Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Is Private Brand for You?

In what is certainly an interesting turn of events a couple of great Private Brand jobs have been posted over the last week. Two for significant drugstores, Walgreen’s and CVS and one for the convenience store chain Mapco.  Perhaps the most intriguing thing to come out of these job postings is the glimpse into the minds of senior staff and hiring managers at each of the retailers. CPG experience is almost non existent as a qualification and is instead replaced by Private Brand, Marketing and Retail experience.

The buzz words of large retail organizations are littered throughout the postings:

  • partner with…
  • matrix-type organization
  • ability to influence

Typically these are the words used to describe jobs with more influence than power, and best describe long established and successful c0rporate cultures that are built around merchants/buyers. As branding and Private Brands come into their own with retail it will be exciting to witness the evolution of that corporate culture.

These roles are clearly not the Brand Management demigods of traditional CPG’s, they are not endowed with the ultimate power to run a single brand but are instead  marketers, innovators, merchants and strategists tasked with developing an entire portfolio of brands.

SO what then is Brand Management for a Private Brand?

So what is a Private Brand Manager?

Director, Private Brand – Walgreens
Deerfield, Illinois.

Responsible for the creation and execution of both long term and short term Private Brand strategies, this person must demonstrate a strong sense of leadership as he/she works across divisional lines to set corporate standards on the Walgreens Private Brand proposition creating an end-to-end execution plan. This person will be responsible for leading the innovation of new items as well as lead the strategy on store placement and merchandising. In addition, this person will be responsible for tracking Private Brand results by category, analyzing those results, monitoring key competitive, consumer, and corporate performance indices and communicating any issues or opportunities to the appropriate party. Other responsibilities include:

  • Partner with members of the Merchandising organization to identify, develop, and launch Private Brands products
  • Conduct quantitative and statistical analytics to identify Private Branding initiatives across categories
  • Identify innovative Private Brand solutions for key categories
  • Negotiate and implement international supplier partnerships and vendor management programs
  • Manage and resolve logistics and supply chain issues.
  • Travel requirement approximately 30%


  • BS/BA required, preferably in Marketing, Retail, Global Sourcing, Supply Chain, or Operations Management
  • Knowledge of advanced financial modeling, advanced marketing, and strong analytical skills required
  • Knowledge and extensive Private Label experience with a strong understanding and experience in innovation, sourcing and merchandising across several different product categories required
  • Proven success in establishing Private Brand standards, and growing Private Brand profitably through innovation, marketing and store execution.
  • Previous experience working in a matrix-type organization
  • Ability to think strategically and collaborate with others effectively across divisional lines
  • Strong leadership, problem solving, presentation and communication skills required
  • Ability to influence all levels of the organization
  • Skilled in Microsoft office Suite, and experience utilizing retail data such as Nielsen, IRI.

Director of Private Label – MAPCO Express Inc.
Brentwood, Tennessee

MapcoJob Purpose
Mapco is seeking a Private Label Director who will report to the VP Marketing. The successful candidate will have overall accountability for Mapco’s Private Label sales and will be in a key position to develop a premier Private Label program including product selection and development, vendor relations, and executing sales and marketing strategies. The Private Label Director will work in conjunction with the company’s category managers who are in charge of the ongoing sales purchasing activities.

This role requires a bright and experienced leader; a creative merchandiser with strong commercial capabilities, a self starter with vision and the ability to turn it in to reality.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Develop and maintain an aggressive Private Label strategy for all Mapco c-stores
  • Identify innovation opportunities that differentiate us from our competitors
  • Benchmark SKU opportunities that are successful in other channels (grocery, drug, etc.)
  • Partner with non-competitive companies to create purchasing economies of scale
  • Determine product assortment
  • Partner with Director of Planning and Allocation to determine Private Label budgets, sales targets and markdown strategies
  • Partner with Director of Merchandising on product roll-outs and promotional packages to increase customer awareness of private label product
  • Work closely with category managers on ongoing sales and marketing plan execution
  • Work closely with company executives to ensure Private Label program receives appropriate attention and focus
  • Lead commercial negotiations with vendors
  • Ensure the profitability of Mapco’s Private Label program

A successful candidate will:
Short term (by the end of 2009)

  1. Develop an overall Private Label strategy
  2. Develop a comprehensive road map for above strategy execution
  3. Identify key vendors and develop distribution channels

Long term

  1. Achieve above industry Private Label sales and GP
  2. Mapco will have unique Private Label products that will turn its stores into destination.
  3. High customer loyalty and brand awareness

Candidate Profile
The ideal candidate for this position is an accomplished marketing professional with 5-7 years experience in either wholesale manufacturing of multi-category Private Label or retail development of Private Label within grocery, mass or drug channels. Key expertise should be in Private label product selection and sourcing, product quality, merchandising, product development and commercials. Bachelor’s degree in management / marketing is required, and advanced degree is preferred.

Director, Portfolio Strategy Private Label – CVS
Woonsocket, RI

CVSPosition Description:

  • 1-3-5 Year Business Plan
  • Partner with Portfolio Activation Director in building business plans for portfolio of brands, working in conjunction with corporate objectives and initiatives
  • Establish marketing goals to ensure share of market and profitability of all brands
  • Portfolio Development and Management
  • Proactively manage the portfolio strategy against the portfolio charter to maintain a strategically sound portfolio of store brands
  • Develop the portfolio vision and strategy for current and future portfolio growth
  • Govern the execution of the portfolio charter and the execution of store brands brand guidelines for all brand building activities (Corporate Advertising, Category, Product management and design)
  • Lead all “white space opportunities” for Store Brand portfolio growth and new brand rationalization
  • Develop and manage the lifecycle of the store brands within the portfolio
  • Proactively (working with Brand Activation Director, Category Management & Product Management) manage the development of brand through brand extension into new categories, items, and product lines
  • Partner with Portfolio Activation Director to manage sales and forecasting
  • Partner with Portfolio Activation Director to make adjustments to P&L forecasts as needed
  • Partner with Portfolio Activation Director on planogram management and relevant IRI data review
  • Partner with Portfolio Activation Director to communicate to the organization how the opportunities are in line with corporate objectives and initiatives

Portfolio Marketing Plans

  • Responsible for the development and management of the portfolio marketing budget (non-trade spends) for the brand budgets. (Store Brands DMM and VP will approve plan and make adjustments as needed)
  • Manage the development and execution of marketing plans to ensure the profit growth and expansion of Store Brands
  • Govern the portfolio’s advertising and promotion activities including circular, print media, electronic, and in-store
  • Manage the evaluation of market reactions to advertising programs, merchandising strategies, and product packaging and formulation to ensure the timely adjustment of marketing strategy and plans to meet changing market and competitive conditions.

Portfolio/Brands Research

  • Lead market research to identify consumer insights, need states and to uncover portfolio opportunities through new brand, brand, and product extensions
  • Oversee brand and product positioning research to ensure fit with portfolio strategy
  • Lead brand metrics efforts to monitor portfolio equities
  • Oversee the utilization of consumer insights to stay on trend with portfolio and brand(s) development

Public Relations Management

  • Oversee Store Brands partnership with Public Relations team to initiate product features in multiple media venues/publications to create awareness and trial
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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.