Early this year I sat down with branding website brandchannel’s editor Shirley Brady and Debbie Arnold, Senior Director of Business Development for the Cincinnati based branding agency Interbrand’s Consumer Branding team to answer their questions about private brands and the last ten years of my career and this site.
Christopher Durham: A Q&A on the Power of Private Brands
Private brands, which are owned by and typically exclusive to retailers, are more popular than ever. Amazon is launching private brands by the dozen, running the gamut from medications to diapers to fashion and home furnishings.
Walmart is revamping its apparel brands in response to Amazon’s fashion inroads. Target’s portfolio of owned brands has just added Opalhouse, a boho-chic globally-inspired collection for home decor buffs that appeals to the Anthropologie shopper, and the Universal Thread collection of denim designed to suit everybody—and everybody.
When it comes to private brands, Christopher Durham is anything but private on the topic. He’s the author of six books on the subject, starting with Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project in 2014, in which he examined what constitutes the best, in his view, in private brands.
The book stands as a manifesto of sorts, presenting a compelling case for retailers to own brands that matter. Durham highlights private brands that bring their positioning and business objectives to life through great design, purpose, lifestyle and innovation, and looks at what makes these brands resonate with customers.
His latest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, is a photographic journey through the history of iconic private brands and how they influence brand design today.
In addition to being an author, Durham (above) is President of My Private Brand, founder of the Velocity Conference and co-founder of the Vertex Awards, which has been recognizing international private brands since 2013. He is also a practitioner, having helped launch private brands for Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement, among others.