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FLEXO Magazine : August 2010
Building Brand Equity One Supermarket’s Story By Robert Moran InduStRy IndicatORS ries. A retailer’s core brand crosses dozens of categories and represents several thousands of SKUs. Keeping up with all the activity in those 100+ categories can be a daunting task. ” Shedding light on history, Palmer adds, “A&P is 150 years old. As the nation’s first supermarket chain, it has always had a leadership role in the development of store brands. The evolution of store brands the past three decades has really been driven by the consumer and the response by retailers to meet those needs. “In the early 1980s it was all about price with black and white labels. Inconsistent quality ruled the day. As consumers became more educated about food products, they demanded better quality. Retailers responded by asking the supplier community to put more safeguards into their production lines, source better ingredients, and stay current with their offerings. ” Eventually, he says, “Retailers started to emphasize their own brands, adding a level of ‘ownership’ within the retail culture. At A&P, our store brand share is approaching 20 percent of annual sales and we expect it to grow for some time.” Palmer maintains that, “Every brand should go through a review process peri- odically to make sure it is still relevant to consumers. ” He remembers taking such marching orders three years ago and launching into consumer research that would identify patterns and priorities that would rebuild the business. “Findings from the research told us that our brands were not keeping up with the tide in packaging structure and design, and that we needed to address several major trends like organic and natural foods, sustainabil- ity and health and wellness. ” Brand Building PrimEr Design is step one, according to Palmer. “ T he design pro- cess starts with a strategy session with our design partners. We go through the research, identify key elements from consumer responses and start the design exploration. Initial designs come under review and the overall package and label strategy evolves. “T his is a simplification of design development, but it cap- tures the essence of laying a ‘foundation’ for brand building,” he notes. “A lot of questions are asked and answered in the process: ‘Who is the target consumer?’ ‘What’s the sales po- tential?’ ‘What role will the product fill in the category?’ ‘Does the label design communicate the correct message?’ Do the label communications match the quality promise?’ Etc. All our brand initiatives have followed this process.” In general, Palmer says, “The biggest concern we have is whether or not the unique architecture we create is going to ‘pop’ at the shelf. We have to make sure the label finish we plan for (high gloss, matte, etc) is going to be consumer friendly at the shelf. “A lot of thinks come into play at store level--lighting, prod- uct behind glass doors (frozen), white or black shelving, and more. Labels always look great on your office desk top. You have to take the label to where it’s going to live, and see if the store environment for that category is going to positively affect product and label attributes,” he argues. “ What looks good in a dairy case does not necessarily translate the same way to grocery shelves or other parts of the store. “ Via roma: instant succEss Testifying to his group’s recent success, Palmer showcas- es specific product lines. “ Via Roma, our Italian brand for food products, encompassing more than 120 SKUs, started out with the thought that we could capture the numerous Italian products we had in dozens of categories and market them under one brand. Our markets have a good Italian-American presence, so the idea seemed logical. “ We wanted the product to be ‘different’ in its mes- sage and quality to distance the products from your average Italian brand. So, we worked with united* Design of New York, to help us bring the product to life. united* hired a photographer and sent him to a small town in Tuscany to capture photos of people enjoying life and experiencing the social aspect of the Italian food experience. The photos on the packages of Via Roma are all from that small village. The high quality of the product, in addition to the photography made Via Roma an instant success.” Perry Seelert, partner, united* Design, elaborates on Palmer’s comments. “ Via Roma, functionally was about creating an authentic Italian product line for a retailer that has key hubs in New York and Philadelphia, where there is truly a love of Italian food...Via Roma emotionally creates an immediate visceral response that is palpable and unmistakable. Underlying all of it is a style of portrait pho- tography that isn’t afraid to show off people’s real personality. ” all photos courtesy: a&P. www.flexography.org auguSt 2010 FLEXO 15 August2010_mech.indd 15 8/13/10 7:45 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010