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What does it take for your private brand to succeed? Here's what only an experienced design partner will know...

You are a retail marketing leader. Your private brand’s current package design has aged… and it looks it. A competitor has recently launched a private brand makeover and it’s getting a lot of attention in the marketplace. Private brand sales are on the rise, and there’s pressure on your team to re-energize your brand so that they get their fair share of the growing private brand pie. 

It’s time to start a private brand redesign. 

But what’s the brief?

Award-winning creative? 

Low-cost adaptation? 

Speed to market?

The answer: All of the above. 

Today’s private brand leaders can’t afford to waste time or money or miss the mark on new design. They need to aim right for the pocket of quality and value. The right agency gets it. They know exactly what it takes to revitalize brands efficiently and cost effectively and will bring passion that can ignite purpose in a retail organization. 

Here’s what it takes for your private brand redesign to succeed: 

It Takes an Experienced Private Brand Design Partner

Your RFP for a private brand design agency will get responses from many creative agencies. Some may have a great creative reputation, strong workflow management processes, or efficient costing, but when it comes to private label design, experience should be very high on the list of decision criteria. 

Private brands can span across hundreds of categories and thousands of SKUs. Successfully designing this many products takes practiced understanding of the unique challenges of private brands. The goal of your design is to make each product distinct in its category, and yet all part of the same private brand family – a complex task. It takes a very special group of artists to work painstakingly and patiently to make every product successful. It helps if they have tackled major private brand designs before.

It Takes Appreciating Category Breadth

While private brand design experience is essential, so is understanding how differently design impacts each category. With packaged goods, there are vastly different requirements for different products – from aspirin to aluminum foil, and from cookies to cat food. Each category has different competitors, regulatory requirements, and communication priorities. 

As one designer once told us explaining his design experience: “I’ve designed up and down every aisle ten times.” We hired him right away! This type of designer builds a team that can tackle any design challenge and can work proactively, bringing insights and design solutions for each category to the client, rather than the client having to inform the agency.

It Takes Understanding Value Perception

The private brand redesign brief needs to include all the details about the scope of the assignment, including key guidance about value perceptions. A retailer might be redesigning for many reasons: faded design and stagnant sales, keeping up with competitors, new trends, changed formulas or regulations. Whatever the reason, a clear brief around value perception is your best, first chance at having a great redesign. These are just some key questions:

  • What are the perceptions of your current design? What does it say to customers?
  • What is its value perception? What quality is it expressing? Why? 
  • Does the price seem fair for the quality, or not?
  • Are there private brand ‘competitors’?
  • What quality and value perceptions should the redesign have? 
  • What needs to shift? 

It Takes a Passion for the Puzzle of a Design System

Often the key to the best private brand design is the success of the design system. As consumers navigate (real or virtual) aisles looking for your products, they need a system to help them find what they’re looking for. Just like traffic signs are always the same in any road, a consumer needs consistent cues across the private brand to help them understand product differences within and across categories: 

  • Tiers of quality in the same brand
  • Size differences
  • Flavor or variety differences
  • Special formulas or features
  • E-commerce thumbnails

Your private brand design partner should feel passionately about developing this system. It’s the key framework that makes the design roll-out across all categories seamless, in a schedule that’s timely and affordable. The degree of enthusiasm about the design system should be a good clue about how well your design partner plans, and their readiness for the long haul ahead.

It Takes an Ability to Lead Vendors 

When redesign projects are vast, a retailer might need more resources in ensuring the new design is applied well to each SKU in every category, and that all private brand vendors have what they need to complete the redesign. Ideally then, you have a creative design partner who has experience in managing vendors on behalf of their clients. This means having systems where all information is managed and stored, an ability to support vendors with less experience in design changes, and a vision for consistent design quality across the brand despite the variety of vendors and their printing substrates. This extension of resources can be an important capacity to ensure redesign success. 

It Takes a Workflow that Works

A major rebrand has many complex stages and stakeholders who need to provide input and approval at every juncture. Not having a clear process in place can create confusion, hold up workflow and ultimately end up costing time and money.

A good redesign project is supported by a good workflow process. Effective workflow has the following characteristics: 

  • Clearly defined roles for all contributors
  • Goals and timing
  • Tools to communicate and manage progress 
  • Quality control measures

You want to work with a creative partner who is also passionate about workflow process – as passionate about workflow as they are about the design system.

Looking for a redesign partner that has what it takes? At the Fish Agency, we’re very proud of our private brand redesigns and how they have put new life into our clients’ brands. All on time. And on budget. 

If the planning of a major packaging design is giving you pause, give us a call. We’re happy to talk through your objectives and challenges. We know we can help.

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