The Private Brand Movement Conference Begins

Connie Walsh

The first 2011 Packaging Trends and Innovation Summit of the Private Brand Movement Conference continued this afternoon with presentations from Mark Andeer the Vice President of Brand Strategy for OfficeMax who presented, “The Evolution of Design and Brands.” Who was followed by Rob Wallace of the New York City based branding and design agency Wallace Church who presented a thought-provoking look at his principles of Design Thinking and its potential for Private Brands.

Matt Rompola the Business Development Manager for Private Brand Label and Packaging Materials with Avery Dennison then presented his thoughts on the use of label and packaging materials to enhance brands.

Matt was followed by Connie Wash, Director of Marketing & Packaging who delivered, “Driving Private Brand Through Product Innovation.” She discussed innovation and Private Brands at the nations arrest office supply retailer and their goal of using “own brands” to provide a differentiated product for their overarching retail brand promise “easy.”

She presented the 4 Pillars of the Staples Private Brand Strategy: Quality, Value, Low Cost Procurement, and with a focus on Innovation including case studies on differentiating through innovation on shredders and binders.

Her Key Takeaways included:

  • Quality is First
  • Product Innovation is key
  • Leverage your access to customers
    • Online reviews
    • Store intercepts
    • Best customer panels
    • Testing Panels
    • Partner with corporate marketing
    • Tap into the power of your associates; Make them believers in your brand.

Patrick Hanlon the author of Primal Branding and CEO + Founder of Thinktopia closed the day with a keynote playfully titled, “Something Wonderful is about to Happen.”

Patrick walked the crowd through several chapters of his upcoming book, “Something Wonderful is about to Happen.” The book is a public sourced project that encourages open information and dialogue about the changes and rethinking happening right now in the US and globally.

Some of the changes he detailed include:

  1. How many planets are there?
  2. Retirement used to be the “golden years”
  3. The United States once had the best education system in the world.
  4. Poverty used to be for other people. Today 1 out 6 children live in poverty
  5. We used to think that the nuclear family was the foundation of American society.
  6. The weather used to be our friend
  7. We used to think of the United States with a white majority – forever
  8. Food used to be good for us.
  9. We used to think of the earths resources as a never-ending resource.

The important thing about the impact of this change is our personal ability to impact change, to make a difference.

He closed with: “Where charity and love exists so does peace.”



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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.