Forbes Finally Gets IT! Private Brands Are Redefining Branding

Forbes2Mark the date Thursday, May 23, 2013 as a significant date in Private Brand history as it is the day the national mainstream press finally discovered the real Private Brand story. Forbes published the article: “How Target, Walgreens And Home Depot Have Forever Changed The Private Label Game” by contributor Scott Davis. Don’t get me wrong the article is not groundbreaking instead they have finally discovered what we have focused on here for the last five years, retailer owned brands are relevant BRANDS. The event is significant for a few reasons.

  1. Private Brands are more than the cheap “compare and save” private labels of the past.
  2. Todays retailers and their brands have far more power, leverage and sophistication.
  3. Private Brand is bigger than grocery and consumables and includes retailers like Home Depot, Saks, Nordstrom and Staples.

My favorite section from the article:

The big surprise in how these “store brands” turned into power brands is that their path to power is exactly the same that other national brands have followed for years. The big difference is that retailers realize they have far more power, leverage and sophistication to bring to bear in changing the private label landscape.  Among the core (and hopefully familiar) tenets being followed to help transform from private label to power brands:

  1. Distinguish your brand position, voice and design to the segments that drive disproportionate margin.
  2. Create sticky branded experiences.
  3. Drive continuous innovation.
  4. Embed digital seamlessly.
  5. Arm your ambassadors.

Few private labelers have mastered and can control all five of these tenets.  And many more businesses will continue to slap private label brands on their cheapest offerings and call it a “value” brand.  But, as product quality, better data and analytics and consumer control continue to become a reality, national brands should be mindful.

Blue Hawk PaintbrushesPrivate label is dead and “private label brands” are a silly redundancy retailer and the brands they own are redefining how brands are created, managed and grown and building brand assets that customers know and love.

Retailers all around the world are creating great brands from Amazon’s Kindle to Blue Hawk at Lowe’s – to learn more about these great BRANDS follow my series Fifty2, The My Private Brand Project and pick up the book in early 2014.

Reade the entire Forbes article.


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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.