Exploring Product Fit And Brand Fit In Brand Alliances: Establishing The Role Of Categorization Processes

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Andrew T. Norman


Brand Alliances, Co-Branding, Brand Management, Categorization


The marketing strategy of brand alliance has received considerable attention in marketing literature. A significant factor in the study of how consumers process brand alliances is the concept of “fit”.  Specifically, it has been shown that consumers evaluate the extent to which the brands and products in a brand alliance are congruent. 

While the concept of fit has been addressed in brand alliance research, little is known about what fit really is.  This paper seeks to establish the processes by which consumers make evaluations of both product and brand fit.  Based on a review of the relevant literature, it is proposed that consumers use higher-order categorization processes in evaluating brand alliances. 

A 2 x 2 experiment was conducted to test multiple hypotheses. Results confirm these hypotheses and confirm that consumers do indeed conduct a higher-order category search as they evaluate brand alliances. Based on this work, an entire field of research can now be applied to the study of this promotional strategy.  While various studies in the recent past have examined factors affecting the processing of brand alliances, there remains a great deal to be learned about how brand alliance information is processed and what factors affect both cognitive and evaluative outcomes.  Applications of categorization theories open new avenues in the study of this area of consumer research.


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