5 QUESTIONS, THE VERTEX JUDGES: Paula Bunny

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To start off the New Year and lead up to the judging of the first annual Vertex Awards International Private Brand Design Competition I sat down with each of the judges and asked them five questions about Private Brands, package design and differentiation – their answers present a unique global perspective and depth of knowledge of the retail brand space.

The completion closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Paula Bunny, Creative Director, Brother Design, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

  1. What do you look for in great Brand Design?
    Great brand design has an indefinable attraction. The character and personality of a great brand are at the forefront. There is an undeniable emotional connection and a relationship with the consumer begins. The unique personality, pushing all the right triggers, stands out from the crowd. There is a big difference between great brand design and average brand design. As a business, we are always seeking to attract the very best in design talent that can make this difference.
  2. How can design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
    Design is a huge enabler. More and more retailers are beginning to understand that design excellence plays a big part in differentiation, where issues over a cheaper price or perceived lower quality, can be overcome in a heartbeat. Take the re brand positioning that we have implemented for Pam’s, Foodstuffs own label. Rather than playing the game of me-to, alongside the big manufactured brands, Pam’s is now the number one brand of customer choice in many categories and has delivered significantly to the bottom line of the group in New Zealand. A very, very happy client understanding – That, that is great brand design!
  3. How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
    Now this is where it gets tricky. In all honesty, this comes down to individuals themselves and their ability to let go and trust us as designers. We find that there is a pattern though, as the more entrepreneurial clients are far more confident to believe in the skills of a great brand designer. We encourage our clients and the retailers we work with, to trust us and with our success stories and track record…it isn’t really that hard. Choose great design to build sales…. or don’t!
  4. What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies/branding agencies?
    Retailers in general have not come from a marketing background, so they tend to lack the understanding and insight of what truly great brand design can deliver. There is always a tendency to undervalue and undercook and often the mentality of let’s have an in-house design department. In our opinion that strategy works when you have an external brand partner and brand vision and guidelines are set, for the in-house team to implement.We believe it is a relationship that is built on trust and a valued partnership. It is healthy to have a 360 degree review together annually, but retailers that are constantly re-tendering & re-pitching, usually motivated by cutting fees and the procurement department, don’t usually get the big wins out the other side, that great design delivers.
  5. 5.     How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?

Customers are looking for authenticity in their products and services, so retailers have the opportunity to build great brands with a unique story that customers can have faith and confidence in. After all the retailers own the retail space and all the touch points from the banner on the door to the product on the shelf. Manufactured brands do not have that luxury. So retailers really shouldn’t have any mistakes doing that well, and again using design as the enabler!

As for the missteps of national brands, that generally happens when a brand has grown from a truly exciting fledgling, that launched with an innovative and category-breaking product…then grew up and got bought out by a multinational giant. Then in comes the misstep of a conservative marketing department with a very different culture fit. So maybe retailers are in the best seat to always deliver best design, as they can truly integrate across many platforms…of course whilst employing a great brand design consultancy!

Paula Bunny, Creative Director
Brother Design
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Prior to returning to New Zealand to manage the Foodstuffs New Zealand’s Pams brand, Bunny crafted private brand design for global companies including Johnson & Johnson, Gillette, and Kraft Foods.

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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.