Other Unpublished Work | 2010

Saving Face by Making Meaning: The Negative Effects of Brand Communities' Self-serving Response to Brand Extensions

by Jill Avery

Abstract

An ethnographic study of a brand community following the launch of the Porsche Cayenne SUV finds that brand extensions can negatively affect the value of their parent brands. By studying the collective response to brand extensions of existing consumers and by substituting a culturally situated and socialized view of consumers, I expose negative feedback effects which have been previously undervalued in existing branding theories. By tracing the processes by which brand extensions are dialectically negotiated in a brand community, I show that negative brand effects stem from consumers' self-serving meaning-making activities. The research highlights three discourses in which consumers debate the legitimacy of users of the brand extension, the brand extension itself, and the post-extension parent brand. These discourses shift the locus of the brand's identity meanings within the brand hierarchy rendering the brand extension and the parent brand less attractive as identity markers and reducing brand equity.

Keywords: marketing; Brands; brands and branding; brand management; brand positioning; Brand equity; internet; social media; Customers; Customer Focus and Relationships; Customer Satisfaction; Marketing; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Auto Industry;

Citation:

Avery, Jill. "Saving Face by Making Meaning: The Negative Effects of Brand Communities' Self-serving Response to Brand Extensions." (Invited for resubmission at the Journal of Consumer Research.)