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Authors

Kiwan Park

Abstract

In this research, we examine whether and why temporal distance influences evaluations of two different types of brand extensions: concept-based extensions, defined as extensions primarily based on the importance or relevance of brand concepts to extension products; and similarity-based extensions, defined as extensions primarily based on the amount of feature similarity at the product-category level. In Study 1, we test the hypothesis that concept-based extensions are evaluated more favorably when they are framed to launch in the distant rather than in the near future, whereas similaritybased extensions are evaluated more favorably when they are framed to launch in the near rather than in the distant future. In Study 2, we confirm that this time-dependent differential evaluation is driven by the difference in construal level between the bases of the two types of extensions ? i.e., brand-concept consistency and product-category feature similarity. As such, we find that conceptbased extensions are evaluated more favorably under the abstract than concrete mindset, whereas similarity-based extensions are evaluated more favorably under the concrete than abstract mindset. In Study 3, we extend to the case for a broad brand (i.e., brands that market products across multiple categories), finding that making accessible a specific product category of a broad parent brand influences evaluations of near-future, but not distant-future, brand extensions.
Combined together, our findings suggest that temporal distance influences brand extension evaluation through its effect on the importance placed on brand concepts and feature similarity. That is, consumers rely on different bases to evaluate brand extensions, depending on their perception of when the extensions take place and on under what mindset they are placed. This research makes theoretical contributions to the brand extension research by identifying one important determinant to brand extension evaluation and also uncovering its underlying dynamics. It also contributes to expanding the scope of the construal level theory by putting forth a novel interpretation of two bases of perceived fit in terms of construal level. Marketers who are about to launch and advertise brand extensions may benefit by considering temporal-distance information in determining what content to deliver about extensions in their communication efforts. Conceptual relation of a parent brand to extensions needs to be emphasized in the distant future, whereas feature similarity should be highlighted in the near future.

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