Embracing Differentiation At The RBI Innovation Summit

Innovative products, experiences and partnerships are crucial to the future of Retail Brands.

That message was delivered loud and clear by speakers during the closing day of the online Velocity Institute (RBI) Innovation Summit, which drew some 750 registrants across 37 countries.

Broadening the Discussion

“I try to broaden the innovation discussion beyond just products to include aspects such as process, technology, packaging and convenience,” said Tom Hermes, Vice President of Sourcing and Product Development, Whole Foods Market. “We are keen on drawing closer to our supplier community in 2022 and investing in relationships. There is long-term potential to disrupt this space together.”

Putting Consumers at the Center

Walgreens’ Andrea Collaro, Senior Director of Brand Management/Product Development, Private Label Health & Wellness, said innovation will drive the future of Private Brands as long as retailers put consumers at the center of their strategies.

“Private Brand has the potential to grow year over year, whether in healthcare or other areas,” she said. “It’s important to develop products that are customer-led and focused on unmet needs.”

Innovation Supports the Industry

Summit attendees learned more about the newly launched Velocity Institute, an innovative global professional membership organization.

Christopher Durham, RBI President, provided a tour of the organization’s new website — pointing out features ranging from news (RBI Incites) and videos (RBI Talks) to a comprehensive membership directory. Other RBI elements include exclusive consumer research and industry benchmarking and an executive education offering in partnership with Cornell University.

RBI is planning a range of upcoming in-person and virtual events and opportunities, including the following:

  • The 2022 Vertex Awards with a call for entries opening November 19 of this year.
  • An online Sustainability Summit that runs December 8 & 9, 2021.
  • A Design Symposium and Vertex Awards Ceremony in the Spring of next year.
  • The return of the in-person RBI Velocity conference and Expo, May 15-18, 2022, at the Charlotte Convention Center — with a cocktail party set to be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  • Opportunities for involvement in RBI working groups and share groups.

Creating Ongoing Experiences

Durham explained that while events are an important part of RBI, the overall goal is even bigger. RBI, like the Retail Brands industry overall, is aiming to engage with its customers and community on an ongoing basis.

“It’s really about creating a 24/7/365 experience,” Durham said.

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By Published On: September 23rd, 2021Tags:

About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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