Private Brand, “It’s a Brand”

ameyersConvenience Store/Petroleum magazine recently hosted its CSP’s 2009 Consumer Insights Forum in Phoenix. The conference featured a series of presentations including one from Al Meyers, senior vice president of business development for Retail Forward, Columbus, Ohio. Addressing the group of about 75 retailers and suppliers, he said that consumers post-recession will still be making “mindful” choices, opting to remain frugal in ways they find meaningful.

In his concluding statements, Meyers focused on the boom of private brands, which mega-retailers, such as Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, and c-store giant 7-Eleven, Dallas, have embraced. He said companies are wisely choosing not to focus on private “label,” which had the stigma of being a second-rate product, but private “brand.” He said companies are investing in store brands, improving taste profiles and giving personality to their brand identities.

“It’s not just a label slapped onto a product with cheap ingredients,” Meyers said. “It’s a brand.”

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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.