Free the brand: How a logo frame influences the potentiality of brand extensions

Abstract

Inspired by the logo redesign case of Starbucks, this research used four experiments to explore how marketers may broaden brand breadth and improve brand extension attitudes by removing the frame from a logo. A logo frame is speculated to create a mental boundary that dictates the scope to which products belong. Removing the logo frame thus frees the brand from such finite boundaries and encourages consumers’ relational associations. Study 1 investigated the mechanism underlying the impact of the logo frame on relational and item-specific elaborations. An open logo encouraged participants’ usage of relational elaborations, whereas a framed logo reinforced participants’ usage of item-specific elaborations. Study 2 demonstrated that participants associated broader product portfolios with a brand that had an open logo than a framed logo. Furthermore, Study 3 employed a brand extension scenario to support that removing the logo frame enhanced consumers’ attitudes toward a new extension. Study 4 illustrated that the perceived distance mediated the logo frame effect on extension attitudes as suggested by the Category Adjustment model. These findings demonstrate that marketers could leverage brand perception and favor certain brand extensions through an easily manipulated design feature, the logo frame.

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Funding

Funding was provided by Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (Grant No. MOST 104-2410-H-004-128).

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Correspondence to Yu-Shan Athena Chen.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Examples of product pictures with framed and open logos

figurea

Appendix 2: Logo stimuli used in Study 2

figureb

Appendix 3: Brand extension scenarios used in Study 3

figurec

Appendix 4: Map for locating new extensions, with the products dextrorotarily around the logo—Black & Decker

figured

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Chen, YS.A., Bei, LT. Free the brand: How a logo frame influences the potentiality of brand extensions. J Brand Manag 26, 349–364 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-018-0142-0

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Keywords

  • Logo frame
  • Brand extension
  • Relational versus item-specific elaboration
  • Category Adjustment model