The following is the first in a series of posts in which we ask each of the Vertex Awards judges “5 Questions” about private brand, its future and the entries in this year’s competition

Alan Chaitel
Shared Private Label Lead, Massmart/Walmart
South Africa
Alan currently leads Massmart/Walmart’s Group private label department in South Africa and Africa. Prior to Walmart, Alan spent 12 years running his own brand strategy and packaging consultancy business. Alan has earned his Masters of Business Admiration from De MontFort University with distinction on his thesis “The value of packaging design in building brand equity.” Alan recently earned top recognition for creative concept and execution for “The Rise of Super Heroes and their Impact on Pop Culture” global course. July, 2015. Smithsonian Institution.

  1. What trends do you see emerging in this year’s entries?

What may have started out as a fad, certainly comes through as a trend – and here to stay – is that of the styled really sexy photography giving the packs consumption appeal combined with some old school illustrative work giving an added element of personalization and depth. There is a definite move to the sharp, bold mix of colors off the primary color palette.

  1. How does looking at the entries from around the world impact your perspective on design and brand? Do you see global trends making their way into your own work?

Staying relevant is a fundamental survival skill for any brand. Keeping those skills sharp means exposing you to trends from around the world and then being able to recognize what those global trends are and translating them into a design that is relevant to both your own market and brand. I certainly see some key trends impacting my own work. They would be used not merely for the sake of being on trend in global packaging design but also localizing the global trend in such a way that you still true to our brand and customer.

  1. Which entry (excluding any you may be personally involved in) is your favorite?

388 - Pams-Spaghetti-Beans-GroupPams Baked Beans & Spaghetti

Simple, clean and easy to consume pack hierarchy. Sexy, unique and appetizing food styling. Personalized, strong bold font usage. There is a seamless approachable feel to this packaging that has brought together design, copy architecture, uniqueness and product naming. I Love it!!!

  1. What most concerns you about the future of private brand?

Private Brand programs need to be raised even further within retailers; driven from the top of the organization down. The future of PB must become a strategic workstream for retailers. We need to remain on the growth path of PB through continued innovation from packaging design to category management and merchandising solutions whilst always remaining true to our customers.

  1. What most excites you about the future of private brand?

I would like to answer by saying: What does NOT excite me about the future of Private Brand. Today’s language is that of a Private Brand, no longer a Private Label. Private Brand is being redefined all the time, which means it will continually to evolve, innovate and change with our customers and shoppers. Private Brand is no longer ‘me too’, lower quality, cheap ingredients and packaging that your shopping trolley would be ashamed of… it now competes on the same footing as National Brands, brings innovations, differentiation and drives desire in our customers… how can the future of PB not excite me?

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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.