Fifty2, The MPB Project: Amazon – Kindle

Fifty2 - Amazon Kindle - front“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series looks at each great Private Brand Fifty2 The MPB Project Logowith insight, analysis and original photography. In early 2014, these will be published as my first book along with several new chapters that focus on strategy, packaging and design learnings from the included brands.

I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS – brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

In late 2007, Seattle-based one time bookstore, and now mega retailer, introduced their now iconic Amazon Kindle. The portable reader debuted not as a cheap private label copy, but instead as a fully formed brand intent on extending the Amazon relationship into the hearts of American consumers.

In the Kindle launch press release, Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO spoke of both the time invested in the new brand and it’s laser focused positioning. “We’ve been working on Kindle for more than three years. Our top design objective was for Kindle to disappear in your hands – to get out of the way – so you can enjoy your reading.”

The Kindle name confidently avoids the descriptive naming clichés (ie Amazon Value Reader) of traditional private labels and delivers an aspirational and memorable name that means “to light a fire.” It is an apt metaphor for reading, shopping, media consumption and learning. The package design further brings the brand to life with clean modern uncluttered design that allows the product to be the hero; the structure feels great in hand and further reinforces the quality of the product and relevance of the brand.

The brand experience extends well beyond that first single e-reader to include the Kindle Store that now carries more than 1 million eBooks, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Reader Apps for the Cloud, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android and Blackberry, an assortment of covers, cases, screen protectors and chargers as well as the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX. The latest version of the Fire HDX further extends the Kindle brand with exciting new differentiating features and services like X-Ray for Music, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the new customer service focused Mayday button.

Kindle is perhaps the best modern example of a retailer confidently building a relevant and consumer-focused brand. According to a 2013 study by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), almost 40% of U.S. adults preferred reading e-books on a Kindle.

Brand: Amazon Kindle
Brand Focus:
E Reader
Seattle, Washington
2013 Stores: Online


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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.