Brand Building and Packaging

Packaging helps give private brands a competitive edge

Recessionary concerns help private brands gain a stronger foothold with consumers’ willingness to spend time researching more cost-effective products and considering other options at the retail shelf. According to Interbrand, one of the world’s largest branding consultancies, the majority of decisions about private brands are made at the shelf, as 67 percent of private brand consumers decided on purchasing private brand in the store.

So how does a different brand steal attention at the shelf? How can a film or paper label help a consumer decide which item to buy?

For example, let’s look at a new private label product in a very crowded category—pasta sauce. As a new product, branding is the focus of the package, so selecting the right materials is crucial to grabbing attention at the shelf. Carmella’s Italian Bistro is a family owned restaurant based in Appleton, Wis. In-store diners loved the fresh and authentic Italian cuisine, which prompted the owners to market their popular House Marinara Sauce outside of the bistro.

The restaurant charged its design team to create a label that would convey the personality of the brand while allowing the sauce to stand out at retail shelves. Drawing inspiration from a crowded product category where heritage, pride and family are signature brand cues, a facestock typically used for wine labels was selected. The material, on the natural side of white with a ribbed texture, gave off a strong tactile feel of quality and authenticity.

For the label’s primary design, a large and lively sprig of basil leaves communicates the fresh, all-natural ingredients inside the jar. Two bright-green bars that match the color of the basil are located at the top and bottom of the label – one displays the brand’s positioning statement, “Authentic Italian Style, Naturally,” and the other helps serve as a visual cue to identify the sauce’s flavor. As Carmella’s expanded its line of out-of-bistro sauces, each label’s bar colors and images changed to portray the arrabbiata and bolognese flavors.

The three sauces are packaged in a clear jar that allows consumers to visually capture the freshness of the product. By working together with the simple elegance of the label design, each package helps drive the brand positioning and enhance shelf appeal.

While previous private label approaches to packaging included mimicking national brands and offering lower prices to appeal to budget-conscious consumers, today’s private label brands have to offer functional, lifestyle and emotional benefits. It’s not just about what your product does. It’s about the way your product makes the consumer feel. Make sure you send the right brand message at the shelf.

John Giesfeldt, Senior Manager-Marketing