Good Guys Can Finish First: How Brand Reputation Affects Extension Evaluations

Zachary S. Johnson, Huifang Mao, Sarah Lefebvre, Jaishankar Ganesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This research investigates how consumer evaluations of brand extensions are affected by two distinct types of brand reputation: a reputation for social responsibility built through commitments to societal obligations, versus a reputation for ability developed by delivering quality offerings. Through six studies, we establish that while the two reputation types equivalently influence high fit brand extensions, a reputation for social responsibility (vs. ability) leads to more favorable responses toward low fit brand extensions by inducing a desire to support and help the company that has acted to benefit consumers. Furthermore, the facilitative effect of social responsibility on low fit brand extension evaluations is more prominent among consumers who value close relationships and caring for one another's well-being (i.e., those with high communal orientation), and tends to dissipate when social responsibility initiatives are tainted with self-serving motives (i.e., when these initiatives are aligned with the brand's core offering).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-583
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


  • Ability
  • Altruism
  • Brand Extensions
  • Reputation
  • Social Responsibility
  • Warmth


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