback effects decreases as the level of perceived fit and consumers’ perceptions of the general extendibility of the parent brand increases. But managers cannot, at least in the short run, mitigate negative image feedback effects through increased advertising support. Finally, the findings demonstrate that the feedback effects of a new extension product on parent brand image diminish over time.


Brand extensions Image feedback effects Brand name dilution 



The authors thank the editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. The comments of Kevin Lane Keller and John Roberts on previous drafts of this manuscript are also gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Aaker, D. A., & Joachimsthaler, E. (2000). Brand leadership. New York, NY: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aaker, D. A., & Keller, K. L. (1990). Consumer evaluations of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing, 54, 27–41 (January).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahluwalia, R., & Gürhan-Canli, Z. (2000). The effects of extensions on the family brand name: An accessibility–diagnosticity perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(3), 371–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balachander, S., & Ghose, S. (2003). Reciprocal spillover effects: A strategic benefit of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing, 67, 4–13 (January).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bottomley, P. A., & Holden, S. J. S. (2001). Do we really know how consumers evaluate brand extensions? Empirical generalizations based on secondary analysis of eight studies. Journal of Marketing Research, 38, 494–500 (November).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boush, D. M., & Loken, B. (1991). A process-tracing study of brand extension evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 28, 16–28 (February).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chang, J. W. (2002). Will a family brand image be diluted by an unfavorable brand extension? A brand-trial-based approach. Advances in Consumer Research, 29, 299–304.Google Scholar
  8. Erdem, T. (1998). An empirical analysis of umbrella branding. Journal of Marketing Research, 35, 339–351 (August).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Erdem, T., & Sun, B. (2002). An empirical investigation of the spillover effects of advertising and sales promotions in umbrella branding. Journal of Marketing Research, 39, 408–420 (November).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Maheswaran, D. (1998). The effects of extensions on brand name dilution and enhancement. Journal of Marketing Research, 35, 464–473 (November).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1973). On the psychology of prediction. Psychology Review, 80, 237–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Keller, K. L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57, 1–22 (January).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Keller, K. L., & Aaker, D. A. (1992). The effects of sequential introduction of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing Research, 29, 35–50 (February).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kim, B.-D., & Sullivan, M. W. (1998). The effect of parent brand experience on line extension trial and repeat purchase. Marketing Letters, 9(2), 181–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Klink, R. R., & Smith, D. C. (2001). Threats to the external validity of brand extension research. Journal of Marketing Research, 38, 326–335 (August).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lance, C. E. (1988). Residual Centering, Exploratory and Confirmatory Moderator Analysis, and Decomposition of Effects in Path Models Containing Interactions. Applied Psychological Measurement, 12, 163–175 (June).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lane, V. (2000). The impact of ad repetition and ad content on consumer perceptions of incongruent extensions. Journal of Marketing, 64, 80–91 (April).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lane, V., & Jacobson, R. (1997). The reciprocal impact of brand leveraging: Feedback effects from brand extension evaluation to brand evaluation. Marketing Letters, 8(3), 261–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Loken, B., & Roedder-John, D. (1993). Diluting brand beliefs: When do brand extensions have a negative impact? Journal of Marketing, 57, 71–84 (July).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Milberg, S. S., Park, C. W., & McCarthy, M. S. (1997). Managing negative feedback effects associated with brand extensions: The impact of alternative branding strategies. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 6(2), 119–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morrin, M. (1999). The impact of brand extensions on parent brand memory structures and retrieval processes. Journal of Marketing Research, 36, 517–525 (November).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nijssen, E. J. (1999). Success factors of line extensions of fast-moving consumer goods. European Journal of Marketing, 33(5/6), 440–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Reddy, S. K., Holak, S. L., & Bhat, S. (1994). To extend or not to extend: Success determinants of line extensions. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 243–262 (May).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ries, A., & Ries, L. (1998). The 22 immutable laws of branding. New York, NY: HarperBusiness.Google Scholar
  25. Roedder-John, D., Loken, B., & Joiner, C. (1998). The negative impact of extensions: Can flagship products be diluted? Journal of Marketing, 62, 19–32 (January).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sheinin, D. A. (2000). The effects of experience with brand extensions on parent brand knowledge. Journal of Business Research, 49(1), 47–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tukey, J. W. (1977). Exploratory data analysis. Reading, MA: Addison WesleyGoogle Scholar
  28. Völckner, F., & Sattler, H. (2006). Drivers of brand extension success. Journal of Marketing, 70, 18–34 (April).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wernerfelt, B. (1988). Umbrella branding as a signal of new product quality: An example of signalling by posting a bond. Rand Journal of Economics, 19, 458–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franziska Völckner
    • 1
  • Henrik Sattler
    • 2
  • Gwen Kaufmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marketing and Brand ManagementUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Marketing and MediaUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Harris Interactive AGHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations