College of Business > News & Events > Private Labels Benefit from Social Media Exposure with National Brands, DePaul Researcher Finds

Private Labels Benefit from Social Media Exposure with National Brands, DePaul Researcher Finds

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David Wang's new research focuses on social media's role in shaping consumers’ fashion choices and how it affects consumer perceptions of store and national brands.

Fashion marketing is at its height this time of year as retailers eagerly prepare for Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Social media plays a big role in shaping consumers’ fashion choices, and how it affects consumer perceptions of store-exclusive and national brands is the subject of a study co-authored by David Wang, Driehaus Fellow and associate professor of accountancy at DePaul University.

How Social Media Shapes the Fashion Industry: The Spillover Effects Between Private Labels and National Brands,” published in the journal Industrial Market Management, looks at the social media marketing relationship between national fashion brands, those prominent brands sold by multiple retailers, and private label or store brands, which are exclusively sold by a particular retailer. 

The use of social media provides more opportunities for private labels to reach their potential customers, Wang says, but due to the amount of user-generated posts on social media, it becomes more challenging for private brands to be seen.

Associate Professor and Driehaus Fellow David Wang
Associate Professor of Accountancy and Driehaus Fellow David Wang. | Photo by Kathy Hillegonds

“The study examines the following questions,” Wang explains. “First, in fashion social media, how do private label owners utilize popular content creators (e.g., social influencers), who post images, blogs, hashtags, video, etc., to promote their brands? Second, how does the presence of national brands in fashion social media affect the marketing strategies and subsequent firm performance of private labels?

“Specifically,” he continues, “we are interested in whether a social media post that involves both private labels and national brands would positively affect stakeholders’ product impressions of private labels and if so, influence stakeholders’ buying practices.”

Three takeaways from the study’s findings include:

  • By presenting both private labels and national brands, the posts on social media increase private labels’ popularity.
  • Private label owners can leverage national brands’ popularity on social media to increase performance.
  • Private label owners can partner with social media influencers to increase brand awareness.

“Our main findings suggest the presence of large national brands has a positive spillover effect on the popularity of private labels in fashion social media,” Wang says, “and ultimately influences sales of private label products.”

Wang co-authored the study with assistant business professors Shih-Hui Hsiao of Rowan University; Yen-Yao Wang of Auburn University; and Ta-Wei (Danial) Kao of University of Michigan-Dearborn.

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