PLBUYER AUGUST 2011 The Ten Keys to Private Brand Success Guest Commentary BY PATRICK RODMELL 8 THE 10 KEYS TO PRIVATE BRAND SUCCESS: KEY NO. 8: ASSOCIATE ENGAGEMENT Don’t forget internal brand building. D uring the past 18 years free sampling, staff coupons and relationship levels with here at Watt International, training videos all designed to many of their shoppers. I have supported and rally the troops and get positive But even center store witnessed the launches of dozens momentum around the brand grocery staff can have of new private label brands. from the first day it appeared on a material influence. Without question, the most the shelves. For example, they are successful launch was Safeway Despite the tremendous often the first source Select – by a country mile. improvements in quality of for shoppers to help locate products in the store. So in the case Staff turnover and brand apathy make it of someone looking important to have an ongoing internal for a national brand, it would be very easy for brand education/engagement program. them to encourage trial of the less expensive/ equal quality private While the branding, packaging private label products over the brand alternative – so and product quality were all past 20 years, many consumers long as they know the significant contributors to the maintain a degree of skepticism brand story and feel brand’s ongoing success, what when it comes to trial of new comfortable with the and promotion of the brands got Select out of the gate so well private label brands. It’s all about endorsement. to all employees. But some was Safeway’s commitment to trust in quality, and most retailers While Safeway’s comprehensive organizations are skeptical about engaging its associates in the the cost/benefit of associate engagement in driving private brand, creating ambassadors all the way from management Every retail organization should have label sales. If you want proof, levels to store staff. There a resource dedicated to internal brand visit a few stores and ask the staff was a passionate commitment some questions about the private from senior management to get building. brand, including whether they everyone on board and singing would recommend you buy it. from the same song sheet – with simply don’t invest in marketing launch program for Safeway Better yet, undertake structured a launch party, team jackets, ‘trust’ in their private label brands Select is a great way to build mystery shops at your stores and (something I’ll cover in more immediate momentum behind those of your competitors. You depth in “Key No. 9: Market the brand, it can’t stop there. will quickly identify whether you The Ten Keys to Like a National Brand”). Staff turnover and brand apathy have Brand Ambassadors for your Private Brand Success: Combine this with make it important to have an private brands, and see just how the growing influence of ongoing internal brand education/ influential they can be in driving personal endorsement in engagement program. We sales, or not.1. Strategic Brand Positioning their brand decisions – encourage our clients to tie their2. Product Quality Management social media being the main internal engagement programs Patrick Rodmell (email@example.com)3. Effective Pricing Strategies driver of this – and you to events in their marketing is president and CEO of Watt International, quickly see how important calendars, and use the natural a Toronto-based integrated retail agency4. Communication of Purchase Drivers store associates can be in momentum of significant SKU with more than 40 years experience in more5. Process Engineering motivating trial of private launches as catalysts for keeping than 40 countries around the world. The6. Product Innovation label. Pharmacists and staff passionate about the private company is well known for creating such service counter staff (deli, brand. landmark private brands as President’s7. Performance Measurement butcher, etc.) are the most Every retail organization Choice, Great Value and Safeway Select,8. Associate Engagement likely influencers, as they should have a resource dedicated and more than 100 other private brands9. Market Like a National Brand are considered trusted to internal brand building for worldwide. To read the first seven of experts and quite often private brands and a structured Patrick’s keys, go to privatelabelbuyer.com10. Store Execution develop at least basic program around the education and look in the PLBuyer Voices section.