I recently attended the Store Brands Decisions Innovation and Marketing Summit in Chicago, IL, through which I gained a greater appreciation for private label brands, also called store brands or own brands. The Summit brought together a really interesting group of speakers, that included a number of retailers with successful store brands including Walmart, Family Dollar, and Office Max. The first misconception the speakers shattered is that store brands are mostly “knock-offs,” or “generics.” In reality, many store brands have created products through which consumers not only find value, but also feel good about their purchases and develop the same type of loyalty that national brands often earn.
Before the conference, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition presented a three-hour seminar focusing on packaging sustainability. Highlights of the discussion can be found here. The audience was diverse, and included a number of marketing professionals wanting to know more about how to differentiate based on sustainability. From the blog: “Bedarf said that if the industry worried less about the consumer — which so far does not fully understand sustainability — industry could move forward more quickly. “We should worry less about how we’re going to market it to the consumer and focus more on making it a better package,” she said.” I also challenged the notion that sustainability is solely focused on selling more and saving money, focusing on the business, social, and environmental case for triple bottom line thinking.
It was a harder sell than I thought it would be. While we intuitively know that the value proposition for sustainability of packaging goes far beyond eco-efficiency and less waste, the discussions were a good reminder that businesses will continue to look for marketing differentiation and cost savings when integrating sustainability thinking into their product and package design processes.