Date of Award

12-15-2014

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Alokparna (Sonia) Monga

Abstract

Political ideologies are becoming an important focus of attention in the marketing literature. This research examines the impact of political ideologies on consumers’ evaluation of brand extensions. In a series of six studies, this work shows how, and under what conditions, liberals evaluate brand extensions differently than conservatives. Because liberals are more open to new experiences, and tend to seek novelty, while conservatives show stronger preferences for order, structure, and conventional things, liberals are expected to react more favorably to new stimuli, as in the case of dissimilar brand extensions. However, the effects of political ideologies are dependent on some degree of activation, and it is expected, that broader styles of thinking facilitate the expression of ideologies. In particular, this research shows that liberals evaluate dissimilar brand extensions in a more favorable way (compared to conservatives) when consumers are in a holistic mindset, but not in an analytic mindset. Moreover, this research shows that these effects are bounded by political ideology centrality such that the effects emerge only when ideologies are central to the self-concept. Finally, the findings also show that the proposed effects are driven by liberals’ need to seek novelty. When liberal consumers in a holistic mindset are provided with an opportunity to satiate their novelty-seeking goals prior to exposure to the brand extension, the effects dissipate and liberals respond similar to conservative consumers. Conversely, when there is no opportunity to satiate novelty-seeking goals, findings of previous studies are replicated, and liberal consumers in a holistic mindset evaluate dissimilar brand extensions in a more favorable way compared with conservative consumers. These findings have important implications for the branding literature and for marketers.

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