Professor Voleti is an Assistant professor with the Marketing Area at the ISB. Previously, he worked in the industry in different capacities as a management consultant and a software analyst. Professor Voleti’s research focuses on combining data with econometric and statistical methods to explain phenomena of marketing interest such as evolution in the equity of brands across time, valuation of brands using secondary sales data, the sales impact of geographic and abstract distances between products and markets and the performance, productivity and benchmarking of salesforce organisations.
The literature suggests that brand equity can be split into two parts - an attribute-based equity and a non-attribute based one that captures consumer preferences beyond the utility offered by individual attributes. In addition to measuring attribute-based equity, firms deploying portfolios of products within complex branding structures often seek to measure the presence, distribution and evolution of these potentially heterogeneous non-attribute based unique branding associations - labelled 'residual equity' – at each distinct layer of a product’s brand hierarchy. The authors develop and operationalize a robust and flexible Bayesian semiparametric model to first separate the attribute-based equity from latent residual equity, to jointly estimate this multi-level residual equity and to allow residual equity to exhibit state-dependence using a random-walk prior.
The model is empirically illustrated on syndicated US national beer sales data. The authors find significant, heterogeneous and temporally stable residual equity presence across the brand hierarchy and highlight some substantive implications arising therein.
Keywords: Dirichlet Process Priors, residual brand equity, brand hierarchy
Product offerings in many grocery product categories in supermarkets display varied branding structures built around a discernable branding hierarchy typically comprising brands, sub-brands and stock-keeping units (or SKUs). Firms often want to know (a) what contribution each layer in the brand hierarchy brings to overall product value, and (b) precisely how much of this contribution comes from unique branding associations (we term this value contribution the ‘residual equity’ of that branding layer). We make the economic argument that in mature product categories, profit maximizing firms would retain the upper levels of the branding structure only if they were value-enhancing. We develop a Semiparametric Bayesian method for a market response model to jointly estimate the residual equity of each layer in the branding structure while accommodating certain a priori restrictions on the equity values, and using only aggregate sales and product data. Our proposed model is simple yet flexible and avoids common drawbacks in extant approaches.
We implement our model on AC Nielsen beer category data from US supermarkets. We find that residual equity exists, is sizeable in magnitude and sales impact, is heterogeneous in occurrence across the branding structure, yields realistic brand valuations and bears managerially relevant insights and implications.
Keywords: Brand Equity, Brand Valuation, Dirichlet process priors, Nonparametric Bayesian Statistics.
The paradigm shift that the Internet has brought about in communication has opened up
a plethora of opportunities for outsourcing business processes (BPO) across continents.
Success lessons in manufacturing sub-contracting are found to be relevant for understanding
the logic of BPO. Outsourcing involves transferring certain value contributing
activities or processes to another firm to save costs and for the principal to focus on its
areas of key competence. The possibilities of disaggregating value elements for the
purpose of creating value in them at the sub-contractors’ premises and final aggregation
and synthesis at the parent organization are determined by the nature of industry,
limitations of coordination and control, product maturity, and level of inter-firm
IT-enabled services (ITES) includes services that can be outsourced using the powers
of IT; the extent to which this is possible depends on the industry, location, time, costs,
and managerial perception of the risks involved. The Internet has facilitated execution of
several activities, previously done within geographical proximity to the firm, from remote
low-labour cost locations, drawing both transaction cost and production cost efficiencies.
Some of the factors that come in the way of parents setting up their own operations
in India and have significant implications for the growth trajectory of Indian BPOs are:
direct cost of operations and scale economies
long-term assessment of India as a low cost centre
cost-benefit assessment of own vs rented
possible loss of control over their transactions and confidentiality and security of the
data if an outsider handles them
brand implications of perceived drop in quality
robustness of existing systems and processes.
Many BPO firms do not seem to realize the possible exit barriers and strategies to
manage exit, if necessary. What happened in the dot com era can very well happen in
the BPO space also unless care is taken to manage this rapid growth while retaining
productivity and quality.
Two key capabilities required for success in ITES space are: capabilities to understand
customer needs in the specific domains and acquiring business (BD capabilities) and
capabilities to execute them efficiently (Ops capabilities). ITES firms are likely to
bifurcate their firm into two parts based on these two critical success factors.
The successful segregation of value elements in a number of processes has enabled
value configuration in as many ways as required by customers, both in the case of
product and service components of customer value. The current trend in outsourcing will
go up when such analysis-synthesis becomes a routine. This will be accelerated also
because the capabilities required to do so depend not only on technical skills and
knowledge in a domain but also strong process capabilities.
The trend of outsourcing is likely to continue to grow in the future despite temporary
political protests because of the robust arguments outsourcing finds for itself in the
economics literature, both in terms of transaction and production cost advantages. Subcontractors
need robust systems and processes along with adequate domain knowledge
and assured physical infrastructure for this to happen.
In any case, the Indian BPO firms have to consistently prove their capabilities to
deliver and create near indispensable situation for the parent to survive without them.
This will not only involve growing technical and domain expertise, but also refinement
in systems and practices, while keeping costs under control. In essence, BPO firms have
to manage their consolidation and growth challenges simultaneously.
Studying whether and how consumers' brand choices and switching behavior are influenced by a permanent reduction in switching costs in an emerging market, (2) Assessing how these dynamics are influenced by cultural aspects and other individual segmentation variables, (3) A data-driven discovery of latent homogenous subpopulations in the data, and (4) Providing recommendations to marketers regarding marketing activities in such a context