Consumers' Responses to Brand Extensions: An Emotional Perspective

  • Tsun Wai Yuen

Student thesis: Phd


Brand extension strategies involve the use of an established brand to introduce similar (high fit) or dissimilar (low fit) new products related to the parent brand’s original offerings (e.g. by product category or class). For example, in terms of product category, Colgate’s electric toothbrushes and ready meals represent high- and low-fit brand extensions, respectively. While literature on new product development emphasises the influence of consumers’ emotional responses on their decision making, no research on brand extension has investigated the role of emotional responses. It is important to address this gap because, unlike new product development, brand extensions are associated with a specific parent brand. Therefore, the emotional responses are elicited through more complex cognitions that consider the attributes of the product and information associated with the parent brand. Consequently, introducing a brand extension that elicits negative emotional responses in consumers may not only hinder consumers’ adoption but also influence perceptions of the parent brand. Building on the cognitive appraisal theory, the present research aims to understand the cognitive appraisal process experienced by consumers to determine how their appraisal of brand extensions may elicit emotional responses and, consequently, their attitudinal and behavioural responses. The present research indicates that consumers’ emotional responses towards brand extensions are elicited by the appraisal dimensions of goal congruence, goal relevance and certainty. The product category fit of the brand extension can elicit both positive and negative emotional responses through the cognitive appraisal process. Consumers’ high (versus low) emotional attachment to the parent brand and sub-branding (versus family branding) can positively moderate the emotional responses induced by the product category fit of the brand extension. More importantly, emotional responses in the brand extension context can influence consumers’ attitudinal and behavioural responses towards the brand extension and the parent brand. Overall, the findings extend the brand extension literature by offering a new angle for investigating the influence of consumers’ emotional responses in the brand extension context. The findings can also guide marketing managers in managing and monitoring consumers’ emotional responses by helping them to consider the cognitive antecedents of emotional responses in their marketing practices.
Date of Award31 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHongwei He (Supervisor) & Marzena Nieroda-Bartczak (Supervisor)


  • Brand Extension
  • Emotional Responses
  • Cognitive Appraisal Theory

Cite this