PLMA Kicks Off With a Bang!

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The PLMA Trade Show floor opened this morning with a crowd of more than 4500 retailers, brokers other related Private Brand attendees. The activities actually began Sunday afternoon with a keynote address from Wes Bray, of Retail Optimization Inc. Wes introduced his company’s software designed to optimize product selection and facing across the store.  This year’s show includes a series of educational seminars on a variety of Private Brand related subjects including:

Following Wes’s presentation there were two sets of five presentations to chose from arranged in broad categories that included: market research, marketing, package & design and testing & certification. Suffice it to say barring cloning I was only able to attend two of these.

DSCN0299The Marketing session presented by John Wilkins, VP of Retail Strategy at Miller Zell his presentation was titled, “ Activating Store Environments to Sell the Retail Brands” John’s basic premise was that retailers are missing a huge opportunity when they do not take advantage of their stores to promote their brands. John presented a series of videos from focus groups as well as a case study about a test conducted at the southern grocer Bi-Lo.  I have written about in store opportunities many times so it was nice to see my thoughts validated by some pretty compelling consumer insights and a interesting retail test.

The second session I attended was in the package & design track and featured Perry Seelert from united* DSN, Perry’s presentation was titled, “Re-defining Retail: How image, structure & language are driving proprietary brands.” Perry presented several case studies on the work his agency has done with A&P. I have written about Via Roma, Hartford Reserve and Greenway before and once again this is nice work. Perry has the ability to turn a great phrase so here are a few of his words of wisdom:

Perry Seelert United DSN“Any idiot could sell Private Brand right now.”

“The (Private Brand) trend is so powerful that it creates a false sense of confidence, when the trend is not our friend the retailers who created true brands will survive.”

“Where can we embrace humor in Private Brand.”

Tomorrow is the last day of the show however you will continue to see notes and posts that are a result of the show, Look for the highlights of Innovation Hall, the Idea Supermarket, a collection of cool products, some potentially interesting strategic moves by major retailers and more on the seminars and speakers.



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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.