The Influence of Brand Equity and Brand Identity on Brand Extension Strategies
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The times of following a ‘one brand – one product’ strategy have long past. Nowadays, firms are increasingly recognizing the true value of their brands and are starting to use these as a source of competitive advantage. By introducing new products under an existing brand name, firms leverage the power of their brands and thus, aim at benefiting from the success of the parent brand. Brands are amongst the most valuable assets owned by a company, which encourages them to engage in brand extensions. The authors mainly distinguish between three brand extension strategy types: line extension, vertical line extension and category extension.
Previous quantitative studies have identified that particularly brand equity and brand identity stand out as significantly influencing brand extension strategies. Therefore, this qualitative case study further explores how these two branding constructs affect firms’ brand extension decisions. While most past studies investigated the potential success of fictitious brands, this study performs qualitative interviews with brand and product managers of eight real case firms operating in the FMCG industry in Germany.
The empirical data indicates that the pressure to innovate rises, as more and more new extension products are being introduced to the market in recent years. Nevertheless, the majority of firms opt for line extension strategies, while only few dare to enter a further distanced market segment. Hence, the condition of a “fit” between the parent brand and extension product is mostly accounted for. The study further suggests that a brand without strong brand equity will not be able to perform brand extensions at any level. However, even if brands do benefit from strong brand equity, firms may adopt divergent strategies, which is mainly dependent on the brand’s identity. The research results show that narrowly defined brands, predominantly distinguishable by concrete product features and physical facets, restrict the firms’ capability to extend a brand beyond its original product line. Contrarily, brands with a more abstract or value based identity provide more opportunities to stretch further from the parent brand. An emotional brand that succeeds in building a relationship to the customer, in representing a distinct personality or telling a story, is able to extend to a new product category. The study concludes that certain brands may be under-exploited, as they do not leverage their high equity and identity capabilities in terms of extending the brand to a further distanced market segment.
As a result of the findings, two Brand Extension Strategy Matrices are constructed, setting the brand identity abstraction level (product or value based identity) into relation to (1) brand equity and (2) the identity “fit” of an extension product and the parent brand. Each of these two matrices explains the strategic consequences of a given set of brand equity and brand identity.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 114 p.
brand extension, brand extension strategies, parent brand, brand management, brand equity, brand identity, brand concepts, FMCG, line extension, vertical line extension, category extension
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-29048OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-29048DiVA: diva2:842649
Subject / course