Vertex - Kevin Shaw

Leading up to the announcement of this years Vertex Awards International Private Brand Design Competition winners 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.

Winners will be announced March 23, 2015

Today’s conversation is with Kevin Shaw, Founder, Stranger & Stranger San Francisco, United States

What was your first memory/experience of Private Brand?
We were asked by Winery Exchange to design a private label pinot grigio for Tesco in the UK and it went on to sell millions of cases. I realized the power of private brand right there.

What does the future of retail-owned brands look like?
Retailers have realized the power of owning the real estate, so all that’s left is the investment in quality branding that traditional brand owners have made.

How important is strategy to the success of a Private Brand?
Traditional brand owners have always invested heavily in consumer insight, R&D and product strategy. Private brand developers are typically followers and I’m not sure there is any real desire for things to change. Range strategy, on the other hand, is vitally important.

What role should design play in solving retail problems?
Communication, structure, offer and value problems can all be solved with good product, graphic and POS design.

What advice do you have for retailers trying to take their brands to the next level?
Stand out through quality.

Kevin Shaw, Founder, Stranger & Stranger
San Francisco, United States
In 1994, Shaw created what would become one of the world’s leading drinks packaging companies. He believes products need to stand out rather than fit in, and that packaging is key to communicating brand stories.

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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.