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Brand popularity, endogenous leadership, and product introduction in industries with word of mouth communication

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  • Christian Dahl Winther

    () (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)

Abstract

This paper considers the impact of popularity on duopolists’ entry strategies into an emerging industry, where each consumer holds a preference for one of two competing brands. Brand popularity is influenced by word of mouth communication, as early adopters recommend the brand they have bought to later buyers. Early introduction is, however, a costly strategy. The timing of product introduction is therefore of strategic importance to firms. I investigate the equilibria of the game when firms choose their time to market strategies sequentially, and observe how they relate to the popularity of the Stackelberg leader’s brand. This analysis reveals firms’ individual incentives for leader and follower roles, and the market structure that would result in this noncooperative game. As von Stackelberg showed a leader’s commitment to a strategy can preempt the follower. The present model shows that this situation, where both firms prefer the leader role, most likely occurs when brands hold equal levels of popularity. On the other hand it is interesting to observe that in certain markets, in particular where popularity is highly asymmetric, it is optimal for the dominant firm to become follower, and for the inferior firm to lead, because this facilitates soft competition. Still, the market structure may be insensitive to the order of moves. This warrants investigation of the connection between leadership and brand popularity, and the effect on market structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dahl Winther, 2008. "Brand popularity, endogenous leadership, and product introduction in industries with word of mouth communication," Economics Working Papers 2008-11, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2008-11
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.au.dk/afn/wp/08/wp08_11.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Damme, Eric & Hurkens, Sjaak, 2004. "Endogenous price leadership," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 404-420, May.
    2. van Damme, Eric & Hurkens, Sjaak, 1999. "Endogenous Stackelberg Leadership," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 105-129, July.
    3. Amir, Rabah & Stepanova, Anna, 2006. "Second-mover advantage and price leadership in Bertrand duopoly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-20, April.
    4. van Damme, Eric & Hurkens, Sjaak, 1999. "Endogenous Stackelberg Leadership," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 105-129, July.
    5. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2002. "To Commit or Not to Commit: Endogenous Timing in Experimental Duopoly Markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 240-264, February.
    6. Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M., 1990. "Endogenous timing in duopoly games: Stackelberg or cournot equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 29-46, March.
    7. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    8. Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125.
    9. Cabral, Luis M. B., 2002. "Increasing Dominance with No Efficiency Effect," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 471-479, February.
    10. Hamilton, J.H. & Slutsky, S.M., 1988. "Endogenizing The Order Of Moves An Matrix Game," Papers 88-3, Florida - College of Business Administration.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogenous leadership; product differentiation; product introduction; technological change; word of mouth communication;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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