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Choice of an appropriate branding strategy is a critical determinant of new product success. Prior work on fastmoving-consumer-goods (FMCG) prescribes that new products carry new (vs. existing) brand names to appeal to earlier adopters - a critical target for new products. However, such a prescription may not be prudent for hightechnology (HT) products, as they often involve considerably more consumer perceived risk than FMCG. By drawing on Dowling and Staelin's (1994) framework of perceived-risk handling, we propose that both earlier and later adopters will favor existing brands to cope with the elevated risk associated with an innovative HT product. Two studies - one conducted in an experimental setting and the other in a field setting - support the proposition that both earlier and later adopters respond more favorably to existing (vs. new) brands on innovative HT products.
4.1. Managerial implications Selecting an appropriate brand name is a critical factor to new product success. To date, scant research explains whether the new product should carry a new brand name or take an existing one from another product (or set of products). Klink and Athaide (2010) find that consumer response to the alternate branding strategies depends on the individual's level of consumer innovativeness. Specifically, unlike later adopters, earlier adopters favor new brand names on new FMCG products. However, these findings may not generalize to HT products. Indeed, a widely held belief is that marketing HT products is substantially different than marketing products in other categories (e.g., Moriarty & Kosnik, 1989). One of the hallmark characteristics that differentiate products in HT categories from other categories, including FMCG, is uncertainty. This greater level of uncertainty leads both earlier and later adopters to favor established brand names on more innovative HT products. Study 1, an experimental setting, finds that, contrary to Klink and Athaide's (2010) study, the effect of consumer innovativeness on new product evaluation is not greater for new than existing brand names on more innovative HT products. Furthermore, highly innovative consumers evaluated more innovative HT products more favorably when such products carried an existing than a new brand name. Study 2, a field setting, used netnography to corroborate these findings. Specifically, highly innovative individuals evaluated an incremental HT innovation more favorably with a new than an established brand, while they evaluated more radical HT innovations more favorably with an established than a new brand name.