Vertex Rick Barrack

In preparation for the judging of the 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 competition closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner, CBX New York, United States

What was your first memory/experience of Private Brand?
My mom serving me Kroger’s Frosted Flakes.

What does the future of retail owned brands look like?
In the future, I predict that “retail owned brands” will be hardly distinguishable from national brands. We’re seeing more and more that retailers are treating their owned brands as importantly as their national brand counterparts. Take Walgreens – this summer they created a TV ad to promote the Ology brand. Does that sound like a national brand move or what?

How important is strategy to the success of a Private Brand?
Strategy is incredibly important – at CBX we like to say that without strategy, design is just a bunch of pretty pictures. But arguably even more important for a private brand to be successful is having commitment from the retailer. Not just at shelf, but also within the broader context of the store and through advertising, marketing and branding channels.

What role should design play in solving retail problems?
Design is a tool that can make private label brands connect with their consumers on an emotional level – which is a huge hurdle to overcome. Once your brand has secured a loved place in your consumers’ hearts and minds, you’ll be one step closer to gaining brand loyalists – a goal for all retailers.

What advice do you have for retailers trying to take their brands to the next level?
Commit to your private brand and to telling the brand’s narrative consistently at all touch points. Try hero-ing your private label brands like The Home Depot heroes the Behr paint portfolio (from TV ads, to print marketing, to in-store displays, Behr is strongly and beautifully promoted). Or try investing in product demonstrations, or an industry-focused magazine that tastefully reinforces the brands you’re trying to push. Success in elevating your private brands takes hard work and commitment. But when done right, the rewards will pay off.

Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner, CBX
New York, United States
Barrack has twenty years experience in consumer and retail branding, and is the creative vision behind U by Kotex and the rebranding of Duane Reade’s private label portfolio.


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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.