With the 2011 Private Brand Movement event now behind us, we'd like to take a moment to invite you to participate in our year-round online communities. For continuous Private Brand coverage, follow @Private_brand on twitter, or join our LinkedIn Community to connect with Private Brand professionals from around the world.

This year's conference generated a lot of great reflections, including our own coverage by guest bloggers Aaron Keller of Capsule and Larry McManis of ThinkWay Strategies which you can find here:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
As well as coverage by several other media outlets.

Private Label Buyer reported on our panel discussion "The Future of Owned Brands Amidst Economic Revival," writing about the ways, "social media has changed the way private brands do business. "

Progressive Grocer Store Brands covered the conference in their articles "New Era for U.S. Store Brands" and "Engage Consumers Through Design" and Supermarket News remarked on a trend towards investments in private-label packaging and Safeway's new private-brand innovation model. Retailwire also covered the Safeway session in their piece "BrainTrust Query: Brand as They Say, Not as They Do." And, of course, there is more content to be found on conference chair Christopher Durham's website MyPBrand.com.

What were your thoughts about the event? Did you blog about the experience? Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you in 2012!
While sitting at the Private Brand Conference, listening, learning and discussing we had many interesting thoughts about how brands lead, the role of private brands, the differences and about how we as consumers of brands become educated.

It was once stated to me by a veteran marketer that "educating the consumer" is expensive and he wanted nothing to do with it. I nodded my head in a basic understanding kind of way, then set out to explore it further. Consider the old story of McDonalds vs Burger King and how they both determine a location to put the next burger joint.

McDonald's has a large department of smart, expensive people to identify the exact place and time when and where a McDonald's restaurant should appear.

Burger King puts one right across the street from every McDonald's. Simple, genius and inexpensive.

The difference?

Leadership often requires a brand to take on a teaching role. Consider a new product / brand entering the market as a way to look at this idea.

Maybe its a new food item. The leading brand has to educate the potential pool of shoppers on how to use it, when to serve it, who would like it and all the other essentials.

Or the easier one to consider is a new technology. Like a portable tablet from Apple [think iPad]. Apple has the obligation to teach people how to use it, what it works nicely for, and all the other details that come from ownership.

But, the obligation of teaching in a leadership role comes with benefits, right? Certainly does.

If you train someone on how to interface with a tablet, you set the standard. And, if you had an Apple product first and then interacted with any other tablet or smartphone from other manufacturers you immediately sense what's missing. Apple ruins you for any other similar technology. Same goes for a food item if done right, or any other leader who takes the position and educates the consumer to their unique offering.

So what does this mean for private brands?

The additional margin gained by investing in a private brand could easily go to the bottom line, investors, members or promoting other categories. Or, it could go into leading the category. It likely doesn't mean coming out with the next iPad, but it could mean taking a leadership position after a certain amount of maturity in the category.

Education is expensive, early on yes. But after the category matures, incremental innovation requires less education and creates an opportunity for private brands to lead. Not as the least expensive, but as the most usable, visually appealing, or shopper centered.

Consider this when you're putting together your private brand strategy.

Leadership is how you define it and when you achieve it.


And, with this we would like to thank The Private Brand Conference coordinators, My Private Brand and all the talented speakers who contributed great content, thinking, visual eye candy and inspiration for the attendees.

We hope to see you all someday soon.

Managing Principal

Edumacation is my idea of funny.

If you've enjoyed our posts, we hope to be back next year and in the mean time you can find more at the Capsule Blog (CapsuleScape.com)

We have been asking ourselves the difference between a private / store / retailer brand and a standard everyday brand [not that any brand would allow themselves to be described in such a way].

Best Buy's Rick Rommel gave us an exceptional, historical view of their private brand stories and clearly articulated their challenges and successes with four store owned brands. Their brands have all the same attributes you would associate with a brand [customer service, package, technical support, returns, product testing, brand name, etc.]. It was even asked, how many customers of Best Buy see their brands as owned by Best Buy?

REI and Sears gave us the details behind their store brands and the important role of design, testing and delivering on a promise. In both cases it would appear we have brands first that are labeled as retailer / store / private brands because of who owns the asset.

None of this gets to a difference. So, we ask again, what is the difference between a store brand and any other brand? Who owns the asset?

Here's one theory we'd like to discuss.

Store brands are different because they often have to be designed to cross a variety of unrelated categories. This built in need originates with a requirement to achieve a certain efficiency and rate of return for the owner. This behavior for brands isn't new though, many brands in Japan stretch across a variety of unrelated categories [Sony, Honda, etc].

This theory obviously isn't bullet proof, so we'd like to hear other views.

Is it as simple as who owns the brand asset? Is it a matter of limited budgets? Is it that a store brand has to cross diverse categories? Or is it just that we have distinguished them because of the intense relationship between manufacturers and retailers. By labeling them in such a way, they can be given less emphasis, less budget, less design and less attention?

Answer the question, what is the difference? Store brand vs manufacturers brand.

Managing Principal
Maybe you've heard this tagline: Story Matters Here. It’s day 2 of Private Brand Movement, a conference being held at the Sheraton Towers in Chicago. Although I have a lot on my mind, for example my youngest daughter is getting married this weekend, I was drawn in to the presentations and conversations. I’ve been to a few conferences sponsored by IIR USA and they always seem to land the best and brightest when it comes to speakers. This appears to be no exception.

The title summarizes nicely what I heard today. Each presentation seemed to reinforce it: Design Attracts, Story Connects. Said another way, excellent design is very, very necessary… but not really sufficient. Story, the story of your brand, connects consumers… hopefully sufficient enough to bring emotion to an otherwise dull, uninspiring and likely price-driven transaction.

Harry Pearce, Partner at Pentagram, had three words (principles, really) to say it in his own way: Truth, Clarity and Emotion drive excellent design. Then he gave examples of how design became the way to tell a new private brand story to consumers at three different retailers: Halfords, The Cooperative and Budgens. And each of these saw dramatic increases in their results.

Carla Cooper, CEO at Damon Worldwide had three different (but sort of similar) words to build timeless brands: Simple, Better, Different. She then led us through similar success stories in her experience working on iconic brands such as Coca Cola and Kellogg’s. CPG’s like these, she says, have something many private brands lack: a brand building mentality fully focused on the consumer (i.e., telling the brand story).

Maybe you heard a similar theme if you sat in on Koen de Jong’s presentation that spoke of the private brand advantage over CPG’s in innovating and time to market. Or perhaps you heard Carol Best of Anthem explain how private brands need to go from emulating to innovating. One of my favorites of the afternoon was Jeff Fagel, Director of Brand Development at Sears Holdings, explain Kmart’s journey to meet three challenges: 1) How to get people to pay attention; 2) How to get people to care; and 3) How to get people to act. They’ve focused on design (did you know Kmart has a design team of over 250 people in Soho and Chicago?) for sure. But they also spent an enormous amount of time and energy recreating and retelling the story of the Kmart brand.

Through these presentations and the stories behind them, the private brand challenge became clearer today than it was before the conference began. It’s not only about creating design that attracts, it’s also about creating content that has emotion and connects. Yes, design attracts and therefore needs to be excellent. But story communicates emotionally and therefore connects. If you’re a private brand, or any brand really, what’s your story? I’m headed back to focus on preparations for my daughter’s wedding this weekend. Share your story by commenting or send me an email. If you don’t have my email address, go to my website and connect with me there. I really want to hear your story. Story matters. It’s what enables us to connect.

Larry McManis, President & CEO
ThinkWay Strategies
When someone steps up and does it right, they get their own post. Kelly Kraus from REI did it right.

Kelly started by saying we could let our minds wander if it happened, but she didn't allow it. She fed us an intellectual buffet. We gathered a lot of the same stats we've seen with others, but more important we got something I personally wouldn't have expected to see for the first time from this retailer. Nothing against REI, just a wonderful surprise to see them give the crowd an NPV on their Private Brand investment. If you're not aware, NPV stands for Net Present Value and it is a solid method to measure an investment. And, it worked.

Inspiring to see financial numbers being blended with the emotional rewards of outdoor brands. Here are some of her other key messages, filtered through my head.

> REI is about inspiring, educating and outfitting; the strategy starts there.

> They have seen a 11% incremental gross margin added to bottom line. Oddly similar to the price for marketing / sales in a manufacturer brand.

> Benchmarks they used included Decathlon which has 70% of its sales in Private Brands in a 3 billion retailer. Macy's as the other benchmark, but didn't have as much to offer in my view.

> They had a plan and it started with executive support. Hard to consider this brilliant, but how often is it missed? So, fundamental and done culturally correct they took things off the table.

> RASCI: Ratifier, accountable, support, consult and inform. I can't go deep what all these did or meant, but it made complete sense for what this division was doing.

> The NPV was $13,309,013. That's 13 million+, but yes they did take it down to the 13 dollars.

> The best part: Kelly didn't go into the actual strategy. She kept it to herself, whether worked out completely or not, she kept her presentation tight and filled with solid content. For that we are appreciative.

Thank you Kelly for taking to a place we had not expected to see. Thank you for NOT letting our minds wander.

Managing Principal

Section two, from Eleven to Three in the afternoon. Carla gets us started, Jon takes us to Three.

Carla Cooper from Daymon worldwide started with an iconic brand [Coca-Cola]. She was there when New Coke came out. The phone lines lit up when it came out. Taste profile preference was sweeter, they didn't ask what would you do if the existing Coke was not available. Coca-Cola classic was introduced to our world. It was a mistake, confirmed by Carla. Good to know even the largest brand in the world isn't perfect.

Author Koen de Jong, Author of Private Label Uncovered gave us the second of our midday presentations. He was plentiful in his content which is always good for a keynote.

Lunch, now we get to eat and connect some more.

Jon Weber from Soma beverage gave us emotional value. One of the early statements he made, "necessity is the mother of invention." We agree. But we also wonder.

Who is the grandmother of invention? Think about it.

Back to Jon and his mint beverage. Who would say 5 years ago, let's start a new water brand? I wouldn't have invested in a new water brand. But, he did it and I wish I knew Jon back when he did it because he made something of value from a bottle of mint infused water. He made a brand. And he is a proud father of that brand, he even glows when he talks about the dots and "standing out like a sore thumb." Thank you Jon you were a great way to finish up the midday.

Managing Principal
The morning started off with an eye opening set of three speakers.

Christopher Durham from My Private Brand started us off with a broad brush about thinking first about the brands we own and our obligation to build stronger brands. Then consider the advantage they offer as private brands.

Todd Hale from Nielson took the stage next and dropped us into a vat of trends extrapolated from data he translated into valuable information. This kept us all writing, thinking and considering how we can use this information. Then, similar to Christopher, we were served up a plate full of eye candy.

Harry Pierce of Pentagram was up third, but our first taste of an English accent. His design stories [Halfords, The Cooperative and Budgens] and emphasis on typography were appreciated by the design eyes in the room. His stories of pushing design to permeate a corporation were appreciated by those in the trenches [you know who you are].

The morning was a good balance of hardy statistics and flavorful eye candy. Nourishing but also good for the sweet tooth we all have for design. Looking forward to a midday with Carla from Daymon Worldwide, Koen from IPLC, Betsy from Michaels and Jeff from Sears.

Managing Principal

We used to understand there were two kinds of reasoning: deductive and inductive. Then we heard about a new type of reasoning: abductive – the ability to take incomplete information and proceed to the likeliest possible explanation (Einstein’s work, for example, was not only deductive and inductive but also abductive: creative conclusions about time and space that required leaps of imagination). All three types of reasoning can be used in a system called design thinking to solve knotty problems and meet new challenges. Monday afternoon at the Private Brand Movement sponsored by IIR USA we got a taste of the best of all types of thinking.

The business world is replete with deductive, analytical thinkers. But Rob Wallace of Wallace Church wonders if analytical thinking has turned innovation into iteration: easy, near-in, me-too types of line and brand extensions. So, in his excellent presentation, Design Thinking Driven Innovation, we got a taste of thinking differently. Through the application of design thinking, we can not only design products for the known unmet needs of consumers (e.g., Apple’s desktop computer, Dyson’s vacuum), we can also think differently to design products for consumers to meet needs they don’t even know they have (e.g., Apple’s iPhone, P&G’s Swiffer)!

The best design thinkers are the ones that can bridge the world of the creative at the front end of innovation with the world of analytical thinking at the commercialization end of value creation. Two such thinkers were on center-stage in the afternoon: Matt Rompala of Avery Dennison and Connie Walsh of Staples.

Matt provided several examples of how Avery Dennison used design thinking to enable product launches that had strong consumer appeal, unique package design and excellent supply chain cost savings (more examples can be seen at EnhanceYourBrand.com). Connie laid out great thinking in four areas (quality, value, sourcing, and innovation) and how Staples has driven innovation into previously inactive product categories to drive new value.

But Patrick Hanlon, CEO & Founder of Thinktopia and author of the book Primal Branding, opened us up to thinking beyond our own brands. Beginning by sharing examples of global change and social challenges, he also shared the principle of hyperdyatic spread – how it’s possible for you personally to influence your friend’s friend’s friend: three degrees of influence (when you share with one friend, you reach 100). Given this awesome power to influence, isn’t it possible to think beyond ourselves and our brands to address global issues to benefit real people with real needs? If so, Patrick’s presentation title, Something Wonderful is About to Happen, may be true.

Larry McManis, President & CEO
The Private Brand Conference started off with a pre-conference day [monday] that was anything but pre. It was a plentiful day.

Paco Underhill started us off in the pre-conference on Monday. It is hard to think of a better way to start the day than listening to a leading thinker in retail consumer behavior research. Most of the people in business use buzz words, Paco makes buzz words. If that doesn't help you consider how influential Paco is, read his book "Why We Buy" and you'll find yourself seeking out his next speaking event.

Kitty Hart with Paco Underhill

The rest of the day speakers passed the baton and kept the conversation going. From Mark Andeer talking about OfficeMax redefining what a private brand can accomplish to Patrick Hanlon talking about the changes we face today in a consumption driven society. More important, when we did have breaks, the conversations were wonderful. This happens when impressive thinkers get together to listen, learn, converse and connect.

The first day could not have been a better place for walking away knowing you are smarter, further connected and more fulfilled than you were one day previous. If you missed it find someone who was there and ask them what they learned.

Now that we've had a bountiful appetizer let's get to the main meal on Tuesday.

Enjoy your day.

Managing Principal
I have always been viscerally anti-status quo so change and innovation are of particular importance to me. And there is no doubt there's a lot of change when it comes to the increasing importance of private brands in the lives of consumers triggered by the "Black Swan" economic shift of the last few years.

With his usual dose of alacrity, Paco Underhill, notable author of Why We Buy and What Women Want and CEO of Envirosell, launched the Private Brand Movement conference sponsored by IIR USA. Laying out some key principles of packaging and selling in the 21st century (e.g., consider purchase frequency, emotional attachment, facilitate the sale, consider context, functionality first - pretty second), it became clear there is a significant change taking place in shopping requiring a marriage of consumer research and packaging design that hasn't been seen before.

And then Mark Andeer, VP Brand Strategy at OfficeMax showed how they have created and designed a private brand (check out these fashionable file folders), reached millions of consumers (are you one of the more than 400 million that have visited ElfYourself?) and grown their private brand business in a down economy. Not an insignificant accomplishment.

So, are Private Brands poised for a breakthrough with consumers? With the innovation we've seen so far, many people here would likely say 'yes'. Hmmm... I wonder. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Larry McManis, President & CEO
ThinkWay Strategies
Over the past several weeks leading up to the Private Brand Movement, we've been featuring a series of posts on the key principles of retail branding by Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner at Pearlfisher.

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 Wednesday September 21st at The Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago. To see Jonathan's past posts showing the complete principles of retail branding please click here.

Today as The Private Brand Movement kicks off, I have the pleasure of sharing a new episode of our Private Brand Pulse podcast series, wherein I conducted a phone interview with Jonathan about the Waitrose LOVE Life brand and the new design language for health and wellbeing.
Listen to the podcast here.

Don't miss Jonathan and Maggie Hodgetts of Waitrose this Wednesday, Sept 21st at the Private Brand Movement in Chicago. For live coverage of the event, click here.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

Event Date: April 18-20, 2012

Location: JW Marriott, Chicago, IL

Submit a proposal to speak at the top industry event for brand strategists and designers.

The deadline has been extended to Wednesday, September 21st, 2011.

Your Opportunity

Production has begun for FUSE 2012. A top destination for designers, brand strategists and trend hunters, FUSE reveals extraordinary ideas about design, culture, branding and packaging. The FUSE experience will empower you to connect more meaningfully with your consumer through design and brand strategy.

Be informed. Be inspired. Build camaraderie.

We are actively recruiting speakers to bring FUSE to life in 2012. The submission deadline is Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis so early submission is encouraged.

Added Bonus: All speakers will receive complimentary admission to the entire event (a $3,000+ value).

The Crowd: Each year, hundreds of leaders converge at FUSE to advance their brands, businesses and careers...and to get inspired by our speakers' stories. Attendees have a diverse set of expertise - graphic design, marketing strategy, brand management, package design, art direction, structural design, consumer insights, trend forecasting and design research. Industries represented include consumer packaged goods, retail, industrial manufacturing, technology, financial services and health care among others.

Presentation Options - These content areas will be addressed at FUSE 2012

Design & Creative

Brand Marketing & Strategy

Trends & Insights

Global Design & Branding

Social Media


Packaging Research

New for 2012:

Industrial Design

Digital Design

Please do not feel limited by the list above. We are also happy to consider topics not listed here that you feel would add value and be appropriate.

Formats include

Standard presentation (30 - 45 minutes long)

Interactive ideation and brainstorming sessions to engage the audience in discussion (30 - 45 minutes long)

Panel with 3 - 4 people debating/discussing a particular topic (30 - 45 minutes long)

Speaker Benefits

Why do speakers want to be a part of FUSE? To:

Advance the purpose and value of using design to tell a brand's story

Position their company as one that values brand identity and design

Reinforce their own position as a leader

Share results of an exciting project

Network with other industry leaders and participate in high-level discussions

Submission Guidelines & Deadline

For consideration, please email Krista Vazquez at kvazquez@iirusa.com with the following information by Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)

Contact information including address, phone and e-mail

Title of presentation

Brief overview of the presentation (1 short paragraph plus 2 bullets that illustrate audience takeaways): Please note: if your proposal is selected, portions of this description will be printed in the brochure and used online to promote your participation

Brief speaker biography

Special Notice to Vendors, Consultants & Solution Providers

Whether you are looking to build awareness, generate new business or strengthen existing relationships- a presence at FUSE will help you achieve your goals. Be at the right place at the right time. A limited number of sessions on the program are reserved for our event sponsors. Solution providers who wish to become part of the program should contact Sarene Yablonsky at at 646-895-7474 or syablonsky@iirusa.com.

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in FUSE. Check back for updates on the program at www.iirusa.com/fuse.

All the best,

The FUSE Event Team

Follow Us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NextBigDesign

Become a fan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FUSEBrandingDesignCulture

I went to a small grade school in rural Nebraska (there were 7 in my class) and I can remember vividly the day whispers started to circulate with unusual excitement. It was the day a classmate came back into our combined seventh and eighth grade class one sunny mid-afternoon with the news that most kids only dream of: a Hostess truck had hit some loose gravel and tipped over into the ditch outside of town spilling everything into the grass. When the bell rang, my buddy Bob and I were the first to the site. Expecting to find only remnants, we instead found lots of intact packages of Twinkies and cupcakes left behind. Easy pickin’s and FREE! What more could a kid want? I became an instant fan of Twinkies. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to actually buy them so I was always waiting for another truck to tip over.

The definition of customer value can be put into an equation: Customer Value = (Quality Product + Other Benefits)/(Price + Other Costs). A huge cache of Twinkies only cost me a quick sprint down the street (i.e., low cost to me). The Twinkie Spill of ‘67 delivered very high “Customer Value”.

The Twinkie Spill teaches three lessons about value:
  1. Customers not only talk about high value products, they come running to find them (check out Black Friday after Thanksgiving). The “Twinkie Spill Strategy” works. Most social media companies got their start using this strategy (somewhat unintentionally… they couldn’t figure out how to monetize their offering) and built a huge customer base.
  2. Value can be managed by changing the numerator or denominator in the equation. The value equation operates very simply. Better products and benefits at the same price equals better customer value. Same products and benefits at lower price equals better customer value… you get the point.
  3. If customers don’t want to pay the price, they’ll wait for the next truck to tip over. This is a real problem since successful business models require you to create economic value too. There are products out there that are sold on price promotion almost all the time. In most cases, it’s a way to buy revenue, manage price elasticities or hold share in an over commoditized marketplace. In too many product categories, selling has become promotion-dependent. Customers have learned to wait for the Twinkie Spill Strategy.
A tension always exists in business models between the need to increase customer value (usually by improving quality, adding benefits or reducing price) and the need to increase economic value (usually by pricing up or cutting costs). Companies need strategic focus, innovation, and thoughtful design when it comes to business models in order to manage this tension. Otherwise, they will likely squander the margin between customer and economic value. Of course, if economic value isn’t important you can always create your own Twinkie spill. That was the best day of 7th grade by far.

Larry McManis, President & CEO
ThinkWay Strategies

(Want to learn more about creating consumer value? Check out this year’s Private Brand MovementSeptember 19-21 in Chicago sponsored by IIR USA. Private Brands are mastering the value equation with consumers).
From our inception, Capsule has been seeking a definition of good design. You may even say we've been a bit obsessed.


If we can define what good design is, we may be able to more readily identify bad design. It means saying one thing is good and one bad, and be able to provide evidence. But, much of our community sees shades of grey and therefore most are unable or unwilling to say "that's bad design."

Yet, there are good signs on the importance of good design:

One: We've seen design institutions in the UK use a stock portfolio approach to show the value of design driven companies.

Two: We've seen companies like P&G, Target, Apple and Philips proclaim the importance of design and even incorporate it into their strategic platform.

Good design is valuable, but we are yet unwilling to call out bad design.

Why does Capsule care?

We spend a fair amount of our waking hours coaxing people see the value of design. Directly translated: how much design is worth to your business. Some say this is moving design closer to a profession, which is an amusing phobia because much of the product and graphic design world came from the profession of architectural design. In contrast, we see this move as a great method to distinguish between someone using the word "design" and someone having permission to practice in the field of design. Directly translated: removing the unprofessional behaviors we all know exist.

Why should you care?

When parity is achieved, design is where a brand can take a leadership position. We've seen the rise of "design thinking" to strategy conversations and hopefully it will be a leadership position in many companies. Directly translated: authentic design leads a category and create value by engendering loyalty with your customers.

What can you do?

We propose three simple things you can do.

One: seek out design partners who believe in the profession of design and the economic and social importance in our world.

Two: speak up for good design and call out what you believe to be bad design when it happens. Our industry is (unprofessional) not as likely or maybe unable to see the forest from the trees.

Three: vote Jank or Swank. Yes, you read it right. Vote "swank" for good design and vote "jank" for bad design. We have been speaking on this topic for years. We have found it removes the intellectual challenges and makes it easier to just vote with your gut.

VOTE HERE, vote often.

Look to the right when you reach the blog.

More detailed definition.

Jank [def]: broken, superfluous, or meaningless; stupid or ridiculously moronic; bootleg or of questionable quality.

Swank [def]: combine swagger and lank; extremely tall and extremely long limbs compared to your torso while still having great style and confidence; very classy, tasteful; extremely cool; dope.


Managing Principal

Today we are posting Jonathan Ford's last retail branding principle, principle 6, Cohesion.

Jonathan is Creative Partner at Pearlfisher and will be presenting "'Design for Life' - Creating a New Design Language for Health and Wellbeing in the Retail Sector" alongside Maggie Hodgetts of Waitrose next Wednesday September 21st at The Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago. To learn more about the event, click here. To see Jonathan's past posts showing the complete principles of retail branding please click here.

Principle 6 - COHESION
It’s important to create a distinct family feel with a shared aesthetic and clear architecture, which spells out how the categories, tiers and sub-brands should all sit together. Having a defined structure in place should then pave the way for greater individual expression in other areas of the brand experience. This can be achieved by finding an ownable visual language that is undeniably yours. This must resonate at all touch points – no man is an island just as no piece of packaging is ever viewed in isolation.

At Fortnum & Mason in London, consumer choices are based on preference over value, so brand quality must be carefully communicated and preserved across all tiers. We created a blueprint for a visual language strong enough to cross categories and seduce consumers into buying the whole offer, from jams and teas to their limited edition tercentenary range.

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 J. Duncan Berry, Neuromarketer and Principal of Applied Iconology, Inc. Berry is a "visual equity analyst." His work centers on re-animating a brand's sensory equities in order to expand emotional connections with consumers/customers.

For many years managing director of a high-end, private label import company, Berry has extensive experience with global enterprise process management, marketing, systems design and quality control. He also maintains an international reputation as an art and architectural historian, publishing and lecturing at universities and academic symposia in the United States and Europe.

Berry was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna (Austria), an IREX Scholar at the Technical University of Dresden (Germany), a Fellow of the Institute of International Studies, and University Fellow at Brown University where he received both his Ph. D. and A. M. degrees in the History of Art and Architecture. He received his undergraduate degree (with honors) from The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH).

Duncan will be presenting "Retailers Gets a Boost from Science: How Neuromarketing Translates from Going Deep to GROWING Your Business."

Private brands can rarely marshal the funds necessary to compete with the big global players in insight research, design strategy and related analytics—but this doesn’t mean they should just mimic category leaders. In fact, retailers need to begin to master the principles of the new generation of consumer insight work, including neuromarketing and related methods of grasping WHY consumers purchase what they do. Unless you know what motivates category growth, your demographics and segmentation will not get you very far.

Dr. J. Duncan Berry will take you on 45 minute tour of the emerging field of neuromarketing research and the methods used to make these findings actionable. Berry will offer examples of the new strategic and tactical thinking that you can use immediately to go deeper and better understand what moves your market.

In our interview, Duncan discussed the evolving field of Neuromarketing and the ways that Private Brands can leverage it as an element of their "research tool kit." To listen to our podcast with him, click here.

Looking to learn more? Join us on September 19th at The Private Brand Movement! Register today.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.
Have you had one of those moments recently where you say, "funny" [in an uplifting tone] then "sad" [in a descending tone]? You can almost hear it, "funny, sad." Here are a few of mine, to amuse.

Had a lawyer describe a competitive lawyer as being "really good at marketing his practice," as if it was a bad thing. The recipient of this comment has a popular intellectual property blog called "Duets, Creativity and the Law," and dare I say he even tweets a bit.

Funny, sad.

We've have presentations with clients where they say, we don't want to have to talk about our name with people. We want our name to describe exactly what we do. Really? You don't want to be social or have a good story to tell about your name?

Funny, sad.

Had a guy come up to me at a party earlier this year and ask me, "what is this whole Facebook thing?" This would be similar to saying, what is this whole interwebs thing? He is a financial advisor, not mine.

Funny, sad.

We all know social networking isn't a new thing. Since we were in caves we socialized, we now just happen to be in an age where we can socialize around the world from our couch. We are social animals and we build social things, which leads to the question, "do you socialize your brand?"

If you're attending The Private Brand Movement conference, then you're likely to be a bit social. Take this event as a chance to connect with others because you never know, this whole "socializing" thing might actually become something. If it does, it would be good to have others consider you "connected." So, here are three things you can do at the Private Brand Movement conference next week.

One: Set a number.

Find new people to connect with, no matter the title, (more than two). Then, be receptive to conversations. People will approach you if you're approachable.

Two: Have personal conversations.

Don't just talk business, that's only one level of any conversation. Get to know people with an authentic interest in who they are and what's important to them.

Three: Be curious.

The more times you put on your curious hat, the more you learn in general and certainly about people. Without curiosity we would be lost. It is a fun hat to wear and certainly appropriate for this conference.

Managing Principal


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