What’s your problem?

Shopper Questioning

We all have problems. Retailers have specific challenges to overcome, but asking ourselves “what’s my problem?” is the wrong question. The question should be, “what is ‘her’ problem?”

As retailers our solutions must solve our customers’ problems. We must be focused on customers like never before. To solve her problems, we must understand her needs—and then shape our private brand portfolios to meet those needs.

We all know a manufacturer makes things—let’s say dog food. And no matter what a customer wants that manufacturer is only equipped to give her dog food. Not leashes, water bowls, dog beds or crates. Just dog food.

In contrast retailers have amazing opportunities to build private brands based on their customer’s challenges. She’s buying the dog food at your store; what else does she need?

As simple as it sounds, the single biggest limitation to creating great brands is shortsightedness. Consider the implications of this for a second: things that have historically limited brand and product creation have been removed. There are no barriers to manufacturing or sourcing today. You can source any product, from anywhere in the world, at any quality and at any price point.

Where the real work begins is defining and developing the voice and character of the brand. We have to understand her needs. We have to grab the heart and the attention of the customer. We must insightfully build the brands that deserve a place at the table. And not to be forgotten we must develop an appropriate name, logo and some captivating design.

When we accomplish this and we solve her problem, we’ve created a brand she trusts and loves. Our ability to create relevant brands is only limited by our ability to solve problems. So, what’s your “her” problem?


Jared Meisel-squareJared Meisel
Managing Partner, Shopper Marketing – Theory House
Before launching Theory House, Jared worked at some of North America’s biggest shopper marketing agencies, including DraftFCB and Saatchi & Saatchi X. A seasoned marketer and brand strategist, Jared is responsible for helping clients connect with their audience in relevant, profitable ways. His deep understanding of the retail space and consumer behavior helps partners navigate and leverage the rapidly evolving world of marketing.

Jared and his wife, Rachel, have two young boys. Though he grew up overseas and has lived all over the U.S., Jared has a southern heart and is proud to now call Charlotte home.


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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.