vertex judges glennTo 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 in three days – January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Glenn Pfeifer, Executive Creative Director
Galileo Global Branding Group, UNITED STATES

  1. What do you look for in great Brand design?
    I guess having been in this business now for so long, my view of design is a bit jaded.  I look at all CPG branding and design in the context of the category it plays in and the consumer decision-making process. All great design when competing on shelf must have that special “stopping-power” of course – but when you have so many options and so little time as a consumer, you start to look for the story behind the brand. Is this brand telling their story with the right visual language to make me believe that they are the best option in this category? I think that’s when design can really influence the consumer decision and get their brand noticed and remembered.
  2. How can Design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
    Retail brands, whether retailers want to believe it or not, are typically judged on many multiple variables of the overall retail experience. If your retail brand portfolio is disconnected from what you want to stand for as a retailer, then I feel your retail banner will not get any “credit” for your brand offering. The best retail brands are the ones where the entire portfolio has been developed with the retailer¹s equity and consumer segments in mind – so that the POD of that retailer comes through in the retail brands they market. The choices they make in the design of their brands cannot be made in a vacuum without looking at the store experience and the consumer perception of what that retailer does well. When those things are aligned with the design of their brands, it results in a stronger, more successful portfolio.
  3. How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
    Guiding retailers to select the “greatest” design from your range of concepts as an agency partner is not always easy.  As we all know, design is very subjective and many clients often will choose designs thinking only about what they like and not thinking about the overall goals and objectives of the design in the proper context.  We have worked with many retailers who are reluctant to try something new in their designs because they may not have not seen it before so they worry it won¹t be successful. And there is no doubt that the limited marketing budgets of most retail brands can make it difficult to launch something entirely “new” without a true campaign.  What we try to always speak about when presenting new concepts is what I mentioned before – it must feel like the brand owner’s voice is behind the design. Separate yourself from the obvious comments you may make about design aesthetics based on your personal taste – and instead remain 100% focused on what we need this design to achieve in this category for this brand.
  4. What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies/branding agencies?
    We always ask our clients to embrace the briefing process and we always look to have kickoff meetings and conference calls so that all stakeholders in a brand or a category can provide input during the briefing. It goes back to the last question – we are good at what we do and you are not getting your money¹s worth out of us as an agency if you just want to art direct our work to completion.  If the brief is strong and everyone is aligned on the objectives – let your agency do what they do best – be creative and listen to their rationale why their concepts are going to achieve the goals everyone agreed to when you started.
  5. How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?
    There is inherent risk in all branding and I am not sure any agency working on retail brands is without a mistake or two along the way. However, when retailers truly understand their consumers and tap into what makes their stores and services different from the store down the street – they can begin to see what kind of brands they need and why. If you and your competitor are both marketing that your retail brand simply stands for “quality and value” then you will both continue to get “cherry-picked” and neither will grow your share.  Find your voice and make sure you can deliver against your promises.

Glenn Pfeifer, Executive Creative Director
Galileo Global Branding Group,
Pfeifer is responsible for brand and creative development for packaging and
shopper marketing clients. He has led brand development and package design for numerous retailers across six continents including brands for Meijer, Rite Aid and Kroger. He brings a unique perspective to his work, having worked on marketing creative for a diverse global client list, including Citigroup, Sony, Bacardi and ESPN.


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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.