The Impact of Brand Extension

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The impact of brand extensions on brand personality: experimental evidence Adamantios Diamantopoulos
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, and

Brand extensions

Received April 2004

Gareth Smith and Ian Grime
Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Purpose – To investigate empirically the impact of brand extensions on brand personality, using Aaker’s scale to measure the latter. Design/methodology/approach – Experimental study manipulating extension fit (good/poor fit), controlling for brand familiarity and including a control group. Findings – No adverse impact on brand personality of core brand as a result of introducing extensions (irrespective of fit). Research limitations/implications – Cross-sectional study not capturing potential long-term effects of extensions with poor fit. Longitudinal research is needed, as are replications with different brands, types of extensions and consumer segments. Practical implications – Preliminary support for introducing extension for a quality brand without fear of adversely affecting its brand personality. Originality/value – First study explicitly investigating impact of brand extensions on brand personality. Keywords Brand identity, Brand image, Brand extensions, Consumer behaviour Paper type Research paper

In recent years, there has been increased interest in the brand personality construct as its strategic importance has become more apparent. Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (Aaker, 1997, p. 347). A distinctive brand personality can help create a set of unique and favorable associations in consumer memory and thus build and enhance brand equity (Keller, 1993; Johnson et al., 2000; Phau and Lau, 2000). As a result, brand personality is considered to be an important factor for the success of a brand in terms of preference and choice (Batra et al., 1993; Biel, 1993). Indeed, a well-established brand personality can result in consumers having stronger emotional ties to the brand and greater trust and loyalty (Siguaw et al., 1999; Johnson et al., 2000), thus providing an enduring basis for differentiation (Aaker and Fournier, 1995; Halliday, 1996; Haigood, 1999) which is difficult to copy (Aaker, 1996). From a managerial perspective, brand personality enables firms to communicate with their customers about the brand more effectively and plays a major role in advertising and promotional efforts (Plummer, 1985; Batra et al., 1993; Aaker, 1996). As such, marketing practitioners have become increasingly aware of the importance of building “a clear and distinctive brand personality” (Yaverbaum, 2001, p. 20).

European Journal of Marketing Vol. 39 No. 1/2, 2005 pp. 129-149 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0309-0566 DOI 10.1108/03090560510572052

EJM 39,1/2


Surprisingly, despite the importance to practitioners of creating meaningful and distinctive brand personalities (Bull and Oxley, 1996; Court et al., 1997), there is a relative paucity of empirical research to guide them in managing their development. This is particularly notable as brands must maintain consistent, desirable, and enduring personalities to ensure their long-term success (Lannon, 1993; Alt and Griggs, 1988; Siguaw et al., 1999). A major reason for the lack of research was the absence, until recently, of a comprehensive and psychometrically sound brand personality measure. In this context, previous studies tended to rely on either ad hoc scales or measures of human personality (e.g. Evans, 1959; Lowe, 1961; Evans, 1962; Westfall, 1962; Grubb and Hupp, 1968; Birdwell, 1968; Kassarjian, 1971). Following Aaker’s (1997) seminal work, however, in which a five-dimension, 42-trait scale of brand personality was developed and...
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