Leading up to the annual Vertex Awards International Private Brand Design Competition, Christopher Durham of My Private Brand spends time with each of the judges and asks them five questions about the state of Private Brands. Below is a recap of his conversation with MBD's President, Maria Dubuc.


1. How will the growth of online shopping and home delivery change private brand?

Online shopping and home delivery means that the focus is no longer simply on “what stands out on shelf” but about the brand experience as a whole. How efficiently is the package delivered? What does the box look like when it arrives? What feeling does the package evoke when you hold it for the first time?

And, as Loe Limpens wrote, in 10 yrs much of grocery will be purchased online. So yes, how consumers shop is changing and actually providing more opportunity for continued growth in own brands. What consumers want are options. The lines continue to blur, and frankly most consumers do not care who owns a brand.

2. The traditional tiered private label portfolio (good, better, best or basic, NBE, premium) has dominated retailers’ strategy for the last thirty years, will this continue? If not, what strategies will shape the new portfolios?

Tiers may be important to merchants and retailers, but they’re irrelevant to shoppers. Consumers care about price and quality, but do they really need a product in every price point? As an industry, it’s time to forget the old rules and simply develop great brands and products that resonate with consumers.

3. What design trends do you see impacting private brand today?

We believe it’s a combination of 2 things. 1. Radical transparency. Consumers want to believe in a brand, so private brands need to deliver by providing quality backed by honesty. 2. Creative freedom. Consumers won’t stand for mediocre or boring, nor will they purchase brands that say one thing but deliver something else. If we get both those things right everybody wins!

4. What retailer do you think is setting the standard for private brand design?

Being that it’s Christmas time when you ask this, I have to give a shout out to Target and their Wondershop experience. This year Target breathed new life into this category with the updated brand design, experiential photography style, and updated “destination” shopping. Another retailer I find very interesting is Canadian Tire, which sells much more than tires. Their YARDWORKS rebrand is very powerful, and they’ve managed to build great brands that can crossover from seasonal to permanent, such as CANVAS and forLIVING. Both have stopped thinking about their brands as “private” and are treating them like what they are – strong brands that delight customers.

5. The Vertex Awards celebrates its sixth edition this year when you look back on the winners, what should we have learned?

There’s a plethora of amazing own brand packaging in the world and retailers that continue to innovate (and win). The Vertex platform allows us to experience and learn from these brands without traveling the globe. What should we have learned? To open our eyes, listen to the consumers, keep on our toes.

To learn more, check out the MyPrivateBrand blog.