Retail Brands Institute Launches With Bold Mission to Change Private Brand

Private label is dead. Private brand will become Retail Brands!

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — September 22, 2021— The Retail Brands Institute (RBI) launched today as a new global professional membership organization committed to advancing retailers and their brands across all categories and channels. Christopher Durham, president of RBI, announced in front of more than 600+ industry executives at the live virtual Innovation Summit this morning.

Launching with a founding advisory board of more than two dozen retail executives and solution partner companies, RBI will replace My Private Brand, the groundbreaking thought leadership website introduced in 2008.

Christopher Durham, President, Retail Brands Institute

“This change is about more than a new name, or logo,” said Christopher Durham, President of RBI. “We are a new organization who will lead the new guard, advancing the industry’s efforts to drive unique, consumer-focused retail brands and building relationships across all channels and categories.”

The name Retail Brands Institute reflects the dramatic mind shift of retailers and consumers over the last fifty years. “The phrase private label is associated with the cheap products of the 1970s, and the name private brand reflects the copycat mentality of the 1990s. Today retailers own and manage Brands.  So, we are the Retail Brands Institute,” said Durham.

Today’s retail brands span all retail channels and categories. The total industry amounts to more than $450 billion in the U.S. and more than $5 trillion globally. Best-in-class retailers including Target, Kroger, Tesco, Ikea, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Carrefour own and manage multibillion-dollar brands.

“Consumers trust retailers and are eager to taste, touch and buy the innovations from their brands,” Durham said. “While retailers are driving the efforts, solution partners including manufacturers must play a meaningful role.”

Founding RBI Retail Advisory Board members include executives from Wakefern Food Corp., PetSmart, Kroger Co., BJ’s Wholesale Club, CVS Health, Boxed, Staples, Foxtrot, Whole Foods Market, Mattress Firm, and Party City.

RBI members also include solution partner organizations — such as manufacturers, ingredient and packaging companies, marketing agencies, design partners, and other companies. Inaugural Solution Partner Advisory Board members include executives from Oracle, Radienz Living, Daymon, Federated Group, CBX, Fair Trade USA, Marketing by Design, Catania Oils, FedUp Foods, Paramount Coffee, Red Monkey Foods, and Wyandot Snacks.

The RBI platform embraces both in-person and virtual interaction to create the next generation of membership experience designed to provide member value 24/7/365. RBI’s modern model includes a freemium Basic level and Plus- and Pro-level paid memberships.

Benefits — which will grow over time — include events, research, education, and more to advance the retail brands industry. Following are some of the key elements:

  • Events: The Velocity Conference + Expo; Sustainability Conference; Vertex Awards Celebrations in the U.S. and Europe; Design Symposiums and Virtual Summits.
  • Research: Annual exclusive consumer research and Industry Benchmarking Survey.
  • Education: Executive Education powered by Cornell University. RBI webinars, workshops and training.
  • Community: Social media-style discussion boards, searchable member directory, job directory, executive share groups and working groups.
  • Awards: the Vertex Awards and others to be announced.
  • News: Daily news “RBI INCITES” powered by My Private Brand, the “RBI Talks” video interview series, etc.

“We look forward to welcoming all retailers and retail brand stakeholders into this unique professional organization,” said Durham. “The industry is ready to begin its next level of growth.”

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By Published On: September 22nd, 2021

About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Retail Brands 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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