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- Creators: Richards, Timothy J.
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.