British Private Brands Win Design Effectiveness Awards

Good design means good business and unfortunately over the last twenty of Private Brand history good design has been almost non existent and good business meant “knocking-off” a national brand for less. However in the last five years the tide has begun to turn and the value of design and its impact on brand relationships has begun to take center stage. There is still plenty of bad design and unfortunately even more bad or non-existent strategy.

One bright and shining spot in the evolution of the importance of design for Private Brand has been the United Kingdom. Leading that charge across all channels and categories has been the Design Business Association they are the UK’s most vocal champion of the role of effective design in the creation of business growth. The DBA was founded in 1986 to recognize, communicate and reward the integral role that design effectiveness plays in commercial success.

They believe that the most important way of communicating the value of design is by measuring its true effectiveness. The DBA’s annual Design Effectiveness Awards are both prestigious and authoritative, the only award scheme that uses commercial data as a key judging criteria. Year after year, winning case studies demonstrate that successful projects require the integration of the design brief with business aims and objectives from the outset. This sets the stage for a transparent and accountable relationship between client and designer that provides the best creative and commercial environment for success.

The case studies also serve to demonstrate the excellent value for money and return on investment that a coherent, well-thought-out and professionally executed design strategy can achieve. In a crowded marketplace, there is no place for one hit wonders; good design and good business are a long-term relationship.

This years awards include a number of Private Brand winners and a couple of prominent agencies who have been at the forefront of Private Brand design: Elmwood and Pearlfisher.

 Gold Award: Packaging

Asda Chosen By You
AGENCY: Hornall Anderson UK
CLIENT: Asda Stores

Supermarket own-label ranges are often perceived to imitate the packaging and content of mainstream brands. Asda, through its brand work with Elmwood, identified an opportunity to relaunch their mid-tier private label range to improve quality perception and to create a brand in its own right.

The Core played a pivotal role in creating the new brand identity, Chosen By You, developed brand guidelines and trained other agencies for the roll-out across the entire range of more than 6,000 products. They developed a design framework that unified the range from dishwasher tablets to tea bags, making a bold statement about Asda’s focus on enhancing quality and driving product innovation while keeping prices low. Since the launch, Chosen By You has driven Asda’s quality perception and has achieved significant sales and market growth. Asda is now leading the market with own-label growth at +8.4% YoY, and is now first for growth of the Big 4 supermarkets.

Bronze Award: Corporate/Brand Identity

Boots Laboratories
AGENCY: Creative Leap
CLIENT: Alliance Boots

Boots Alliance were looking to launch a master brand and product portfolio that would be credible within the international independent pharmacy retail market. Boots was a relatively unknown brand outside the UK, and at best pharmacists thought of Boots as providing ‘drugstore’ health and beauty products.

Creative Leap were asked to create the new master brand to enhance Boots’ international reputation. Building on the brand’s heritage and the existing levels of awareness, the classic and simple Boots Laboratories positioning accurately reflects its scientific and healthcare credentials. A number of product range brands were also developed under the main identity

Since the initial launch of six products in one market, within just two years the brand has grown to embrace 32 products in four markets. It achieved ROI in just one year and its overall retail value is more than €15 million MAT. There are further expansion plans firmly in place for 2012, including a distribution agreement with Proctor & Gamble.



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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.