Leading up to the 2011 Private Brand Movement event, we're getting in touch with some of our most exciting speakers as part of our Private Brand Pulse series.

Today, we have an interview with Kelly Kraus, Director of Sales & Marketing at REI. Kelly will be presenting "Making it Matter: Creating the Business Case for a Brand Launch"

In this session we’ll discuss the path to gaining organizational alignment, from senior leadership to merchants, to develop and support a private brand expansion strategy. We’ll review the REI private brand architecture and how to create and communicate a business case to launch a new brand.

PBM: How do you differentiate yourself from other stores?

Kelly: We are an outdoor specialty retailer that focuses only on a core group of human-powered outdoor activities including camping, backpacking, hiking, paddling, skiing, cycling and fitness. And we are the largest consumer co-op in the nation, so everything we do is to serve our members for the long term to enhance their active outdoor lifestyles.

PBM: What’s the role of your store brands and has that strategy paid off?

Kelly: We want to offer our customers a great mix of brands and the best assortment we can provide in our activity categories and we see private brands as an integral part of our assortment that offers the best performance to price ratio and value to our customers. Our current private brand strategy is very successful in driving both top line sales and bottom line profitability, and our private brand business has been growing as we continue to enhance the quality and performance of our products, and our customers are responding favorably to the value that they offer.


PBM: How important is innovation to the success of your program?


Kelly: Innovation is very important and we have been driving more innovation and technology in our product lines in recent years. We primarily see ourselves as fast followers and believe that we make innovation more accessible to our customers by providing the right product features and benefits at the right price.

PBM: Where do you start when it comes to product innovation?

Kelly: Materials and materials technology is very important to us in order to make products that are lightweight, durable, waterproof and breathable to help our customers have great experiences in the outdoors.

PBM: Give us a sneak preview to your session at The Private Brand Movement next month, give us one thing you learned as you made your business case for a brand launch.

Kelly: The importance of gaining visibility, alignment and support from the top down was huge. And a really good financial business case was critical to make that happen.

For more on the changing Private Label world, join us this September in Chicago for The Private Brand Movement. The event is coming up soon and space is limited. Register today here.

Follow us on twitter for event updates @Private_brand

Take a short journey with me on a thought exercise.

Would Apple Computers be any less successful if they took on the naming philosophy of International Business Machines?

Think about it.

Descriptive: International Business Machines (IBM).
Suggestive: Apple Computers
Alt. Name for Apple: Technology for Teachers (TFT).

If you're wondering why descriptive is bad, as any Trademark Attorney. If you still wonder why, ask any serial entrepreneur if a business change in the first five years. Describe your business when you start and watch it change (Kentucky Fried Chicken and International Business Machines provide us with great examples). If you're still wondering, consider this, "if something is described is it any more memorable than if it leaves you with some curiosity?"

Hence, "descriptive" is a swear word in professional naming circles. Yet, if you look around at the typical naming and branding firms you'll find many use descriptive names (Using Brand or Name in their name). Which makes me wonder what type of advice are they giving clients?

We know three firms who get it and many more who don't.

1. Igor (a firm pushing this exact subject), 2. Catchword 3. 100 Monkeys

It's no wonder why we are seeing way too many descriptive names attempted and too many less than interesting names launched.

Capsule's naming philosophy is embodied in the Setu chair by Herman Miller.





















Now, with successful companies (IBM, 3M, KFC, etc) and brands having descriptive names, it may bring the question, "does a great name really matter?" Would Apple be any less a dominant player if it was named Technology for Teachers (TFT). Following the same naming philosophy of the competitive set at the time (ADC, CDC, IBM, etc).

We will make a case for why your answer should be "yes," in our next blog post.

Managing Principal
akeller@capsule.us



Reposted from MyPrivateBrand.

This post features a closer look at Alina Wheeler and her new book The Brand Atlas, Alina will present a keynote address on Wednesday morning at the rapidly approaching Private Brand Movement conference, September 19 – 21 in Chicago, Illinois.

Her address “Branding The Future One Touch Point At A Time” will focus on: Brands are the global currency of success. To be successful, brand builders need to stick to the basics, stay calm on the rollercoaster of relentless change and fierce competition, and seize every opportunity to be irreplaceable and be the brand of choice. Each touch point, whether it’s an in store experience, an app, a Groupon offer, a package, a tag or a tweet, has the potential to attract new customers, connect to the heart and mind, and build life long customer relationships.

Inspiration: What’s happening around the world? A speed of light tour of global touch points

Contemplation: Who are you? Who needs to know? Why should they care? How will they find out? A reminder of the basics

Celebration: How do you achieve radical differentiation? Demonstrate rather than declare

Wheeler believes that a company’s brand is its most valuable asset. She takes the most seminal tools used by a wide variety of thought leaders and practitioners and makes the information understandable, visible, relevant, exportable and applicable. With her best-selling debut book, Designing Brand Identity, now in its third edition, Alina Wheeler reinvented the marketing textbook using a straightforward style to help demystify the branding process. This book from Wheeler, Brand Atlas, builds on this user-friendly approach to aggregate and simplify the science behind branding with a unique visual teaching method suited for time-crunched professionals.

Brand Atlas follows the recent YouTube-iPhone-Pecha Kucha era trend toward fast-paced visual instruction by neglecting needless jargon and combining vivid, full-color images and easy-to-follow diagrams to break down branding principles into basic step-by-step concepts that can be immediately applied. This handy reference:

  • Speaks to a broad range of stakeholders in the branding process—from CEOs to designers to brand managers
  • Provides tools to integrate brand throughout the entire customer experience, build relationships based on brand, measure a brand’s value, and define a brand strategy
  • Contains essential information illustrated through the use of diagrams

With diagrams designed by Joel Katz, an internationally known information designer and a global authority on the visualization of complex information, Brand Atlas is a compact, no-nonsense guide that shows how tactical innovation in the design process is crucial to building brand assets.

Ten Imperatives for Branding Success from Brand Atlas
Branding is big business. For most businesses, brands represent their most valuable asset, influencing customers, prospects, investors, and employees. Companies often go through a complex internal process to identify the best branding firms to partner with -choosing from an array of global brand consultancies, design offices, or specialists in areas such as packaging, user experience, and social media.

1. Why do some brand initiatives just fizzle after an initial investment of capital and resources? Whether you are a consumer brand, a nonprofit, or a mid-size service business, the following imperatives ensure positive outcomes for your brand.
Ensure that the leadership team endorses the brand initiative and understands the process. There must be a strong mandate from the top. If the commitment to revitalize the brand is tepid, the initiative will expire, and the investment will have no return.

2. Establish clear goals and an endpoint. Why are we doing this? What are the deliverables? How will things be different at the end of the process? For example: we will have new branding guidelines to make it easier to communicate clearly and consistently about our brand to our customers and to our employees.

3. Establish clear responsibilities. Acknowledge that your investment will require company time, not just writing checks to the consultants. It’s a collaborative process, and will require leadership’s focus. Identify an internal person whose job it is to be the direct contact for the branding firm. They have to be a “make it happen” person with superior organizational skills, and access to the key decision makers.

4. Use a disciplined process with clear decision points and benchmarks. Agree on what the brand stands for before any creative work is done. Use a tool like the brand brief to ensure that key decision makers agree on your brand’s essence, its competitive advantage, your target market, and your value proposition.

5. Stay customer centric. The best brand decisions can only be made with the customer’s needs and experiences in mind. See the world through the eyes of your customers.

6. Commit to a small decision group that has the power to make the pivotal decisions that impact the brand. Do not bring in new decision-makers in the middle of the process. All decision makers must be involved and be present at all key decision points.

7. Determine if your company is truly ready to make a commitment to revitalizing your brand and implementing new brand standards. Is your company ready to invest the time, the capital and brainpower to revitalize your brand?

8. Determine how you will measure the success of this initiative. Consider benefits like employee engagement and a more effective and efficient marketing toolbox. Communicate that the brand is the most valuable resource and it’s everyone’s job to protect and grow that asset.

9. Use the process to build brand champions throughout your company. Launch internally first, then externally to customers. Make sure that all of your vendors have access to the new standards. Be diligent about communicating why you made these changes and what they mean. Smart organizations use the branding process to refocus stakeholders on their vision, values and mission.

10. Demonstrate—don’t declare—why customers should choose you over others. Seize every opportunity to communicate your value and to differentiate your brand from others. Use the process to identify the places where your can build trust, attract new customers, and inspire customer loyalty.

The process demands a combination of investigation, strategic thinking, creativity, design excellence, and project management skills. When done right, the process can achieve remarkable results for your brand.
While the Private Brand Movement Conference is one month away, the producers of the event remain hard at work, adding new speakers and sessions to an already impressive agenda.

We're pleased to announce these NEW SPEAKERS and NEW SESSIONS to the agenda:

Joining the keynote roster is Rick Rommel, SVP Exclusive Brands and Global Sourcing, BEST BUY. Rick will share a unique perspective on why private label businesses are creating rather than following industry trend and how Best Buy is doing this with innovative new products.

Our pre-conference packaging trends summit will now feature Tim Milano, Vice President Own Brand & Global Sourcing, OFFICE DEPOT with “From Private Brand to Own Brand - A Consumer-Driven Approach.” Tim will discuss how new consumer insights have helped change the way Office Depot positions their Own Brands and how that strategy translates to product development, packaging and the way Own Brands are merchandised and communicated across channels

In the Brand Strategy and Design track Carol Best, VP Brand Strategy, ANTHEM will present “Why Private Brands are Un-American and What You Can Do About It.” Learn how America's history, culture and consumer behavior has contributed to the challenges private brands have faced and hear Anthem's observations and insights on how Private Brands can help redefine the American Dream...one SKU at a time.

Last but not least, “The Power of Private Label” has been added to the lineup for Wednesday, September 21st. This session will feature Jonathan Sands, Chairman and Sarah Dear, Group Client Services Director at ELMWOOD as they discuss a much-overlooked tool in retail. Elmwood believes that stores are increasingly used as showrooms, with consumers then turning to new media to get the best deal. Expect particular insight on why the old model for good, better, best is no longer good enough.

Download the brochure to learn about the additional 35+ speakers and keynotes.

These are exciting additions to the program that continues to push the boundaries of Private Brands. This is the only conference that takes Private Brand well beyond packaged goods and allows you to interact and learn best practices and brand building outside of your channel.

With only 4 weeks to the event, space is limited. Register Now.

See you in Chicago!

The Private Brand Movement Event Team

Follow Us on Twitter for event updates and industry news

“What’s our consumer path to purchase?  Did we win the Moment of Truth?  Oh, wait, which moment was that: first or second?  What about the new Zero Moment of Truth?  Where on the Path did that occur?  Do we have a strategy for winning those moments? By the way, do we need a different strategy for each step on the path and each moment of truth?  And does it change our positioning? Paths, moments, strategies… how do they all fit together?”

With all that’s emerging in the shopper marketing space, it’s important to step back and take a look at how it all hangs together and ask ourselves if the way we think about and use Path to Purchase (P2P) effectively drives better results.  In fact, it turns out when you step back and map it out at a macro level, a couple things appear.

First, the path should really extend all the way to consumer satisfaction (and a little bit beyond).  The game isn’t over when the consumer purchases your product.  It continues through at least until the second moment of truth (usage).  And if they are satisfied (‘delighted’ would be better) with their experience, it continues until they buy again and start the cycle over, hopefully with a touch more inclination to buy from you next time.  Secondly, rather than a linear path, when sketched out it’s a cycle that could more appropriately be named the Path to Purchase Satisfaction (or P2PS for short).

Each stage can be qualitatively or quantitatively described.  Here’s the simple qualitative version:

Recognize– This is the first step where the consumer recognizes they have an unmet need. If you’re top of mind at this point… cool. You’re starting with a lead in winning the zero moment of truth.
Plan– Whether formal or informal, the next step a consumer takes is to begin planning if and how they are going to fulfill their need. If your product or store influences the plan, you’ve just increased your lead. 
Search– Using a variety of search techniques, the consumer then begins pursuing whatever they think will fulfill their need. This is the finish line for winning the zero moment of truth. Be present in their search channels (including social media) or else.
Discover– This can take place either before they get to the store or after but hopefully they discover your product. This is critical in winning the second moment of truth (I hope your product is on the shelf at the right price point… and they see it in the few milliseconds they take to scan). 
Transact– Believing they have found the item that will fill their unmet need, the consumer forks over cash to actually procure your item. Please note, they have already sunk considerable non-cash investment (e.g., time, effort, emotional investment) to get to this point. Congratulations if they’re going home with your product.  If not, go back to step one on the path (and hopefully not all the way back to rethinking your value proposition).
Experience– Yes, you guessed it.  This is the second moment of truth: the time where the consumer actually uses your product.  If you disappoint at this point, you’re sunk. If you satisfy, you’ll favorably impact the next step.  If you delight, the next step is a slam dunk and you start off on the path to purchase with a big lead the next time! 
Resolve– Either consciously or sub-consciously the consumer makes a resolution about their experience with your product.  What you want is a resolution that strengthens commitment to your product so you get that little bit of edge the next time they go down the path.  Eventually, you want them to think about you as soon as they recognize they have an unmet need.

It is very useful to lay this out in a matrix.  The steps on the Path become the columns across the top.   Consumer attributes, value proposition attributes, and strategies become the rows.  It's useful in a lot of ways but most effectively for aligning and filling gaps in your strategies... that is, if you’re going to win on the Path to Purchase Satisfaction.

Larry McManis, President
ThinkWay Strategies

(Want to learn more about Path to Purchase and how it’s being used to drive results? Check out this year’s Private Brand Movement September 19-21 in Chicago sponsored by IIR USA. Private Brands are winning with consumers throughout the Path to Purchase Satisfaction).
Reposted from MyPrivateBrand.

Waitrose takes its Private Brands to the next level with the introduction of “Good To Go” a Private brand created by the English design firm Turner Duckworth. For readers that follow Turner Duckworth the work is familiar, clean crisp and modern. But the business concept is something that has recently begun to gain momentum across the Atlantic. They hope to leverage the brand outside of their own stores and sell it in partner stores ranging from the drugstore Boots to gas stations and convenience stores. This follows the introduction of the Chockabloc ice cream Private Brand as a “high valued brand” by Tesco, Tesco also hopes to market it and other Private Brands outside of its stores.

The brand pulls together over 150 products previously in different parts of the store into one brand with various sub ranges, including new innovative flavors, lower calorie and basics, as well as indulgent treats, too.

Turner Duckworth came up with the name “Good To Go” which reflects the high quality of food available combined with the convenience. The designs are packed with details about the provenance of the food to give customers something to read as they munch through their lunchtime sandwich.

__________________________________________________________________________________

To learn more about Waitrose, its Private Brands and the Waitrose/Pearlfisher partnership please join me as I chair the Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago September 19 – 21. Where Maggie Hodgetts, Head of Design, for Waitrose and Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner for Pearlfisher will present

“Design For Life – Creating A New Design Language For Health And Wellbeing In The Retail Sector”

Together, Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner of Pearlfisher and Maggie Hodgetts, Head of Design at Waitrose, will present how the new Waitrose health and wellbeing proposition was defined so that it naturally fitted as a strategic cornerstone to Waitrose brand. As well as the opportunity to be amongst the first to see the new Waitrose health and wellbeing offer. Takeaways from this exclusive, ground-breaking presentation will include:

  • How a distinct personality and design language can make health and diet products exciting and create difference
  • How architecture, cohesive design and brand identity work to give life to the new Waitrose health and wellbeing offer
  • Future insights into the world of food and healthy convenience including analyzing cultural global shifts and tailoring to different markets
Calling all original content creators to fight for your rights.

Capsule was robbed recently. The perp didn't break into our office or do any physical damage to our place of business. The perp did steal from Capsule by taking our original client work and attempting to sell it as his original work. If you're in design, you might have already heard about this individual. If not, be aware.

He is an original thief and a thief of originality.


And if you're wondering what this criminal act looks like, look with disgust below.












Prejean Creative is the original designer on each of these. Capsule is also fighting this exact form of criminal activity.

No matter if you're a private brand or a manufacturer brand, originality is not a place to compromise. If you're merely a copy of something else, be honest with yourself. Know that the length of your success is equal to how long you can stand imitating someone else's originality. For some, that's a lifetime. For others (those who design the original work), it's a slow death.

If you have used an online logo site (this one or any other), be aware of the potential for copyright infringement. Be aware, because damages do occur and the original designers will fight for their right. And we all know a bank robber's getaway driver is also going to pay a price.

Capsule would like to thank the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) for making us aware of this thief. We are proud to be a part of an industry which protects its own and knows right from wrong.

"The number one rule of thieves is that nothing is too small to steal." Jimmy Breslin

Don't be a thief. Be original. You'll sleep better at night.

Managing Principal
akeller@capsule.us


Today marks the third guest post from Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner at Pearlfisher on the principles of retail branding. Jonathan will be presenting "'Design for Life' - Creating a New Design Language for Health and Wellbeing in the Retail Sector" alongside Maggie Hodgetts of Waitrose this September at The Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago. To learn more about the event, click here. Following from Jonathan's last post about the retail branding principles 'Authenticity' and 'Seduction' we move on to principle 4, Empathy. To see Jonathan's past posts on the principles of retail branding please click here.

Principle 4 - Empathy
Retail segmentation needs to be defined and inspired by a shopper’s mood, circumstance and occasion. That means presenting your offer in a way that resonates with current and future consumers. The big picture needs to be examined as well as all the elements of your brand, recognizing their role and function individually and as part of the whole. The complete picture needs to make sense but should also unlock new thinking and room for future growth.

Woolworths, the South African retailer, wanted their organic range to resonate more with their consumers. The bold, natural design is one which works across the whole store from sauces to signage. The organic shapes are classic and versatile, ensuring they live well into the future.






Leading up to the 2011 Private Brand Movement event, we're getting in touch with some of our most exciting speakers as part of our Private Brand Pulse series.

Today, we have an interview with Betsy Schowachert, Director of Private Brand and Licensing at Michaels Stores. Betsy will be presenting "Building a Private Brand Organization: How to Leverage CPG. Best Practices and Strategies Down a Path to world-class performance" on Tuesday, Sept. 20th, 2011.

In this session you will learn how Michaels modeled their organizational structure and approach to brand development after successful CPG companies. By having a clearly defined vision and by implementing industry recognized strategies and best practices, Michaels has been able to successfully reinvent/re-launch their Private Brand program in just three short years. moving from over 200 different labels to 10 strategically positioned and high performing brands.

PBM: Tell us about your background and how you got into the private brand development business

BS: I have always found the business of brand development and retail to be interesting and challenging, and as such have made it the focus of my professional work. I have spent the last 19 years working with retailers to help them better market, brand manage, source and develop product for their Private Brand programs, 16 years with Daymon Worldwide and the last 3.5 with Michaels. My experience includes working and living in Europe, as well as managing business teams located domestically and in both Europe and Asia. I have managed start-up accounts, work within corporate environments, specialized in sourcing and marketing of PB programs with many major retailers including, American Stores, Kroger, Supervalu, Petsmart, Office Depot, and of course most recently Michaels Stores.

PBM: What are some of the biggest changes that are affecting your business?

BS: The slow economy of course is the biggest challenge we all face. Remaining relevant to the consumer, when they are cutting back, and giving them a reason to come shop with us.

PBM: Do you feel private brands are crucial to the future of your store and if so why?

BS: Private brands do play a critical role within our business. They are critical because they are a differentiator, margin/sales driver, and innovation catalyst.

PBM: How do you see shopping and the retail industry changing in the next 10 years?

BS: Advances in technology will continue to change the way retailers interact and communicate with consumers. Digital technology and social networking in particular are reshaping the relationships that retailers have with their customers; it is also influencing how they shop, research, and buy goods. Retailers must be thinking ahead to the future in order to stay relevant to an ever changing consumer, who has more options, information and connectivity than ever before.

PBM: Your presentation at the Private Brand Movement is centered around leveraging CPG best practices and strategies, give us a sneak peak, what do you feel is one big takeaway from the CPG industry? What do they do that won’t apply to retailers?

BS: When building a new organization, it is important to start out with a vision that will support both the long and short term goals of the organization. Starting out with a foundation that is built upon recognized best practices and with the foresight to plan for the organizations future needs. This is what my presentation is about, how we leveraged CPG best practices (people, organizational structure, consumer centric thinking, etc.) , integrated them into a retail organization and by doing so took our business to the next level.

For more on the changing Private Label world, join us this September in Chicago for The Private Brand Movement. With only 4 weeks to the event, space is limited. Register today here.

Follow us on twitter for event updates @Private_brand





Reposted from MyPrivateBrand.


Cincinnati, Ohio based mega-grocer Kroger has introduced a new line of more than 20 Private Brand salads with the launch of Fresh Selections by Kroger Salads! The leafy greens are thoroughly washed and packed in special packages including: bags, clam shells, single serve salads and salad kits all to maximize freshness.

Fresh Selections by Kroger is designed to provide customers the perfect side for all their favorite meals, or the option to make the salad the main event by piling on fresh veggies, cheeses and proteins.

The brand has also built in its core a food safety and confidence program called Quality You Can Trace with HarvestMark. The program allows customers to access online information about the salad they purchased, such as harvest,packing information and safety status.

To learn more about Kroger’s Private Brand initiatives join me at the Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago September 19 – 21 where I will moderate a conversation with Susan Sanderson, Director, Corporate Brand Management, The Kroger Company, Nancy Dumais, Director of Branding And Design – Private Brands, Delhaize America and Eli Getson, SVP, GMM, Golfsmith in a panel discussion titled: The Future Of Owned Brands Amidst Economic Revival.

In the past, private label sales spiked during a recession and quickly returned to normal levels at the first sign of an upturn. This time is different, private brands are here to stay. In this session, you’ll hear from a cross-selection of industry leaders on where they see private brands headed and how they’re adapting to the new world of consumers. Hear a frank discussion on the impact of mobile, direct to consumer, social media, retailer manufacturing and the future of national brands and store brands.
The Private Brand Movement is thrilled to welcome two top names in retail to the esteemed speaker line-up at next month’s event: Rick Rommel, SVP of Exclusive Brands & Global Sourcing for BEST BUY and Tim Milano, VP Own Brand and Global Sourcing, OFFICE DEPOT.

The Private Brand Movement is the only conference that addresses the private brand industry holistically, by bringing together some of the great minds in branding and retail today to share best practices and create the next generation of brands at retail .

Retailers from almost every retail channel will be in attendance including: Associated Food Stores, Bath & Body Works, Belk, Giant, Golfsmith International, Hannaford, Kroger, Michael’s Stores, Inc., Office Depot, OfficeMax, Petco Animal Supplies, RaceTrac Petroleum Incorporated, REI, Safeway, Sears, Staples, Target and Waitrose.

Rick Rommel’s keynote session is titled “Private Label Innovation: Not an Oxymoron. Really”
Private Label businesses are increasingly creating rather than following industry trends. And are doing so with innovative new products. Here’s how this happens in Best Buy’s consumer electronics industry.
• Culture and Creativity
• Innovative Product Anatomy
• A Formula for Success
More on Rick Rommel:
Rick Rommel is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Exclusive Brands Business for Best Buy Co., Inc., a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services. Rommel serves a key role in driving this growth business, which serves Best Buy and external customers in fourteen countries.

Rommel is known for his ability to incubate and grow business initiatives. Most recently, he led the New Business Customer Solutions Group, leveraging his internal and external partnerships to challenge current business model conventions and develop new long term growth opportunities. Before that he was vice president/general manager for Best Buy’s digital imaging business. Prior to Best Buy, Rommel was director of retail digital systems for Eastman Kodak. In this position, he oversaw Kodak’s global strategy for the company’s retail kiosk and photofinishing solution businesses.

Tim Milano’s session is titled "From Private Brand to Own Brand – A Consumer-Driven Approach"
The way consumers make their purchase decisions is undergoing a massive transformation. They are buying through multiple channels and are informed and influenced in more ways than ever before. Tim Milano will discuss how new consumer insights have helped change the way Office Depot positions their Own Brands. Tim will share how that strategy translates to product development, packaging and the way Own Brands are merchandised and communicated across channels.

With only 4 weeks to the event, space is limited. Register today.
Private brands use to follow a simple set of strategies. Not anymore. All that is changing...

After spending over 30 years, much of it in strategy jobs, with a company that has some of the most recognized brands in the world, it’s possible I left the place just a little bit biased.  “Our” brands were the most recognized because for years they were not only the best quality, they were trusted implicitly and had painstakingly built deep emotional connections with consumers through years of consistent communication and delivery of the value propositions.  Private brands were derisively referred to as “generics” with inferior quality, questionable consistency and certainly the only emotional appeal was through the pocketbook, not the heart.

But all that is changing...
Private brands use to follow a simple set of strategies. First, leave the cost and investment in innovation and marketing to the national brands. Instead, be a fast-follower.  Getting to market late might not get you leading share but it has benefits on the cost structure side (see strategy 3).

Second, offer undifferentiated choices.  Make the alternative to the national brand “similar” enough that the consumer no longer automatically considers the branded choice but instead has to do a little comparing and trades off a little quality to get a better deal; which leads to strategy 3.

Finally, win on price through low cost sourcing.  Once the consumer compares and there is no longer any easily discernable product differentiation, it comes down to price.  And private brands can win when it comes down to price.

But, private brand strategy is changing. There are now many examples of private brands innovating and creating new products that they market to their consumers.  Companies like OfficeMax, which created a premium line of cool office products specifically designed and marketed to appeal to their predominantly female shoppers, have begun to differentiate their private brands from the national ones.  And companies like Meijer who offers Meijer Gold, a premium private label along with Meijer Organic and Natural, have also closed the quality gap.  And with all that, private brands still win when it comes to price.

These strategies have been used before to successfully disrupt a marketplace full of entrenched brands.  Three or four decades ago, Japanese automakers entered the automotive industry by introducing low cost cars to the American consumer. By continuing to optimize their supply chains to keep costs down and continuously improving quality, market share has grown steadily and, well, you know the rest of the story.

A similar storyline is playing out with private brands, while initially competing primarily on price, private brands are now innovating and moving up the quality continuum to include products with premium positioning.  Combine this with the current economic climate which is driving consumers toward private brand purchases and perhaps we have the perfect storm.  We certainly have a changing private brand strategy and without question they are disrupting the marketplace.

Larry McManis, President
ThinkWay Strategies

(Want to learn more about private brands? Check out OfficeMax or the presentation “Private Label Innovation: Not an Oxymoron. Really” by Rick Rommel, SVP and General Manager of the Exclusive Brands Business at Best Buy, Inc. at the upcoming Private Brand Movement conference September 19-21 in Chicago sponsored by IIR USA.)
When does a brand really become a brand?

For instance, when Google started, got investors, had a name and only 15 people knew it existed, was it a brand? Or when Mark Zuckerberg passed his concept around to his college

friends and they started using it, was Facebook a brand? Or is it when the trademark office approves your filing for a trademark registration? Or is it when you reach a certain number of visitors? Or, perhaps less likely, is it when you run your first ad?


This is something I've considered for awhile.

Why? Because if it's day one, then those who work on the early parts of a brand are making a tremendous contribution. If it happens somewhere along the path of growth, awareness and engagement, then someone should tell me when.

But, more important. If a brand is a brand, day one, then it needs to be managed as a brand.

What does this mean for new ventures?

How many people have been told, we don't need a brand, we're just getting started. Really? So, what do you need when you get started? You need people to trust you (investors, first customers, partners). Your brand does make a contribution to trust, if managed right.

You need a great product, service, experience or offering. Yes, then you need people to be aware of it, engage with it, trust it, and hopefully very quickly start bragging about it to their friends. So, if anyone needs a brand, it is a start up, new product, new experience or service, right out of the gate. But, maybe someone out there disagrees. We'd like to hear from you and we'd like to talk with a few of your customers, investors or other stakeholders.

While this may be amusing to some who have spent enough time to understand the influence of a strong brand, it is a serious subject and should be discussed at the start of anything new, including a private label brand. The results with improve your potential for success.

Tell us your viewpoint. When does a brand become a brand?

Managing Principal
akeller@capsule.us



The Private Brand Movement is thrilled to welcome Rick Rommel, SVP of Exclusive Brands & Global Sourcing for Best Buy to the esteemed keynote line-up at next month’s event.

About the Private Brand Movement:

The Private Brand Movement is the most comprehensive private brand event in the world. The event is intentionally designed to tackle critical issues and explore new opportunities through practical real world illustrations. The outcome is an experience so encompassing because it delivers the right mix of the right perspectives, certain, to accelerate innovation.

Rick Rommel’s Keynote Session:

Private Label Innovation : Not an Oxymoron. Really

Private Label businesses are increasingly creating rather than following industry trends. And are doing so with innovative new products. Here’s how this happens in Best Buy’s consumer electronics industry.

Culture and Creativity

Innovative Product Anatomy

A Formula for Success

More on Rick Rommel:

Rick Rommel is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Exclusive Brands Business for Best Buy Co., Inc., a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services. Rommel serves a key role in driving this growth business, which serves Best Buy and external customers in fourteen countries.

Rommel is known for his ability to incubate and grow business initiatives. Most recently, he led the New Business Customer Solutions Group, leveraging his internal and external partnerships to challenge current business model conventions and develop new long term growth opportunities. Before that he was vice president/general manager for Best Buy’s digital imaging business. Prior to Best Buy, Rommel was director of retail digital systems for Eastman Kodak. In this position, he oversaw Kodak’s global strategy for the company’s retail kiosk and photofinishing solution businesses.

With only 4 weeks to the event, space is limited. Register now.

Download the Brochure to discover more. Plus, This Week Only, Win a Copy of Private Brand Uncovered by keynote speaker Koen de Jong of IPLC! When you download the Private Brand Movement brochure, you will be entered into a raffle to receive a free copy.

See you in Chicago!

The Private Brand Movement Event Team

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Today marks the second guest post from Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner at Pearlfisher on the principles of retail branding. Jonathan will be presenting "'Design for Life' - Creating a New Design Language for Health and Wellbeing in the Retail Sector" alongside Maggie Hodgetts of Waitrose this September at The Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago. To learn more about the event, click here.

Following from Jonathan's last post about the retail branding principle 'Clarity', we move on to principles 2 and 3, Authenticity and Seduction.

Principle 2. Authenticity
Expressing a ‘true’ brand spirit relies on reflecting knowledge, integrity and style through all the layers of the brand; it’s about consistently communicating product quality, provenance, personality and design worthiness.

The Jme lifestyle range for Jamie Oliver is an eclectic, exciting mix of food products and products for the home. However, Jamie Oliver didn't want a brand that was just about him and the design for the products within the Jme brand portfolio champions the individual qualities of the products over Jamie's personality. Because of this, the design steers well clear of typical celebrity imagery or name checking, turning traditional celebrity branding on its head. Built on collaborations with a host of designers and suppliers from around the world, the designs for the portfolio of products celebrates the authentic individuality of each products origin and quality. The result is an eclectic and inspirational range, with design that reflects the products individual character with honesty and style.


Principle 3. SEDUCTION
Irresistible retail experiences are those that create sensorial impact. Everything, from the way products are packaged to how they are presented in-store through innovative, stunning and stylish design should touch people and make them want to come back for more. All the senses are stimulated in the Crabtree & Evelyn stores. The new design for Crabtree & Evelyn debuted with the launch of the brands Keystone Florals fragrance range – Lily, Rosewater and Lavender and captures the beauty of Crabtree whilst expressing its specialness in a contemporary way. The new design elevates Crabtree to an entirely unique and desirable lifestyle brand and creates a holistic experience across all the brands touch-points, from packaging design to in-store experience.


Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner, Pearlfisher
jonathan@pearlfisher.com
www.pearlfisher.com
Leading up to the 2011 Private Brand Movement event, we're getting in touch with some of our most exciting speakers as part of our Private Brand Pulse series.

Today, we have an interview with keynote speaker Koen de Jong, of IPLC & Author of Private Label Uncovered. Koen will be presenting "Creating Value Together: How European Retailers and Manufacturers Collaborate to Innovate" on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at the Private Brand Movement. In this session, learn how European retailers succeed in reducing the time-to market of their private label innovations. By closely collaborating with their
suppliers they tap into themes that live in society and create private label sub-brands based upon this.
The session will cover:
• What initiatives can be taken to drive costs out of the supply chain and how to speed up the innovation process
• What drivers are used to fuel the innovation process
• Inspiring examples of niche marketing my means of private label sub-brands

To read the full interview, click here.

Plus, This Week Only, Win a Copy of Private Brand Uncovered! When you download the Private Brand Movement brochure, you will be entered into a raffle to receive a free copy. Download the brochure here.


Don't miss your chance to meet Koen in person at at The Private Brand Movement.
Register here for the event.

Follow us on twitter for event updates @Private_brand.
A special thanks to our Marquee Sponsor Daymon Worldwide.

We had a friend into the office yesterday and he talked about what helps a brand achieve greatness. While we have had discussions around this topic in the past, this individual gave us a rather inspirational viewpoint on the subject. Thank you Mr. James Damian, former Chief Design Officer at Best Buy, you've inspired once more.

Brands have meaning to people. If the meaning centers around, "I'll get this because it costs less," the brand lacks powerful meaning. Think about the brands you desire to have in your life. What do they all have in common?

Answer: a higher purpose.

Steve Jobs didn't start Apple to make desktop computers, he wanted to "put a ding in the universe" to use his words. It's emotional and something people follow with a ferocity that kept Apple alive in the tough times, even when Jobs wasn't there.

So, let's put this theory to a test in the private brand world. Archer Farms from Target, what is the higher purpose? I'm not sure there was one when it originally launched, but if I had to write one now I think it could be done. Archer Farms, connecting you with the family farm. As our food and its origin continue to become divided, this is a brand pulling us back to the values of the family farm.


A stretch? Perhaps. Higher purpose, I believe so. Does it give you an emotional reason to engage with this brand? For me, certainly.

Call it purpose, cause or mission, the idea is the same, an emotional reason to engage. Sometimes it feels to me like the mission for a private brand is one of three options, one: steal share from the manufacturer, two: keep the manufacturer price in check, three: provide an opening price point option. All these seem to center around the less than higher purpose of "making more money." Hence, the consumer doesn't care and emotional engagement fails to happen.

What is the higher purpose of your brand? Whether its a private brand, store brand or even a manufacturers brand. Is it a higher purpose a consumer can get behind? Is it emotional? When was the last time you've looked at it?

Send me your brand's higher purpose, I'd like to hear it.

Managing Principal
akeller@capsule.us



Reposted from our Private Brand Movement conference chair, Christopher Durham's site MyPBrand.com

This is the next post in a continuing series on the upcoming Private Brand Movement conference, September 19 – 21 in Chicago, Illinois. The series features a look at our keynote speakers and their topics. The keynotes feature the most prolific minds on the topics that matter MOST: packaging trends, neuro-marketing, social consciousness, shopping behavior, next generation consumers, retail, brand identity, culture, design and of course Private Brand.

The second keynote Wednesday morning, “Branding The Future One Touch Point At A Time” will be presented by Alina Wheeler the author of The Brand Atlas. Her presentation will focus on:

Brands are the global currency of success. To be successful, brand builders need to stick to the basics, stay calm on the rollercoaster of relentless change and fierce competition, and seize every opportunity to be irreplaceable and be the brand of choice. Each touch point, whether it’s an in store experience, an app, a Groupon offer, a package, a tag or a tweet, has the potential to attract new customers, connect to the heart and mind, and build life long customer relationships.

Inspiration: What’s happening around the world? A speed of light tour of global touch points

Contemplation: Who are you? Who needs to know? Why should they care? How will they find out? A reminder of the basics

Celebration: How do you achieve radical differentiation? Demonstrate rather than declare

For more from Private Brand Movement chair Christopher Durham visit mypbrand.com.

To learn more about the conference, visit the event website, download the brochure or follow us on Twitter @Private_brand.

Register for the Private Brand Movement here.

Simple story with plenty of relevance to our modern day race between brands in categories. Today, private brands stand at the starting line (at the shelf) right next to national manufacturer brands. This modern brand race is for awareness, interest, engagement, purchase and above all, loyalty.

Which one is the hare? Which one is the turtle? Which one are you?


We could argue for both, but it would seem the one who survives to win is the tortoise, no matter manufacturer or retailer.

In some categories, it would appear (without naming names) the retailer is all over the place (racing ahead, falling behind, acting over confident and then falling short). But, it is also easy to make an example out of manufacturers who have, in their own unique way, bounced around between what their brand means to people to what types of innovations they can bring to market to the way they promote their brand with margin crushing methods like coupons.

So, private brand or manufacturer brand, we believe each can learn at least three lessons from this epic race.

1. Movement forward is positive, no matter what the pace.

This applies to any brand, even in technology where sometimes people think everything is moving so fast a tortoise would never poke its head out in time. Well let's consider Apple, we remember using them a decade ago as a great example in design and being told they are seen as irrelevant by many in Silicon Valley. Irrelevant one decade, largest asset value in the world today. What seems like speed may also be a vision for the future. If you can see farther, you can design farther ahead. If you design farther ahead, you can sometimes redesign the future.

2. Navel gazing on the job is not always overcome with speed.

As ethnographic researchers, we are big fans of observation and taking the time to understand what's happening. Where navel gazing comes into play here is spending too much time considering what "was done" and too little time considering what "could be" done. Just the simple act of looking at financial reports, how much total time do you think a corporation spends in human resource time looking at the daily historical documents? Count the hours and then compare that to how many inside are looking forward.

3. Arrogance is a competitive advantage for your competitors.

A few years past we enjoyed a speech by the vice chairman at Target Corporation. Part of his speech was a bar graph showing all the major retailer sales (including Target) stacked up against Walmart. The result was so clear, no matter how confident we are in our friends at Target, that chart was a humbling experience. The part that impressed us was how Target, in all their success around "Design for All" had the humility to see they have more to improve upon. Just when you think you're the best of the best, start looking around for the tortoise, because you've just taken on the role of the hare.

So, the question remains, are you the hare or the tortoise?

Managing Principal
akeller@capsule.us


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