How Life-Role Transitions Shape Consumer Responses to Brand Extensions

Lei Su*, Alokparna (Sonia) Basu Monga, Yuwei Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Life-role transition is a state wherein people pass through different life stages, involving changes in identities, roles, and responsibilities. Across six studies, the current research shows that consumers under life-role transition have more favorable attitudes toward distant (i.e., low- or moderate-fit) brand extensions than consumers who are not under life-role transition. The effect is driven by a sense of self-concept ambiguity associated with life-role transition, which subsequently prompts dialectical thinking that helps improve perceived fit between a parent brand and its extension, finally resulting in more favorable brand extension evaluation. This effect diminishes for (1) near (i.e., high-fit) brand extensions that do not require dialectical thinking for perceiving fit; (2) for sub-brand (vs. direct brand) architecture, for which there is less of a need to use dialectical thinking to reconcile the inconsistencies between a parent brand and its extension; and (3) when consumers perceive they have resources to cope with the life-role transition, which attenuates self-concept ambiguity. This research offers important theoretical and managerial insights by focusing on life-role transition—an important aspect of consumers’ lives that has been largely underresearched—and by demonstrating how and why it elicits more favorable attitudes toward brand extensions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)579-594
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Marketing Research
    Issue number3
    Early online date17 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Marketing

    User-Defined Keywords

    • brand extensions
    • dialectical thinking
    • life-role transition
    • self-concept ambiguity


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