Innovation, Differentiation & Private Brand

This article from the current edition of Private Label Buyer takes a look at innovation and Private Brand. As we emerge from the current economic malaise there is little doubt in my mind that innovation and the ability of retailers to differentiate their Private Brands will be key factors in continued growth and loyal customers.

PLB-09.09COVERPrivate Label’s Unsung Heroes

Behind-the-scenes experts ranging from business consultants to packaging design firms are helping retailers innovate — and shine — in today’s competitive store brand environment.

In this brave new world of private label — a world in which “me-too” items increasingly are giving way to unique offerings — the word “innovative” often is used to describe a particularly compelling store brand product. But much of today’s private label innovation actually is taking place outside the traditional product development and procurement realms.

Forget the old proverb that claims, “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” The reality is that private label’s ongoing metamorphosis from copycat to trendsetter is demanding a skill set beyond the capabilities of most retailers. That’s why more retailers are turning to private label’s unsung heroes — an army of experts ranging from business consultants and market researchers to packaging design gurus and software and technology providers — to get the innovation weapons they need to win in today’s competitive store brand environment.

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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.