Private Brand Impact Conference – Day One

The first day of the Private Label Impact Conference has come and gone, and I am happy to say it has been a rousing success. A attentive crowd of decision makers from OfficeMax, Supervalu, A&P, Daymon Worldwide, Cott Beverage, Kraft, Pepsi, Interbrand, Coleman Brand Works, T. Marzetti, United, Cliffstar and the Hartman Group just to name a few. The morning started out with a fascinating presentation from Michelle Barry, Senior Vice President of The Hartman Group. Her presentation entitled Private Label: Redefining the Meaning of Brand was a intriguing look at the research and insights the Hartman Group is bringing to Private Brands. Her assertion that “There is no value customer” caused a palpable gasp in the audience.

viaromaThis was followed by a joint presentation from Doug Palmer, Vice President Own Brands, A&P and Perry Seelert, Partner, united* on the “Changing Face of Retail” The presentation included case studies for the new A&P Private Brands, Via Roma, Hartford Reserve and Greenway. Doug was refreshingly honest with the history of A&P and its well-reported ups and downs. Going so far as to say that part of the impetus for these new and innovative Private Brands came from those challenges.

“Sometimes you think about things differently when you (A&P) are near death”

tul“Retailer Driven Innovation and Branding” was next on the roster with Mike Kitz, Vice President, OfficeMax Brands presenting the evolution of the OfficeMax retail brand as well as case studies on the product innovation and brand development of the writing instrument brand T­ul brand, the organization brand In Place and Infuse the brand developed for fashionable white boards.

The afternoon included presentations from Yasmin Saddiqi of Dupont, “How good Packaging Will Strengthen Your Brand; Trudi-Ann Webster of Cott Beverage, Brand, Price and Packaging Architecture: The Right Mix for Your Customer and a extensive presentation from Thomas Ewing of T Marzetti, Director, National Accounts, Private Label & International, who spoke on, “How Branded and Private Label Can Work Together To Achieve Category Goals.”

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation from Patrick McCarthy, Senior Director of Strategy and Marketing for Daymon Worldwide. Patrick presented, “The Retailer Private Brand Strategy: What Are they Doing, Why Are they Doing IT and How Your Brand Will Be Impacted.” Patrick called on his experience with HEB, SuperValu and Daymon to address the concerns of both Private Brand and National Brand listeners in the audience. He sounded my now familiar refrain of Private Brand instead of Private Label and told the crowd that best in class retailers where placing Private Brand as a strategic pillar in their enterprise strategies. Exciting, challenging and correct.

The day ended with networking drinks and a great Chicago deep dish pizza at Geno’s East.



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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.