Own Label Meets Private Brand in London

My wife and I returned to the U.S. yesterday afternoon, after 4 days in London England, where I spoke at the Own Label Show. The show, compact by American standards, still boasted an enthusiastic crowd who was eager to learn about Private Brands in the US.

Even more exciting was the opportunity to walk stores in the UK including: Tesco, Waitrose, Coop, Sainsbury, Boots, Superdrug & Harrods over the next few weeks I will present posts on each complete with numerous pictures and commentary. Today a few highlights:

  • Private Brand penetration is indeed startlingly high.
  • All of the retailer’s Private Brand portfolio architecture and strategy is virtually identical: Good – Better – Best with numerous segments defined within each Organic, Baby, etc. For example: Tesco Value, Tesco, Tesco Finest and Tesco Organic, Tesco Goodness, Tesco Baby, etc.
  • Retailers use their store name across all quality and price tiers.
  • Despite the high level of Private Brand package design is remarkably similar when you compare retailers package design tier to tier, which leads to a startling lack of differentiation retailer to retailer. 

Best is consistently Black with metallic highlights, pretty pictures and san serif fonts

Better has varied package design and color that is unique to each category while maintaining a consistent banner logo. The language is often playful and cheeky.

Good is white with product silhouettes and clean design

  • Retailers use celebrity endorsements to create exclusive endorsements for their Private Brand (ie. Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal for Waitrose.) This creates a super premium or unique tier brand however it is still associated with the store name.
  • Tesco’s Venture brands: ice cream brand ChokaBlok, and pet food brands Lathams and Nutricat are beginning to appear in store although they appear to have unique visual languages and package designs they are still narrow and category specific, mimicking manufacturer brands which were initially defined by manufacturing capabilities.
  • Packaging in supermarkets is pervasive and often overwhelming with everything from individual bananas to mini desserts encased in plastic.
  • Ready to Eat and Ready to Heat are huge portions of the store while frozen is minimized to ice cream and a small selection of other items.
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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.