Design is a crucial element driving the global acceleration of Private Brands, and its influence is playing out in more ways than ever.

That is a key point made by speakers at the virtual My Private Brand Design Summit, which featured the announcement of the 2021 Vertex Awards winners.

Executives from companies including Whole Foods Market, Ahold Delhaize, Thrive Market, Metro, Coles and others relayed insights about how design is advancing and how it can be further prioritized.

Here are ten key points from the Summit’s speakers.

  1. U.S. Design Accelerates: The U.S. has made great strides in Private Brand design in the past few years, said Vertex Awards judge Loe Limpens, co-founder and Managing Partner of the retail design agency Yellow Dress Retail, based in The Netherlands. “I am astonished by the level of U.S. design —it is up to scale with Europe and the UK,” he said.
  2. Prioritize Digital Shelf: Private Brand packaging needs to show up well online to gain attention. Thrive Market focuses on bold designs to accomplish this goal, said Savannah McAnally, Senior Design Manager, Packaging & Brand. “We wanted to lean into vibrant, energetic colors to shine in the e-commerce space,” she said.
  3. Give Designers Credit: The industry needs to spotlight the great work of designers because they are crucial engines behind Private Brands.Designers don’t get enough credit for all the work they do,” said Christopher Durham, President, My Private Brand. “It’s important to bring designers forward and say their work is important.”
  4. Collaboration is Magical: Co-branding a Private Brand range can be a complex undertaking, but collaboration can drive product and design innovation. That’s what The Giant Co., part of Ahold Delhaize, found out in working on a brewery craft beer program that won a Best of Show Vertex Award. “The collaboration felt really magical,” said Paul Skozilas, Design Manager, Ahold Delhaize/Peapod Digital Labs.
  5. Support Next Gen: Younger consumers and employees are the future for Private Brand. That is why Canadian retailer Metro has been conducting university student competitions to help co-create new package designs. “We have to look at the newer generations as we think about growth,” said Marie-France Gibson, Vice President of Private Brand, Metro.
  6. Process Makes Perfect: Private Brand innovation may start with great ideas, but it needs systematic development processes to succeed. Coles of Australia and its brand communications agency walked the Summit audience through its multi-step approach for a brand launch — from insights foundation to design rollout to launch. “Our aim is to grow own brand,” said Lisa-Marie Pejovnik, Coles Marketing Manager.
  7. Humor is Powerful: A number of Vertex Award winners leveraged novel approaches to humor through design, noted speakers and award judges. “Have a sense of humor,” said Maria Dubuc, President, Marketing by Design, who discussed what she’s learned from being a Vertex Awards judge. She pointed to the importance of “not taking yourself too seriously” as a useful strategy.
  8. Get Merchants Excited: Designers aren’t just creating for consumers — they first have to get the merchant teams excited. The importance of engaging and pleasing merchants was emphasized by Thomas Crookham, Director, Exclusive Brands, for Whole Foods Market, who discussed the redesign of the 365 by Whole Foods Market brand. “The merchant teams’ response was overwhelmingly positive,” he said.
  9. Testing Offers Insights: Private Brand benefits from research and testing that informs products and design. That’s an important strategy for CVS Health and its Live Better line. We test tremendously and it was evident our consumers were ready for something new,” said Bryan Killiany, Creative Director, Store Brands Portfolio, CVS Health. “Live Better is our vibrant new take on wellness, offered exclusively at CVS.”
  10. Patience Pays Off: The great strides for Private Brand shouldn’t create the expectation that success happens overnight, indicated Dan Reilly, Vice President, Brand and Product Management, Staples. “The ultimate goal is for them to stand up as real brands,” he said. “But it can take a long time before a brand becomes a household name.”

The Summit’s sessions can be viewed on-demand for free courtesy of Gold Sponsor MBD. The presentations provide a wide range of important perspectives on the design topic. Moreover, speakers answered audience questions submitted through the Summit’s interactive online platform and helped to provide roadmaps for next steps in advancing efforts.

The Design Summit is the second in a series of My Private Brand 2021 Summits — The My Private Brand virtual Innovation Summit (9.22-23) will spotlight how Private Brand can lead in the future and better engage tomorrow’s shoppers. FREE VIP TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW.