10 Rules for Retailers on Store Brand Marketing

    1. Your brand must sustain the company’s or store’s image. Store brands should be viewed as more than margin boosters and serve as reinstatement of the store’s identification. It’s important to note that true value-oriented brands build customer loyalty, even through economic downturns and recoveries. The quality of the merchandise should be communicated effectively—not understated nor overstated!
    2. Top management must be committed to supporting the brand’s strategy. Private label branding should not be a function of individual buyers within a category that are autonomous from each other. Top management needs to synergistically work with a skilled marketing team, inside and outside of the retailer infrastructure. Branding needs to be broader than any individual item or single category.
    3. Create your store brand cohesively. It’s not usually a good practice to blatantly imitate other brands; at least not if your purpose is to build store brand or company name equity. Don’t create category stand-alones that ignore the need to achieve a cohesive brand franchise.
    4. Define the company’s or store’s point of difference. Retailers need to know and understand their target consumers, and store brands should reflect the store-branding philosophy and image of the store.
    5. Be unique to generate curiosity. Invest in innovation to maintain the leading edge and reinforce brand equity. Refrain from “look-alike” marketing. Doing so will only breed confusion and fail to build brand equity. You need to build consumer confidence that your brand is either equal or better.
    6. Design and implement brand packaging continually. Always be aware of the quality-perception across an array of products and packages. Analyze each category, probing how best to present the products to the consumer and avoid the rubber-stamp approach. You want an overall consistent look that consolidates store brand imaging. The consumer visualizes the product through packaging, shapes, colors, symbols and words. Then he or she forms an opinion about value and performance. Every detail in your marketing, merchandising and planning needs to be thought through carefully and purposefully.
    7. Position the brand effectively in each product category. Niche designs are most effective. Retain your stylistic relationship to the overall private brand program.
    8. Reflect the price, quality and value strategy of the store. In other words, market from the position you’re in. Resist the temptation to make packages as alluring as possible. That always backfires! There is such a thing as over doing it and it will cost you consumer-credibility. If it looks expensive and it’s not, it’s misrepresenting the promise. Your products should not look cheap or inferior, but they should also not oversell. It must deliver the right promise or it will not be purchased again.
    9. Renew excitement with each new product line. New products deserve attention and fanfare. Retailers own the shelves and the ability to create and stimulate interest. Use media advertising, packaging, ads, promotions, shelf displays, points-of-purchase displays and signs to create the right attention.
    10. Monitor your brands constantly! Monitor packages that represent the store brand and use data to analyze consumer shopping habits and performance. Never become complacent. You should make modifications about once every 18 months. Keep it fresh!