Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration



First Advisor

Hugh J. Sloan

Second Advisor

David J. McCaffrey

Third Advisor

Nitika Garg

Relational Format



An analysis of the retail market environment reveals two striking trends - remarkable growth of private brands, exerting increased pressure on national brands, and the increased market share of discounters and mass merchandisers stirring market competition with other retail types. These trends press the question - how do different product brand images interact with the variant images of different retailers? In order to thoroughly address, a comprehensive multiple mediator model was devised and empirically tested, tapping into three literature streams: the psychological, sociological and business literature on incongruity; studies on Consumer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE; Keller 1993); and works on Retailer Brand Equity (RBE: Ailawadi and Keller 2004). In addition, various approaches discussing the quality concept in marketing were employed. Lastly, this research credited the emerging relevance of the "retailer as brand" concept (Burt and Sparks 2002). In order to account for the impact of private versus national brand, the combined effect of store image and brand cues on perceptions of quality and behavioral intentions, an incongruity construct was incorporated into the model. The components of the empirical model were Retailer Brand Image (RBI), Product Brand Image (PBI), (in)congruity, perceived value (PV), CBBE (Overall Brand Equity; OBE) and purchase intent (PI). Overall, the study was able to validate the proposed model, particularly in its focal incongruity condition (national brand - low image retailer). The findings across all conditions suggest that (in)congruity perceptions exert a decisive effect upon CBBE (OBE), mediated by PV. In addition, it could be shown that CBBE (OBE) has a strong impact on purchase intent independent from the product brand / retailer brand constellation. RBI shoa strong effect upon incongruity in the key incongruity condition, whereas in other situations the effect was not as strong. In summary, while private brands are well-received in both high and low image retailer settings, there is a definite perceived disconnect in consumer's perception of national brands offered at lower image retailers. It is a reoccurring phenomenon that lower image retailers seek to include high image national brands in their assortment, but this may be a risky endeavor for the national brand.

Included in

Marketing Commons



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