Innovate Mississippi

Point Innovation Magazine Winter 2013

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INNOVATION WORKS Private Label becomes the Branded Product Jocelyn Atkinson & Michael Graber A lmost every day, the Southern Growth Studio faces The defensive strategy still works well, too. Take, for example, challenges that private-label competitors impose two leading companies who have developed competing body upon our branded products' clients. More and more wash products. One is black and the other is red. By the time private label brands are taking lessons out of the innovation and they hit the shelf, the private labelers have reverse engineered brand strategy playbooks and getting the product with some verisimilitude, and ahead of the once category-leading now they, too, offer a black and a red product. brand product. The difference is the branded product costs Private label already Advances in product development, 10 times as much as the steeply discounted won the price war and consumer empathy ethnographies, private-label product. continues to turn categories innovation, packaging, manufacturing Private label was once only a defensive into commodities. and branding – not to mention owning game, a copy-and-cost-cut play. Now, however, Now, private labelers the point-of-sale in the retail stores – give private labelers are creating new brands and are beginning to win the once "me-too" product knock-offs products with an increased focus on higher the brand wars. the ability to soar above the leading quality, better experiences and a higher self consumer goods companies and, again, price point that take them up the value chain. beat them at their own game. Private label already won the price war and For example, look at the redesigned Kroger, Target and continues to turn categories into commodities. Now, private Walgreens brands. They have the ideal mix: right products, labelers are beginning to win the brand wars. right prices, right places, and right packaging and experience. Given this situation, it is time for branded product companies Private labelers have become the brand of choice, the default to activate new business models: create joint ventures, develop brand in non-commoditized categories. radical and ownable new products, sell in new channels or launch Moreover, these brands are hiring global thought leaders from their own stores. ● brand and innovation firms and creating new products that give them the competitive edge. You can call this move the offensive Jocelyn Atkinson and Michael strategy of private labeling. ••••••••• Graber run the Southern Growth Studio, a strategic growth firm based in Memphis. Visit for more information. 11

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