بخشی از مقاله (انگلیسی)
A brand alliance puts the focal brand at risk of being penalized for a crisis occurring at the partner brand. Such a crisis may weaken the focal brand’s equity unless it responds effectively. However, there is no consensus on the effectiveness of the response strategies at mitigating damage to brand equity. Building on attribution theory, this paper examines the effectiveness of the focal brand’s response strategy as a function of perceived brand integration between the brands in an alliance. The experiments, operationalized as (1) self-reported answers to intention measuring scales and (2) behavioral response in the form of written product reviews, reveal that the perceived integration is a significant moderator, determining the effectiveness of response strategies (deal vs. deny) on brand equity. Consequently, this paper has both theoretical and managerial implications for how to effectively respond to a crisis, while proposing an agenda for future research.
Brand alliance, also called co-branding, is a brand management strategy whereby two or more brands are intentionally brought together and presented to consumers to leverage the brands through the transfer of positive associations from one brand to another (Newmeyer et al., 2018). The number of brands that have collaborated to form an alliance has rapidly increased over the last twenty years (Besharat and Langan, 2014, Singh et al., 2016). Brands often join hands with other brands to enhance their brand equities (Kalafatis et al., 2012, Washburn et al., 2004), differentiate their brands in competitive environments (Helmig et al., 2008), and access new markets (Dahlstrom and Nygaard, 2016, Leuthesser et al., 2003). The executive chairman of Nike, Mark Parker, emphasizes the growing importance of the alliance strategy as follows: ‘our future potential will be based in large part on our ability to collaborate with the right partners’ (Kan, 2015). Notable marketplace examples of this strategy include Apple Watches with Hermès leather straps, Subway stores located in Wal-Marts, and Oreo McFlurry.
Discussion and conclusion
This research has both theoretical and managerial implications for the effectiveness of the response strategies of a focal brand that is affected by a negative event suffered by its partner brand. The findings also indicate an agenda for future research.
5.1. Theoretical contribution
This paper contributes to the existing literature in several ways. The first contribution addresses the negative spillover effects on the brand equity of the focal brand, highlighting the importance of the perceived integration between the brands. A key finding is that higher perceived integration with a partner brand in crisis leads to lower perceived brand equity of the focal brand, despite the crisis having been caused by the partner brand. This paper extends previous crisis response research by analyzing the effect of a crisis in a brand alliance context and demonstrating the role that the level of perceived integration between brands exerts on consumers’ causal inferences, such that high perceived integration will exacerbate the transfer of associations between brands in an alliance. This insight can explain the literature’s inconsistent findings (i.e., Radighieri et al., 2014, Koschate-Fischer et al., 2019) on the spillover effects of brand crisis.