How Life-Role Transitions Shape Consumer Responses to Brand Extensions

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-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
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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