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5 QUESTIONS, THE VERTEX JUDGES: Paula Bunny

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To start off the New Year and lead up to the judging of the first 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 completion closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Paula Bunny, Creative Director, Brother Design, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

  1. What do you look for in great Brand Design?
    Great brand design has an indefinable attraction. The character and personality of a great brand are at the forefront. There is an undeniable emotional connection and a relationship with the consumer begins. The unique personality, pushing all the right triggers, stands out from the crowd. There is a big difference between great brand design and average brand design. As a business, we are always seeking to attract the very best in design talent that can make this difference.
  2. How can design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
    Design is a huge enabler. More and more retailers are beginning to understand that design excellence plays a big part in differentiation, where issues over a cheaper price or perceived lower quality, can be overcome in a heartbeat. Take the re brand positioning that we have implemented for Pam\’s, Foodstuffs own label. Rather than playing the game of me-to, alongside the big manufactured brands, Pam\’s is now the number one brand of customer choice in many categories and has delivered significantly to the bottom line of the group in New Zealand. A very, very happy client understanding – That, that is great brand design!
  3. How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
    Now this is where it gets tricky. In all honesty, this comes down to individuals themselves and their ability to let go and trust us as designers. We find that there is a pattern though, as the more entrepreneurial clients are far more confident to believe in the skills of a great brand designer. We encourage our clients and the retailers we work with, to trust us and with our success stories and track record…it isn\’t really that hard. Choose great design to build sales…. or don\’t!
  4. What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies/branding agencies?
    Retailers in general have not come from a marketing background, so they tend to lack the understanding and insight of what truly great brand design can deliver. There is always a tendency to undervalue and undercook and often the mentality of let\’s have an in-house design department. In our opinion that strategy works when you have an external brand partner and brand vision and guidelines are set, for the in-house team to implement.We believe it is a relationship that is built on trust and a valued partnership. It is healthy to have a 360 degree review together annually, but retailers that are constantly re-tendering & re-pitching, usually motivated by cutting fees and the procurement department, don’t usually get the big wins out the other side, that great design delivers.
  5. 5.     How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?

Customers are looking for authenticity in their products and services, so retailers have the opportunity to build great brands with a unique story that customers can have faith and confidence in. After all the retailers own the retail space and all the touch points from the banner on the door to the product on the shelf. Manufactured brands do not have that luxury. So retailers really shouldn\’t have any mistakes doing that well, and again using design as the enabler!

As for the missteps of national brands, that generally happens when a brand has grown from a truly exciting fledgling, that launched with an innovative and category-breaking product…then grew up and got bought out by a multinational giant. Then in comes the misstep of a conservative marketing department with a very different culture fit. So maybe retailers are in the best seat to always deliver best design, as they can truly integrate across many platforms…of course whilst employing a great brand design consultancy!

Paula Bunny, Creative Director
Brother Design
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Prior to returning to New Zealand to manage the Foodstuffs New Zealand’s Pams brand, Bunny crafted private brand design for global companies including Johnson & Johnson, Gillette, and Kraft Foods.

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5 QUESTIONS, THE VERTEX JUDGES: Gustavo Piqueira

\"vertexTo start off the New Year and lead up to the judging of the first 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 completion closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Gustavo Piqueira, principal, Casa Rex of Brazil

  1. What do you look for in great Brand design?
    Even though at the end of the day our jobs come down to communicating specific messages from brands to their audiences, today, the best designs aren\’t simply the ones that \’suit project needs\’ — a project that\’s simply \’correct\’ or \’adequate\’ just doesn\’t cut it anymore. People are looking to be surprised, and want to feel a deeper connection to the brands and products they choose to associate to their lives — and the projects that establish this connection are the ones which are able to go beyond mere sales goals and appeal on a different level, be it visual, emotional etc. They instigate something within people. Of course, we must still make sure that the client\’s needs are fulfilled, but that cannot keep designers from seeing things through a unique lens, and always bring out a unique perspective through their work.
  2. How can Design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
    Design has the main role of communicating through the most basic human senses. A simple glance can directly affect the emotional side of people and, in a matter of seconds, can tell nearly everything that person needs to know about a brand or product even if unconsciously — and that\’s where design comes in. When a brand gives that special attention to matters related to design, and allows its particular story to be told in an engaging way to its audience, it is more than likely that retailers will have their products \”jumping off the shelf \”.
  3. How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
    Each project will always bring a different answer, sometimes this will be experimental and innovative, sometimes it will be toned down and subtle — but there is one thing key to avoid: the \’standard\’, the ‘I’ve seen that before’ feeling. It\’s very easy for brands to cling on to \’successful design\’ formulas, but of course, this is all very relative, what worked for someone is not the answer for everyone.For them to understand this, like anything else, it\’s a matter of argumentation and exchange of points of view — we always look within each project\’s market and analyze what is going on, specific trends, characteristics and issues that could bring any potentialities or possible jeopardy to that particular brand. But of course, in the end, it comes down to our work — when it reaches past common ground and truly brings a \’great\’ differential that is clearly tangible, then the client\’s decision is much easier to make.
  4. What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies/branding agencies?
    I\’d tell them to expect and demand a result not only capable of translating all of their needs, but which also presents a unique outcome. Never should they settle for anything less than what they\’re expecting — they must always think ahead if they want to take their brands further.And for this to happen, they must choose their agency very, very carefully, but most importantly, after they\’ve made their choice, it is key to trust the designers.
  5. How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?
    First of all, it is key to approach each case individually, a competitor\’s mistake may not be a mistake for you, and of course, what have worked for someone else may not be the answer you\’re looking for. But one thing is for sure: change is essential — be it subtle or groundbreaking —and it should be encouraged in order to keep brands moving forward. The contemporary market is very fast, and change is key to renew relevance — the fear of failing cannot bring brands to lock themselves in their comfort zones.And so, the most important thing is to be aware about past mistakes, not simply to avoid them, but also to learn from them— ok, maybe you\’ve heard that one before, but it\’s simply the truth. Great design is an endless cycle of hit and misses, learn from your misses, and you\’ll hit your target harder.

Gustavo Piqueira, principal
Casa Rex
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL
Piqueira is the most recognized graphic designer in Brazil, receiving over 200 international design awards and serving as consultant to major global companies as a leading trendsetter. He has designed typefaces, illustrated children’s books and written 13 books on various topics.

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5 QUESTIONS, THE VERTEX JUDGES: Rick Barrack

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To start off the New Year and lead up to the judging of the first 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 completion closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner, CBX of the U.S.

  1. What do you look for in great Brand design?
    Breaking through the obvious.Design that communicates a clear and concise message with a point of difference. Something that differentiates in the marketplace and from the competition. Don’t just push product with basic product shots, benefit statements and a cheaper price. Look to make a paradigm shift in a category, celebrate your brand’s unique difference in the marketplace.
  2. How can Design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
    Retailers all have some attributes that are unique to them — whether that be the way the arrange their goods, the way they make their goods, their service, etc. Design shows how to put those unique attributes on a pedestal — make those unique elements the hero and thus create a lasting image in consumers’ minds as to why they can get something from that retailer that they can\’t get from anyone else — and that\’s the most important piece of retail today because if they can get it someplace else, it\’s a price game.
  3. How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
    Reminding our clients the value of good brand design is not just about being a national brandequivalent, but standing for something more than that and building brand equity and loyalty.Design is about solving a particular puzzle (all the variables: physical, merchandising needs, space constraints, consumer desires, etc.) in an elegant way where the end solution makes a total impact greater than the sum of all the parts. Design is about creating more for less. Design puts together a puzzle of needs in a way that creates more impact with less resources. Great design has to solve for certain challenges within certain constraints. If it does that well, in a way where the investment is less than the net experience, then you have great design. However, great design doesn\’t have to mean design that\’s never been done before. Great design takes the core idea of “obvious” and makes it special, unique, nuanced and desired.
  4. What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies/branding agencies?
    Trust them. Partner with them. Trust in the process and recognize that the creative process is iterative.Take the time upfront to work with the team to understand what all the possible opportunities are. Only then will you be able to make decisions confidently along the way because you\’ve explored the alternative paths and know why you did or didn\’t pursue them. If you dive right into design, thinking you know what you want, in the short term you may have less confidence in all the decisions that must be made along the way, and in the long run you might regret not stretching your ideas further because retail design is a long term investment.
  5. How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?
    The biggest mistake national brands make is not “sticking with it”. Whether that be good values, advertising, their customer base, their long-term equities or any other unique-ness. Particularly in public companies where the pressure to grow is constant, too many brands and retailers will try anything new to light sales. But, creating consumer awareness of what you\’re doing is quite expensive and is likely to wipe out the margin that might have been gained in increased sales. When brands “Stick with it,” they build on the momentum that has been banked over the long-term.

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 brand portfolio.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH THE VERTEX JUDGES: Daniel Bray

\"5questionsTo start off the New Year and lead up to the judging of the first 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 completion closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today’s conversation is with Daniel Bray, Creative Director, Marque Brand ConsultantsSydney, Australia

What do you look for in great brand design?
Great brand design is about more than simply creating a powerful aesthetic, designing a brand is an emotional experience. For me at least; it is a gut feeling or a spark of creativity that is carefully matched with brand strategy. A great design will ensure that your target consumer has this very same emotional experience. It is one that enables them to connect with the product in a positive way, inspiring and maintaining buyer loyalty. Looking past excellent illustration and clever copy, a great brand design articulates and executes a brand message perfectly and takes the consumer on a journey that encompasses all the senses. This journey needs to be reiterated through every brand touch point, from the excitement a consumer has when experiencing a product for the first time to their interactions with ambassadors. The brand should be ubiquitous.  Each brand has a personality and an identity that is complex. These are specifically created through strategic development and research in order to target certain demographics. Great brand design needs to reflect and communicate this identity from the very first consumer meeting to the very last point of contact; it must speak to the consumer every step of the way.

How can design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
First and foremost design should always be eye-catching. Visual differentiation is the nature of the industry. It’s the reason that we design. We aim to capture attention and share our creativity by presenting something a little different, something striking. However, retailers need to realize that brand design is about more than just creating something different. Brand loyalty is not won by simply presenting the consumer with something that is visually different. Just because you have gained a consumers attention, it does not mean that they will purchase your product. The design has to deliver something unique but it must also communicate a point of difference. For example the product may be of equal quality to the competitors offering, but may be of better value. It may be free of artificial colors, it could be tastier, lighter or faster; it doesn’t matter. As long as you are able to ascertain what makes your product more exciting, more attractive. And you must be able to ensure that the design reflects and communicates this. In order to differentiate successfully, the design must walk the fine line of prefect product representation. It mustn’t over deliver or under deliver on the point of difference. The design solution must match the actual product in order meet consumer expectation, communicate integrity, gain consumer trust and ignite brand loyalty.

How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
This is always a difficult and contentious process. The first and most important consideration when creating a design solution is utilizing solid and thorough strategic thinking. With a consumer-centric mindset and detailed understanding of all contributing factors, informed decisions can be made and a brief can be produced. Your brief is your design springboard, it is not only the starting point for design but it also provides the constraints for the project. Everything created from this point onwards must answer to the brief and in effect a great design should almost design itself, or seem that way. Your designs are narrowed by good strategy. Hence you may only have two or three design solutions that fit the brief and deliver both visually and strategically. It is at this point that a critical eye is needed to review creative work, some aspects of design thinking may succeed or deliver more succinctly than others. This is an ongoing process; you may need to score your work, emphasize some points or play down others.  Above all, a designer must be happy with all of their work and ensure that every design presented to the client harnesses both creativity and strategy. Submit only great solutions; don’t submit solutions that are obvious and easy. These will simply be eclipsed either now or in the future.

What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies /branding agencies?
My advice to any retailer working with design and branding consultancies would be to have an open-minded outlook. Consumers are fickle and complex and the retail environment in which they shop is ever changing. We live in a highly converged world where communication is achieved in seconds; news travels fast and trends and fashion change overnight. It is paramount to be immersed in this retail environment, to take into account different perspectives, be aware of changes and move rapidly forward with them. Collaborative thinking between retailer and agency is needed to push the boundary, take the lead and ensure success.

How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?
We all hope to learn from our mistakes or have the forethought to learn from the mistakes of others. National brands make mistakes and missteps because they are the brands that lead the competition. They are under pressure to stay current and are constantly inventing and reinventing in order to maintain their position. Utilizing tried and tested methods, keeping up-to-date with industry and understanding both competitors and customers is paramount.  Most importantly however, success comes from really understanding your consumer and gaining an insight into their needs and wants. The development and implementation of a strategy that is reflective of these needs and wants is vital to create a structured and effective campaign. Research should create brand statements that work seamlessly with a strategy to create an applicable brand summery that can be applied to all touch points. Originality within branding is extremely important, but to be successful originality does not stand-alone. It must be matched with in-depth thinking based on real consumer insight to create something bigger, bolder and better than the competition

Daniel Bray, Creative Director
Marque Brand Consultants
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Bray has over 16 years experience within the creative industry. He specializes in brand creation, packaging design and development, and has worked with Woolworths, ASDA, Morrison’s, Lakeland, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH THE VERTEX JUDGES: Steve Kazanjian

\"vertexTo start off the New Year and lead up to the judging of the first annual Vertex Awards International Private Brand Design Competition we 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 completion closes January 15th so ENTER TODAY.

Today\’s conversation is with Steve Kazanjian, Vice President of Global Creative MeadWestvaco based out of the United States

  1. What do you look for in great Brand design?
    We believe that brilliant brand packaging is the sum totality of all elements.  It\’s a well orchestrated narrative through the entire consumer experience – from the first in-aisle impression, through repeat use, and end-of-life. It\’s about how each element; the graphics, the substrates, and the functionality all compound on each other to create a lasting impression that lives well beyond the functional product use.
  2. How can Design help retailers and their brands differentiate?
    While no one can underestimate the power of great design to raise awareness and drive trial, we mustn\’t forget that in-use packaging satisfaction is a key factor in driving repeat purchase behavior.  It\’s not only about driving competitive positioning on the store shelves, it\’s also about how packaging can create powerful differentiation during product use.
  3. How do you help retailers select great design instead of obvious or easy design?
    Great design drives bottom line revenue.  Leverage your Insights teams (whether internal or external) to test repeat-purchase intent.  If you can show that your design can drive lift, you\’ve developed a powerful selling tool.
  4. What advice do you have for retailers working with design consultancies/branding agencies?
    Step past the visual and into the visceral.  It\’s not only about how it looks, it\’s also about how it makes your consumers feel.  Provide your agency with the emotion you\’re trying to convey, not just the graphics you want to depict.
  5. How can retailers avoid the mistakes of the past and the missteps of national brands?
    Packaging is an integral component of the overall marketing mix.  It\’s the ultimate media vehicle for both reach and frequency.  Think of it this way, 100% of your brand\’s purchasers interact with your packaging.  How you hold it, open it, dispense it, reseal it, and dispose of it are all moments to forge an emotional connection between your brand and your consumer.  To that end, start developing your packaging at the same time you\’re developing your product– not as an afterthought.

Steve Kazanjian, Vice President of Global Creative
MeadWestvaco
VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES
Kazanjian serves as the creative lead for MWV’s most valuable brand-focused projects. His creative strategy is stunning in its simplicity: connect a brand’s emotional context with consumer purchasing habits. His workshops on innovation within the packaging industry make him a sought-after speaker internationally.

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