5 Challenges Revealed at Velocity 2018

Spanning two days, Velocity: the My Private Brand conference hosted retailers, industry veterans, manufacturers, agencies and even ground-breaking leaders from Fair Trade USA. The atmosphere of the event was contagious with camaraderie as attendees took advantage of the numerous networking opportunities to share and learn.

The conference agenda included an engaging mix of topics ranging from work culture to design to tracing the history of Private Brand’s origins. Despite the eclectic nature of the speakers, there were, in fact, several consistent themes throughout the conference:

  1. Be Authentic. We heard this echoed through several talks and roundtables. It’s no longer relevant to copy what someone else is doing if it doesn’t align with your brand’s story. Successful brands are authentic to their own voice.
  2. Keep learning. There is always something to learn from someone—this is important as a new generation of Private Brand professionals continue to emerge in this arena of grocery and retail. There is enormous potential for new and exciting ideas especially in an industry experiencing such a creative renaissance.
  3. Nicole Lord, Senior Director of Private Brands for Office Depot, drove home the message that for brands to be successful they must 100% align with corporate strategy. It’s not easy but it must be done.
  4. Be fearless and take risks. This message may have been the most repeated. Don’t be afraid to challenge what’s safe and predictable. Great brands are fearless, and that fearlessness is expressed in fearless design and creativity. In order to move forward be prepared to fight “sameness”.

And as Christopher Durham’s private brand manifesto states, “We are not the death of brand. We ARE the brand. Our brand portfolio is our most valuable asset.”

Don’t miss the 2019 edition of Velocity: the My Private Brand conference which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Maria Dubuc: Marketing By Design, President and CEO, Big Red Rooster, Vice President

A 25-year pioneer in creative management, Maria’s key talent is to combine a career’s worth of branding experience into something personal and unique for each and every client. In the Private Label space, she has coordinated both new and rebrand programs for a diverse set of retailers including Wild Oats, Smart & Final, Sprouts, The Home Depot, WinCo Foods, PriceSmart and most recently 7-11 and Natural Grocers.

With SKU counts from 1,000 to in excess of 10,000 annually, Maria focuses on the scalability of design and the execution of SKUs driven by the efficiency of commonality and consistency. Under Maria’s guidance, her team developed Workflow by Design, a proprietary workflow management program that allows large enterprises to initiate, track, and approve projects.


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