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How To Make Your Private Label Brand Premium

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Packaging is an important part of any successful marketing campaign. Brands need to be presented in a way that’s attention-grabbing and resonates with their target audience, especially when they are private label brands.

We’ve seen an increase in private brands entering the market over the past decade, including a surge of store brand products in markets outside of grocery retail. Unfortunately, many brands still struggle to shake that brand-x image with their private label packaging design.

This article will teach you how to brand a private label product in such a way that it battles for premium positioning. You will learn the steps needed to create a package design that increases profitability and brand loyalty.

Traditional Steps to Creating a Private Label Product

  1. Identify a product opportunity where the sales revenue supports the investment.
  2. Create packaging that resembles a similar product that leads the category.
  3. Price the product at lower cost but with a greater profit margin than the 3rd party provides.

The Right Way to Create a Private Label product

  1. Identify a product opportunity where both sales revenue and competitive landscape support the investment.
  2. Look for a unique selling proposition that makes a private label item distinct from the competition.
  3. Create packaging that merges the right brand elements with distinct purchase drivers that increase conversions.
  4. Test your product idea and package designs in a simulating buying environment where the product will actually live.
  5. Price the product at the intersection of profitability and inventory turnover.

Private Label Products Need to Stand Out

Private label products have a unique challenge that their premium counterparts don’t have to worry about. These brands need to be more than just the cheaper alternative. One of the biggest mistakes that creators of private label products make is cutting corners on their packaging design.

When was the last time you looked at a store branded product and thought to yourself, “I really like the simplicity of this label over their competitor’s catchy design”? While you may “appreciate” a minimalistic design, people rarely grab the least attention grabbing bottle off the shelf. Any product that seeks not to be seen is a product that seeks not to be purchased.

This doesn’t mean that your white label product needs bright colors and bold copy. It means that a private label manufacturer needs to go through the same process as a branded product if they hope to capture market share. Testing and reiteration of each design element is a requirement for creating a private label brand that will stand the test of time.

Why You Shouldn’t Private Label

There is no shame in saying no to private labeling. This is especially true if you cannot allocate the amount of resources needed for a product to succeed. Thousands of brands find that focusing on relationships with top CPG companies is a better strategy.

These brands are able to differentiate themselves from competition that is poorly performing as a result of incorporating a mediocre private label product line.

Private Labeling Won’t Save a Failing Brand Name

Now a thing of the past, Kmart was once the largest retailer in the nation. In 1994, Kmart said that private label was a crucial part of their strategy. While they had a few years left before becoming extinct, Kmart began feeling the effects of their failed strategy. This doesn’t mean that a private labeling was a bad idea, but there were obvious flaws within their private label strategy that led to the company’s demise.

How Private Label Products Are Evolving

Private label brands have a history of creating uninspiring designs with their white label products. This typically occurs because of less allocated financial resources towards a marketing budget and less advice from CPG experts. But that’s changing as more and more retailers offer private label goods and grow their private label presence. In fact, we’re now in a market that’s very receptive to private brands like:

  • Whole Foods: Upon purchasing whole foods, Jeff Bezos clearly stated that he would lower pricing. While some would disagree that this statement became a fact for the entire store, it held true for expanding the 365 Everyday Value product line.
  • Kroger’s Simple Truth: One of the biggest turnarounds has to be the Kroger brand. Kroger built brand equity by updating their stores and adding private label products that just reached $1.4 billion in sales.
  • Trader Joe’s: With 85% of their products being white labeled, this chain makes more money per square foot than any of its competitors. Trader Joe’s has taken private label branding to a whole new level and continues to disrupt the grocery store industry.
  • Amazon Basics: Without question, one of the fastest growing private label brands is amazon basics. Built off the backs of retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Target, a search for Amazon Basics leads to over 3000 results for products. This wide ranging list includes everything from kitchen knives to printing paper.

Private labeling a product that sits next to household names with serious brand identify differs from creating a minimalist approach company. By going direct to consumer these brands have pulled away from competing on-shelf with big name brands. But make no mistake about it, these brands are investing just as much money into their minimalist approach to creating a brand identity.

  • Brandless: This company is a brand that is purely based on private label merchandise. A lesson is to be learned by Brandless as they went out of business in 2020, only to reemerge under new leadership. A reminder that saving money isn’t the only thing on a consumer’s mind.
  • Muji: A company that prides itself on eliminating unnecessary marketing from their packaging, reserving the space to showcase their quality product. While Muji may claim to eliminate marketing from packaging, this is a business approach and message that is marketing at its finest.

While creating your own private label, presence appears to be a way to remove the marketing element from their package design, the risk is higher than they assume. The former grocery store chain Fresh & Easy would be the first to tell you that creating and marketing Pl products doesn’t always yield the results you hope for.

Even a small online business can move forward with white labeling by utilizing dropshipping services with thousands of private label suppliers. But if they want to stand out, then the visual representation of their private label product needs to add life to their generic product.

If you look at each of these private label products, you’ll notice that they all share one similar feature: premium packaging. Even Muji, which takes a minimalist approach to packaging and design, incorporates a look and feel that’s easy to recognize across products.

Brand Recall For Private Label Products

Premium products have the privilege of using their names to attract attention. Unless from an already established name, private label brands rarely have this same luxury. Therefore, companies should spend more time developing a packaging style that’s synonymous with their brand family.

If you look at the six brands mentioned above, you can see that they package all of their products in a certain way that makes them identifiable. For 365 Everyday Value and Simple Truth, it’s the white background and zoomed in picture of their product, whereas Brandless follows the same minimalist presentation mentioned above. Named brands have gone through the effort of making these design aspects resonate with luxury and “premium x,” and these private brands are taking advantage of that.

What each of these brands has done is create packaging that customers can easily identify. Whether you’re at Kroger shopping for peanut butter or cereal, you’ll be able to identify the Simple Truth brand from its competitors. This continuous form of brand recall is important for increasing sales with your private label brand.

The good news is attitudes surrounding private brands are changing, so now is the perfect time to revisit your brand’s design and give your private products a premium look.

The Future of Private Label Business

The private label industry will continue to grow as more opportunity presents itself. Everyone from solopreneurs selling on Amazon to big box retailers can take advantage of the faster production times and lower minimum order quantities that private label manufacturers now offer.

But with increased opportunity comes eventual competition. Whether you are a brick n mortar or online retailer, what will you do to ensure that your private label business model is a success?

Want a Best Selling Private Label brand?

Through the SmashBrand package design process, we’ve helped private label brands go from being known as the lower priced option to a recognizable name with real brand authority. Through our methodology, we identify the important aspects of packaging, copy, and design for increasing purchase intent in your private label product.

Private Label Packaging Design That’s Proven to Perform.

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