Impact of self and temporal construal on brand categorization and extension evaluation
University of Kansas
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Instead of using all information, consumers often use only the one that is most readily accessible for arriving at a decision. This is known as knowledge accessibility in decision making. This dissertation examines the role of two situational factors, the self and the temporal construal, on the accessibility of brand associations, i.e. the knowledge that consumers store about a brand, on brand extension evaluation, brand categorization and the redounding effects of extension failure and success. Essay 1 shows that by increasing the match between the extension type (prototype or exemplar) and audience characteristic (independent versus interdependent self-construal), a firm can bolster its extension's success. In a series of studies, it became apparent that people with independent and interdependent self-construals respond differently to the type of brand extension as well as information about an extension's success or failure. Independent evaluates a prototype-based extension more favorably than interdependents; the reverse is true for an exemplar-based extension. When they consider negative information about extension failure, independents evaluate the parent brand significantly more unfavorable than the control group. For interdependents though, the negative impact is limited to the most accessible exemplar only (not the parent brand). Similar results emerge for brand enhancement with positive information about an extension's success. These results are consistent with the different accessibility of prototype and exemplar brand associations across different forms of self-construals. Essay 2 shows that the accessibility of brand associations changes with temporal construal of an individual. Exemplars of a brand, e.g. products associated with a brand, are more readily accessible to individuals with near temporal construal, while prototypes, e.g. beliefs associated with a brand, are more readily accessible to individuals with distant temporal construal. A series of studies showed that the different accessibility of exemplar and prototype associations across temporal construal influence brand categorization, i.e. grouping of two or more brands into a category and brand extension evaluation. Moreover, individuals in different temporal construal also invoke different evaluative processes for evaluating an extension, which is determined by the differential accessibility of the brand associations across different temporal construals.
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