Second article in a two-part series
By David Orgel
The Vertex Awards has fueled Retailer-owned Brand (Private Brand) design by raising the profiles of creative efforts around the world.
That’s the feedback from the industry as the award program marks its 10-year anniversary.
“I have such an appreciation for the visibility these awards have given to global, retailer-owned brands,” said Glenn Pfeifer, Senior Design Manager, Own Brands, Wakefern Food Corp, who has been a Vertex judge.
“The quality of work and level of creativity continues to reach new heights each year, and our Best-In-Show Vertex award is proudly displayed as soon as you walk into our Design Department offices at Wakefern.”
Jac Ross, Vice President of Sprouts Farmers Market, recognized as the 2023 Retailer of the Year for the Americas, said the awards showcase the importance of package design in the consumer’s shopping experience. “Highlighting excellence in this area, especially globally, is important to continue raising the bar and helping to drive awareness of the Private Brand industry more broadly,” Ross said.
AWARDS ILLUMINATE DESIGN AND BRAND STORIES
Jordan Stine, Design Manager, Peapod Digital Labs, Ahold-Delhaize USA, said the Vertex Awards sheds light on both design and storytelling. “Telling a story through good packaging and design, we’re able to elevate these brands into something shoppers trust,” he explained.
According to speakers on a Vertex Awards insights panel at the 2023 Velocity Conference in Charlotte, N.C., the award program also brings recognition and motivates designers.
“The Vertex brings exposure, including internally for our employees,” said Anick Chartrand, Design, Packaging and Brand Director, Metro.
Steve Cox, Creative Director, Daymon, said the Vertex represents “a stage for Private Brands to shine.” He added, “it’s important for the growth of Private Brands to have a competition so specific to this industry.”
Don Childs, Executive Creative Director, Sterling, said the awards help to accelerate design efforts. “It gives us something to aspire to,” he remarked.
“At Albertsons Companies, we take great pride in the innovation and value that we bring our customers,” said Katie Ceclan, VP, Fresh Category Management, Innovation and Marketing at Albertsons Companies. “The Vertex Awards reinforce and validates the investment we make in these brands to address consumer expectations for quality products at affordable prices. I am incredibly proud to be part of this year’s presentation as we continue to educate the private label community; how it is to challenge the status quo by creating iconic brands that build customers loyalty.”
GLOBAL LEADERS LEARN FROM EACH OTHER
The Vertex Awards was founded by Christopher Durham, President of Velocity Institute, and Phil Russo, Publisher of Global Retail Brands magazine.
The program has enabled retailers in the U.S. to learn about award-winning efforts from counterparts in Europe, Australia, and other areas of the world.
“U.S. retailers were stunned by the level of design they were seeing,” said Durham. “They weren’t even familiar with many of the global winners.”
A few years into the awards, some U.S. retailers began launching new programs with much higher levels of design, Durham said. “They could not have done this ten years ago. They drew inspiration and empowerment from the Vertex Awards.”
BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT PRIVATE BRANDS
Durham asserted that the Vertex Awards also helped overcome long-held global Private Brand design assumptions.
Most observers assumed that England, Canada, and a select group of European countries were the undisputed leaders in Private Brand design. However, Durham said, the awards showcased other countries performing just as well or better. These include New Zealand and Spain, which weren’t necessarily top of mind before.
The awards also highlighted the state of Private Brand design in China, which wasn’t well understood. This information led some retailers outside of China to revamp their programs for Asian products to reflect authentic Chinese design trends better. Some U.S. retailers and agencies even hired Chinese-based agencies to understand the nuances and build more authentic food and design.
TRACKING FUTURE DESIGN PROGRESS
Private Brand has come far from an earlier era focused solely on national brand equivalency. The Vertex Awards will continue to spotlight progress in the coming years.
“Retailer-owned Brands from around the world are now global leaders in design,” Durham said. “You see more and more brands stepping out and finding their own voice and speaking to who they are.”