Consumers' Evaluation of Co-Brand Extensions: The Effects of Concept Congruity on the Evaluation of Co-Branded Products, Analyzing the Moderating Role of Task Involvement

Article excerpt

[Abstract]

This study extends the branding research, especially brand extension evaluation, and centers on a relatively new, but pervasive, phenomenon of co-branding. The term co-branding implies the use of two or more established brands to name a new product. Previously observed findings in brand extension literature show that a moderately incongruent extension evaluation will be more favorable than it is congruent or extremely incongruent when involvement is high. In this context, the present study examines two issues: (a) to analyze the effects of concept congruity on the evaluation of co-brand extensions (b) and to understand the moderating role of task involvement in evaluation of co-brand extensions. Integrating the knowledge of brand extension evaluation and congruity theory, the study tries to develop a model for evaluating co-brand extension is proposed. This study examines whether or not these findings can be extended to co-branding. So, this study proposes experimental factorial design (2X3) to understand the moderating role of task involvement in three different congruity conditions for co-brand extension evaluation. From the analysis, it found that the results are consistent with the predictions of Mandler's (1982) theory: high evaluation in moderate incongruity than either in high congruity or extreme incongruity.

[Keywords] co-brand extension evaluation; concept congruity; task involvement; MANOVA

Introduction

In recent years, marketing practitioners and academicians concentrated on the study of branding strategies. Consumer product manufacturers are very much interested in co-branding as a means to gain more marketplace exposure, fend off the threat of private label brands, and share expensive promotional costs with a partner (Washburn et al., 2000). The fierce competition among manufacturers and retailers in saturated markets, particularly in consumer durables, led them to adopt co-branding strategy. Co-branding is defined as a branding strategy which is popular in consumer products that pairs two or more branded products (constituent brands) to form a separate and unique product (composite brand) (Park et al., 1996). Broadly defined, co-branding occurs when there is a pairing of at least two partner brands that cooperate in a marketing context, such as advertising, product development, product placement, or distribution (Grossman & Priluck, 1997; Leuthesser, Kohli & Suri, 2003; Kumar, 2005).

Co-branding is an increasingly popular technique marketers use in attempting to transfer the positive associations of the partner (constituent) brands to a newly formed co-brand (composite brand) (Washburn et al., 2000). Co-branded products mainly appear among consumer goods; they are also relevant for durables and services (Helmig et al., 2008). In durables, Compaq® and Mattel® introduced high-tech interactive toys. In non-durables, DANONE® and Motta® introduced "Yolka" ice cream; M&Ms® and Pilsbury® invented a new cookie concept. In services, the HDFC Bank® in India has joined hands with the National Insurance Company (NIC) ® and MasterCard International® to launch a successful Credit / Health Card.

Nowadays, companies are using different variations of co-branding: vertical co-branding, often defined as ingredient branding (Desai & Keller, 2002), in which integrating within one product by producers of different value chain steps (e.g. IBM® & Intel®). Another variation is the composite co-branding refers to use of two renowned brand names joined together in a way that they can collectively offer a distinct product or service that could not be possible individually, usually referred to as co-branding. Four sub- divisions of co branding forms are (a) co branding aimed to develop a separate and unique product or brand, (b) co-branding formed using distinct brands that have complementary use, (c) co-branding aimed for physical product integration, or (d) co-branding that using different brands in combination with market-related products for complementary use or even physical product integration (Washburn et al. …