Brand extensions via complements or substitutes: The moderating role of manufacturing transferability

Huifang Mao, Babu John Mariadoss, Raj Echambadi, Pavan Rao Chennamaneni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research investigates how consumer evaluations of brand extensions that either complement or substitute the original parent brand vary depending on the level of manufacturing transferability (i. e., the extent to which the parent brand's existing resources and skills can be used to make the extension). We propose that a complement extension is processed by consumers at a higher, more abstract level whereas a substitute extension is processed at a lower, more concrete level. Since manufacturing transferability activates concrete cognitions of the production process, an increase in manufacturing transferability tends to result in more favorable evaluations toward substitute extensions than complement extensions. Empirical tests using a multi-method approach reveal support both for the underlying theoretical mechanism and the proposed hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-292
Number of pages14
JournalMarketing Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Brand extensions
  • Complements
  • Extension evaluations
  • Manufacturing transferability
  • Substitutes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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