I think people in here should keep in mind that neither Behr nor Benjamin Moore nor Sherwin Williams nor Pratt & Lambert make any of the things they use to make their paints with. None of them make their own resins; they all buy them from companies that make plastics. None of them make their own pigments; they all buy them from chemical companies that specialize in different kinds of pigments. Similarily, none of them make any of their own additives.
So far as I know, the only company that makes it's own binder resins is ICI of Britain, which sells it's paints under the tradenames "CIL Dulux" in Canada and "Glidden" in both Canada and the US.
So, Behr could start making better paint simply by buying the same resins, pigments and additives from the same chemical companies that SW, BM and P&L do. The reason why they don't is a decision of Behr management. Behr knows their customers are primarily DIY'ers that only paint once every 15 years and will get their advice from Consumer Reports. If Behr's paints are of lesser quality, they will shine in the pages of Consumer Reports as long as the difference in price is commensurate. So, instead of striving to make the best paint, Behr management is striving to make the best value paint.
Chemical companies will always be pushing the paint companies to buy their latest and greatest resin, or pigment or mildewcide or rheology modifier or whatever. Of course the paint companies won't buy it unless they feel the increase in cost is justified by the increase in performance.
On company that bucked the trend was C2 Paints.
C2 would buy these latest products from the chemical companies to use in their paints, and would then concentrate their advertising budget on comparing their paints to the best from SW, BM and P&L. Of course, their "independant lab tests" would confirmed that the C2 paints were higher hiding, more colourfast, self leveled better, dried harder, etc. etc. etc. than the SW, BM or P&L top line paint.
That's how C2 marketed their paints; as being better than the best SW, BM or P&L could offer. Their advertising concentrated on independant lab tests that compared C2 paints with the biggest names in the business. Obviously C2 didn't have any technical expertise to speak of, they simply relied on the technical expertise of the chemical companies to make better products.
I've noticed that they've stopped doing that. Their current advertising only says that they have 16 different colourants in their tint machines rather than the 12 that is standard in North America. And, their colour swatches are a whopping 12 inches by 16 inches in size, rather than 2 square inches or less you get with everyone else.
I only wanted to mention this so that people wouldn't get the idea that "Sherwin Williams" or "Benjamin Moore" or "Pratt & Lambert" make their own great paints. The truth is that these paint companies buy everything they put in their peints from chemical companies (except perhaps for the water and mineral spirits). It's those chemical companies that deserve the accolades for making the great binders, pigments and additives, not the paint companies for mixing and diluting as per instructions.
C2 paints is proof than ANY paint company, even Behr, can make a better paint than SW, BM or P&L; you just have to buy the latest and greatest products on offer from those chemical companies, despite the fact that the increase in bang won't justify the increase in bucks. You simply pay an independant lab to compare your paint with those on offer from BM, SW and P&L and you advertise those results. It makes you look like you have the best technical expertise.
C2 used to sell their paint out of about a half dozen locations in the USA. Now, they've enlisted a lot of independant paint retailers across North America to add C2 Paints to their product line, thereby increasing C2's market exposure significantly.
So, it's not the name on the can that makes the difference, it's the management that does. It's a management decision on what level of quality paint to make, not a limitation of each company's technical abilities. Any company wanting to make better paint simply has to buy better ingredients from their suppliers. Behr makes mediocre paints because they know their customers are DIY'ers that are much easier to please than professional painters.