In this article from AdAge published today, Monday, September 7, the magazine takes a look at the recent changes in Walmart’s Private Brand Great Value. Although much of the article has been written in one format or another over the last few months, the article includes a few interesting thoughts from the Adage writer, Jack Neff.
“Great Value isn’t trying to pass itself off as a clone of the brands it competes against; that bland whiteness aims to set the brand apart with a distinct look and identity.”
“Walmart, more often a creative follower of its retail competitors, has been a leader this time. A revamp of Target’s entry-level store brand as Up & Up is hitting shelves a few months behind the new Great Value, and bears a remarkably similar plain-white resemblance.”
White packaging is nothing new and I would instead argue that both Walmart and Target are on the down slope of this trend. With European retailers like Tesco starting the trend and Florida grocer Publix perfecting the elegant simplicity of white-based packaging; Walmart’s attempt is ten years in coming. It may turn out to be the “jumping the shark” moment of white packaging systems for Private Brand. The more recent introduction by French retailer Carrefour of a remarkably similar design could be the death knoll of the white based Private Brand designs. If not the English retailer Budgens, Good Value line certainly should be.
Long term the larger impact to Private Brand Strategy comes from the first quote from the AdAge article: “Great Value isn’t trying to pass itself off as a clone of the brands it competes against.” A unified design system that differentiates Private Brands from their National Brand shelf mates is a significant long-term strategic shift. It signals a changing mindset for retailers, although “me too” Private Brands will continue to exist the need too innovate and differentiate becomes more critical everyday for retailers struggling to give shoppers a reason to chose them over their remarkably similar competitors.
I look to Publix, whose white-based packaging should be due for a redesign soon, for the next evolution in Private Brand package design. Their marketing and design team should be up to the task.
Why Walmart’s Great Value Changes the Game
Retailer Revamps Store Brand to Make It Stand Out From Competitors
The recessions of the 1980s gave us black-and-white generics; this one has given us Great Value.
While Walmart’s redesigned, repackaged and reformulated store megabrand has drawn some unflattering comparisons to those generic brands, to write it off as similar not only misses the point but underestimates its potential impact. The new Great Value is a game changer, not simply because of its size — the brand is estimated to be larger than $10 billion — but because its novel approach to store-brand packaging and merchandising. Great Value isn’t trying to pass itself off as a clone of the brands it competes against; that bland whiteness aims to set the brand apart with a distinct look and identity.