Portfolio Reinvention Leads Innovation at Duane Reade

I have written a number of posts about the Private Brand work being done in NYC by Duane Reade and their agency partner CBX, the following is the official press release with a number of nice quotes from the pro’s at Duane Reade. Look for a future post tat details the HBC brand DR.

The New York marketplace breeds it own type of shoppers. And retailer Duane Reade knows exactly who they are, what they need, and how they like to shop. With more than 250 locations in New York and its surrounding boroughs, and a dominant market share, Duane Reade sought to further develop its position and product offering specifically for this shopper and wrapped in a New York iconic style.

CBX, a strategic branding company, was charged with developing the Private Brand expression of Duane Reade’s new brand strategy. According to Todd Maute, Managing Partner, CBX, “Our mission was to broaden Duane Reade’s Private Brand product appeal, enhancing its position as the preferred store for New Yorkers and further bringing to life the brand’s new positioning ‘New York Living Made Easy.’”

“We brought in a New York agency that is expert with Private Brand image and packaging design, and understands the quintessential New York shopper. CBX helped us communicate and connect with New Yorkers through a unique product voice,” says Joe Magnacca, Chief Merchandising Officer, Duane Reade, Inc.

To build upon Duane Reade’s new image, CBX collaborated with the retailer on multiple fronts to help strengthen their relationship with customers.  First CBX provided input into Duane Reade’s Private Brand architecture, and designed its Private Brand imagery and packaging systems.  Then they helped revamp the loyalty card brand image and collateral material.  To further establish direct communication with Duane Reade’s customer, CBX designed an edgy New York publication called the Duane Reader to help market and support all of their branding and product development efforts.

The Private Brand portfolio was completely revamped along with the product mix to draw consumers into the store as well as enhance their ‘uniquely New York’ and value messages. Multiple brands across 2,000 SKUs were developed.  Here are the brands:

DR Delish: is a new line of premium foods that stand out on shelf with black and white packaging and feature fun and edgy New York-themed photography and proprietary artwork of New York City landmarks. Items in the line include Spectacular Chocolate Chip Cookies with a theatrical spotlight shining on appetizing product shots. Deluxe whole cashew cans whimsically position the cashews on bar stools and park benches, and Fire Fighter’s Joe coffee packages include a backdrop of New York skyscrapers.

Apt. 5, was repositioned as a household products brand with an apartment living slant.  Products in bright, colorful packages pop from the shelf and include toilet paper with an image of an empty roll on a tiled bathroom wall in a typical New York City apartment. A green version, designed to take their rightful place alongside  other credible “green” brands, includes cleaning products featuring bright green labels and interior photography of bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms from pre-war New York apartments.

DR is a line of HBC products that were formerly found under the Duane Reade label. Bright bands of color delineate the line of products on white, apothecary-style packaging compositions.

In addition, a value line of products was developed to provide the Duane Reade customer with extreme value in key categories.  Products include high-value items such as bottled water, paper towels and nuts with iconic, UPC-style illustrations of New York landmarks (i.e. The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge).

Products from these lines began rolling out in October 2009.

The first issue of The Duane Reader, a twice-yearly store-branded publication, debuted in November 2009 and was distributed in The New York Times and The Daily News, and handed out throughout the city. Crammed with products, historical info and informative tips connected with city living, it has a distinctive, edgy New York tone and reflects the brand’s complete transformation.

The new loyalty card was named, Duane Reade Flex Rewards, to signal change from its old program to a more flexible and easy system. The card’s design leverages the popular and iconic Duane Reade “urban luggage” shopping bag and boxes spelling out the word “rewards” floating into the shopping bag to add an element of freedom and reward.  An 80-page Beauty Book was also developed as a tool to educate consumers about Duane Reade as a destination for prestige and everyday beauty needs.

“Duane Reade’s remarkable transformation has been guided by several clear and actionable points of strategy” says Joe Jackman, Acting Chief Marketing Officer, Duane Reade, Inc. “Easy, rewarding, and uniquely New York. These same words could as accurately describe our partnership with CBX.”

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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.