Lynn’s Lowdown

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May 9, 2012
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lynn celmer headshot plbuyerWell … it’s May already. And you know what that means. Only one more month until PLBuyer’s inaugural private label conference, Private Label: The Next Generation. The event is being held from June 5-7 at the Hilton in Chicago, and in case you haven’t registered yet, get on over to and do it now.

Each of the 13 sessions at the conference will prove to be both interesting and informative. One of the presentations that I’m most looking forward to is Perry Seelert’s session on Being Comfortable With Uncomfortable. Seelert is the strategic partner for united dsn, a leading authority in retail branding, with partnerships in five classes of trade, all focused on dramatically improving their clients’ private brand programs. He will offer a bold and unique critique of the industry, and suggest that it is a good thing to feel uncomfortable with the industry’s branding progress. The capstone will be his five top marketing initiatives and recommendations for taking your program (and the industry) to the next level.

There are two sessions that I think will offer an interesting contrast between how various retailers design their private label programs. The first will be a case study in launching an award-winning two-tiered private label program and will feature speakers Jenny Longo, director of private brands, and Robert Koss, vice president of marketing, for Longo Brothers Fruit Markets. Longo’s private label was faced with a lack of consistency, low awareness, and stagnant sales. The pair will reveal how they transformed their program through a strategic process that achieved objectives and delivered positive results.

Sam Mayberry, vice president of private brands for Supervalu, will discuss how to leverage a three-tiered product line. Last year, Supervalu announced a major initiative to consolidate its private brand labels across its 3,300 stores into single, mega and category brands. These brands provide shoppers with a clear, simplified value message. This message then, focused on consumer segments, provides winning strategies to grow basket size and market share.

Another presentation that I think will be very unique and offer some very thought-provoking insight will be long-time industry veteran Jim Wisner ‘s presentation on Reinventing Private Brand. What you think you know about driving private label success may no longer apply in the next generation. Managing product, procurement, packaging and promotion will change dramatically, and new technologies will enable you to completely re-imagine how you buy and how you sell. This session will tell you what you can expect and what you must do to make your products relevant in a very different consumer world.

 Regardless of which sessions you’re interested in attending, I hope to see you all at the conference in June. 

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