Keeping Up with the Changing Landscape of Private Brand

February 6, 2018

Ten years ago, it was the norm to see private brands using packaging and branding that aimed to mimic their national brand equivalents (think store brand “Oaty O’s” in a yellow box on the shelf next to Cheerios® classic cereal). That’s becoming less and less common as retailers have begun to elevate the quality of their private brands and to use them as a key point of differentiation. Now, with online giants like Amazon, Jet and Fresh Direct making forays into private brands, the stage is being set for traditional retailers to take it even one step further and look at the private brands in a whole new way, says Steve Cox, Creative Director for Daymon.

“Online retailers don’t need to compete in a traditional shelf environment, and because of that they are creating a very ownable look,” Cox explains. “This is going to open the door for traditional retailers to look at their brands in the same way, which is going to begin a very exciting time for the evolution of private brand design.” In particular, Cox sees opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers to take a page from online retailers, who leverage data to target shoppers and personalize the shopping experience, to create tailored solutions that are specific to their shoppers and the store environment to evolve their private brands.

The key to building a strong foundation for that evolution is the creation of a long-term strategy for the brand. Following through and focusing on that plan is the next step. “Having a strategy means you are proactively building YOUR unique brand and YOUR experience, rather than reacting to what other competitors are doing,” says Cox. “Retailers might ask the ‘who?’ and the ‘what?’ but when you take strategy one step further, you must answer the more meaningful ‘why?’” This can add a whole new dimension to private brands.

Part of a retailer’s strategy should also be recognizing and preparing for potential challenges. For example, Cox warns that retailers should be aware of possible missteps such as:

  • developing systems that are too rigid and don’t allow for products to compete within different categories
  • having too many decision makers, each with their own vision of what the brand should be
  • focusing on execution before concept
  • building brands based on what they (as decision makers) would want or what competitors are doing, rather than what customers want
  • neglecting to educate shoppers on the brand’s benefits, differentiation and value proposition.

Once a strategy is in place, retailers have the opportunity to get creative with different categories and provide solutions to meet the needs of their customers. “By developing private brands’ personalities and emotional connections with shoppers through branding and package designs, retailers will be driving loyalty in the growing competitive retail space,” adds Cox. That loyalty then keeps customers coming back, while offering the potential to select even more of the retailers’ private brand categories to fit their shopping list.

To learn more about Daymon’s branding and package design services, contact Aimee Becker, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, at