Branding Next-Generation Products

38 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2009

See all articles by Marco Bertini

Marco Bertini

ESADE - Ramon Llull University

John T. Gourville

Harvard Business School

Elie Ofek

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Date Written: October 2, 2009


We study the effect of brand name selection on consumer perceptions and adoption of next-generation product innovations. In four experiments, participants evaluated next-generation offerings whose brand names either continued or interrupted the existing naming sequences. The first set of results show that while consumers anticipate enhanced performance on existing product features (i.e., alignable improvements) irrespective of the branding decision, a name change triggers significantly higher expectations of new features (i.e., nonalignable improvements). Next, we examined the implication of this finding for purchase intentions. The added layer of innovation inferred from a brand name change led participants to believe they were exposed to greater risk as well as greater reward. As a result, in the last two experiments we found that situational and dispositional factors influencing the relative salience of these conflicting beliefs ultimately determined whether a particular naming option stimulated or hindered demand.

Keywords: Next-generation product innovation, brand name selection, branding, structural alignment theory, consumer inference

Suggested Citation

Bertini, Marco and Gourville, John T. and Ofek, Elie, Branding Next-Generation Products (October 2, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Marco Bertini (Contact Author)

ESADE - Ramon Llull University ( email )

Avinguda de la Torre Blanca, 59
Sant Cugat del Vallès, 08172

John T. Gourville

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6133 (Phone)
617-496-5637 (Fax)

Elie Ofek

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6301 (Phone)
617-496-5853 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics