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Umbrella branding of private labels

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Private labels command a growing share of food retailers' shelf space. In this dissertation, I explain this phenomenon as resulting from "umbrella branding," or the ability of a single brand to reach across categories. Conceptually, I define umbrella

Private labels command a growing share of food retailers' shelf space. In this dissertation, I explain this phenomenon as resulting from "umbrella branding," or the ability of a single brand to reach across categories. Conceptually, I define umbrella branding as a behavioral attribute that describes a shopper's tendency to ascribe a performance bond to a brand, or to associate certain performance characteristics to a private label brand, across multiple categories. In the second chapter, I describe the performance bond theory in detail, and then test this theory using scanner data in the chapter that follows. Because secondary data has limitations for testing behavioral theories, however, I test the performance bond theory of umbrella branding using a laboratory experiment in the fourth chapter. In this chapter, I find that households tend to transfer their perception of private label performance across categories, or that a manifestation of umbrella branding behavior can indeed explain private labels' success. In the fifth chapter, I extend this theory to compare umbrella branding in international markets, and find that performance transference takes its roots in consumers' cultural backgrounds. Taken together, my results suggest that umbrella branding is an important behavioral mechanism, and one that can be further exploited by retailers across any consumer good category with strong credence attributes.

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Date Created
2014

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Three essays on innovation: optimal licensing strategies, new variety adoption, and consumer preference in a peer network

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It is well understood that innovation drives productivity growth in agriculture. Innovation, however, is a process that involves activities distributed throughout the supply chain. In this dissertation I investigate three topics that are at the core of the distribution

It is well understood that innovation drives productivity growth in agriculture. Innovation, however, is a process that involves activities distributed throughout the supply chain. In this dissertation I investigate three topics that are at the core of the distribution and diffusion of innovation: optimal licensing of university-based inventions, new variety adoption among farmers, and consumers’ choice of new products within a social network environment.

University researchers assume an important role in innovation, particularly as a result of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed universities to license inventions funded by federal research dollars, to private industry. Aligning the incentives to innovate at the university level with the incentives to adopt downstream, I show that non-exclusive licensing is preferred under both fixed fee and royalty licensing. Finding support for non-exclusive licensing is important as it provides evidence that the concept underlying the Bayh-Dole Act has economic merit, namely that the goals of university-based researchers are consistent with those of society, and taxpayers, in general.

After licensing, new products enter the diffusion process. Using a case study of small holders in Mozambique, I observe substantial geographic clustering of new-variety adoption decisions. Controlling for the other potential factors, I find that information diffusion through space is largely responsible for variation in adoption. As predicted by a social learning model, spatial effects are not based on geographic distance, but rather on neighbor-relationships that follow from information exchange. My findings are consistent with others who find information to be the primary barrier to adoption, and means that adoption can be accelerated by improving information exchange among farmers.

Ultimately, innovation is only useful when adopted by end consumers. Consumers’ choices of new products are determined by many factors such as personal preferences, the attributes of the products, and more importantly, peer recommendations. My experimental data shows that peers are indeed important, but “weak ties” or information from friends-of-friends is more important than close friends. Further, others regarded as experts in the subject matter exert the strongest influence on peer choices.

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Date Created
2015

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Global perspective of private labels success: the function of manufacturer power, retailer strategy and consumer conduct

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Private label growth in emerging markets has not kept pace with the growth in private labels elsewhere. For instance, in Europe and North America, private labels now constitute an average of 35% of total retail market share, compared to emerging

Private label growth in emerging markets has not kept pace with the growth in private labels elsewhere. For instance, in Europe and North America, private labels now constitute an average of 35% of total retail market share, compared to emerging markets, where market shares vary between 1% and 8 %. This dissertation examines the possibility that differences in private-label performance between developed and emerging economies is not driven by one mechanism, but arises from a variety of sources, both structural, and behavioral. Specifically, I focus on manufacturers’ market power, retailers’ private label portfolio strategies, and consumers’ perceptions of private labels. In most emerging economies, national brand manufacturers tend to be the sole producers of private labels. As a result, manufacturers have inherent market power and can deter retailers from pursuing aggressive private label strategies, which results in low private label market shares. Moreover, some retailers in emerging economies now carry their private labels as part of a multi-tiered portfolio. However, a small price-gap between the quality tiers results in high intraportfolio competition leading to cannibalization and lower private label market shares. Last, private label market shares in emerging economies may be smaller than in developed economies because low-income households prefer higher priced national brands. This counterintuitive phenomenon is driven by two interrelated factors. First, social influence implies that low-income households are upward-comparing, they contrast themselves with high-income households whom they believe are better-off. Because higher-income households purchase national brands, upward-comparisons lead to a preference for national brands. Second, low income households are unknowledgeable about private label advancements hence they prefer national brands.

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Date Created
2016