Private Label Impact, You Missed It!

CDURHAM - final2

The Private Label Impact Conference in Chicago has come and gone and the second day was just as exciting as the first. Yours truly started the morning off with a provocatively titled presentation, “Private Brand: Friend of Foe?” The crowd responded well with a bit of laughter, great questions and one audible gasp.

Diane Tielbur, Senior Director at Kraft, followed with “This Economic Cloud Has a Silver Lining,” an in depth look at Kraft’s consumer insights. The resources available to this level of CPG never cease to amaze me and this presentation was no exception, they truly dive in deep.

After a networking break, fellow blogger Blair McCaw of License to Brand presented, “Next Generation Private Label: Licensing for Retail Executive Brands.” He presented some interesting thoughts on the use of licensed brands in a Private Brand portfolio.

Next up was Matt Walker the Director of Marketing for Cliffstar (juices and functional drinks). His presentation on “Private Label Consumer Behavior” was significantly more than the vanilla title would imply. He went so far as to say we (private brand manufacturers) are better than national brands. Bravo, Matt, I appreciate the confidence and pride in your products and company, and firmly believe more of our colleagues in the Private Brand world could use of dose of pride.

After lunch came a panel discussion moderated by Dean Lustig, VP, Philadelphia Macaroni. The panel included the newly appointed Director of Private Label for Walgreens, Arthur Reingold; Scott Landany, President of Red Hot Chicago (premium Chicago style hotdogs); John Lazowski, Director of Marketing, ACH Food Companies (national brand and Private Brand spices and gravy mixes) and Manny Valdes, President and CEO of Frontera Foods. Frontera the authentic Mexican brand started by now celebrity chef Rick Bayless whose PBS show, “Mexico One Plate at a Time” has mesmerized both myself and my five-year-old daughter. Four of the five panelist where Kraft alums, so the combination of experiences made for a lively conversation.

The day was concluded by Nancy Coulter-Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Delicious Living Magazine and her presentation “Innovation in Natural Products to Increase Customer Loyalty.” Unfortunately I had to leave to catch a flight; however, I am told it was excellent.

In closing I would like to thank both Amy Kritzer and Amanda Powers of IIR. They produced the show and working with them was an excellent experience. Look for more to come and perhaps another conference next summer. See you there.



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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.