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Innovation Imprinting: Why Some Firms Beat the Post-IPO Innovation Slump

Innovation Imprinting: Why Some Firms Beat the Post-IPO Innovation Slump

Simone Wies, Christine Moorman and Rajesh K. Chandy

JM Insights in the Classroom

Teaching Insight:

Stock market pressures are known to reduce manager incentives to invest in breakthrough innovations. Innovation imprinting, which captures establishing product priorities and building market capabilities before the firm goes public, helps companies remain innovative after the IPO. This works because innovation imprinting attracts a segment of concordant investors whose risk preferences are more supportive of innovation.

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Related Marketing Courses:
Innovation/New Product Development; Marketing Strategy; Principles of Marketing; Core Marketing; Intro to Marketing Management

Full Citation:
Wies Simone, Christine Moorman, and Rajesh K. Chandy (2022). “Innovation Imprinting: Why Some Firms Beat the Post-IPO Innovation Slump,” Journal of Marketing,

Growth and innovation are primary arguments for firms seeking to go public and access resources from the stock market. So it is poignant that going public is, for a majority of firms, associated with a pronounced slump in breakthrough innovation. This paper proposes an actionable, marketing-related explanation for why some firms that go public manage to beat the post-IPO innovation slump: innovation imprinting. The paper argues and demonstrates that those firms that engage in innovation imprinting before they go public attract a segment of concordant investors whose risk preferences are more supportive of breakthrough innovation than investors at large. These investors, in turn, reward the firms’ continued introduction of breakthrough innovations after they have gone public. By analyzing the innovation patterns of 207 firms in the consumer-packaged goods sector before and after an IPO, we observe that one-third of firms are able to maintain or beat their pre-IPO levels of breakthrough innovations after going public. By studying their actions, the investors they attract, and their financial performance and survival rates, we provide empirical evidence for the importance of innovation imprinting and concordant investors in helping firms beat the post-IPO innovation slump.


Special thanks to Demi Oba, Ph.D. candidate at Duke University, for support in working with authors on submissions to this program.

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Simone Wies is Professor of Marketing, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.

Christine Moorman is T. Austin Finch Sr. Professor of Business Administration, Duke University, USA, AMA Irwin/McGraw-Hill Award recipient and AMA Fellow, founder and director of The CMO Survey, and former Journal of Marketing editor-in-chief.

Rajesh K. Chandy is Professor of Marketing and Tony and Maureen Wheeler Chair in Entrepreneurship, London Business School, and Academic Director, Wheeler Institute for Business and Development, UK.