Private Brand: The Default to Value

\"Beef\"The following is the fourth of a five-part series from my friend and colleague Perry Seelert. 2013 is a year of change and new opportunities  for Perry – it should be exciting to see these come to life.

Private Brand: The Default to Value

The stores I found my way into during the holiday season were largely grocery stores, and this was borne probably more out of shopping necessity than desire, but one thing struck me in a profound way. The “default to value” is not just about the recession and economic environment, it is about our lack of marketing story-telling, the lack of even functionally-centered product education.

I have had this “beef” with beef for a long time. Every meat/perishables VP I talk to usually thinks the differentiation within meat is self-evident, but I think it is a blind spot for almost all consumers, primarily because of the language. Choice, Select, Prime all seem verbally equivalent to me, and even though there are real USDA-driven quality distinctions, the shopper never picks up on any of the education and story-telling selling the differences. I saw this in my own behavior at Stew Leonards when buying a rib roast for Christmas and have to admit that $9.99/lb won versus Prime.

The same is true for Parmesan-Reggiano that varies from $12.99/lb to $20/lb and up, and wine would be another category where this “default to value” happens. If you are not educating and telling the story, don’t expect impulse to occur and upward buying to be the norm.

Romance it, communicate it and explain it.

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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.