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26 August 2020

Key points from Velocity Global – the first-ever global private brand event, virtually

Our own Ed Holden and Michael Duffy attended the event virtually, and here they give their views on the content packed conference…


This year, the Velocity Conference held annually by My Private Brand went virtual, becoming Velocity Global – the first-ever global private brand event. This event joined together the European, Africa and Asian conference with the North American conference.


The content-packed two-day online event featured more than 40 retail executives from around the world presenting, and amid the talks emerged dominant themes of the transition of brand positioning, e-commerce, colour control and diversity.


Our VP of Business Development Ed Holden comments: “There were many fantastic talks over the two days: two which stood out for me were the details of Wakefern’s impressive rebrand with the creation of brands like Paperbird, and hearing the ways in which Publix went above and beyond to garner its Retailer of the Year award. The transition to e-commerce and colour control across global value chains were common themes that emerged again and again across the sessions.


“Christopher and the MPB team set up an outstanding event despite the challenges, and in break-out sessions and small group meetings we were still able to find opportunities to network with attendees. There was a lot of interest for greater detail on how Equator can support private brand players with our tools for colour control and print quality management, or explain how our design-to-shelf model can be leveraged to deliver everything from consumer research and brand strategy all the way through to getting the products to the digital and physical shelf and can help retailers to prepare to pivot in response to unpredictable times.”


Day One of the event comprised a special track on COVID-19 with timely insights from executives at companies including Daymon, IGD, and Catalina; a series of compelling roundtables addressing topics ranging from brand building to transparency; an Innovation Expo where companies exhibited a wide range of products and categories; a riveting diversity panel presentation, and more.


On Day Two, executives at retailers including CVS,  Casey’s Wakefern Food Corp. and Carrefour outlined their innovative Private Brand journeys, and design innovation was celebrated in a special Vertex Awards track.


During Velocity Global we were also delighted to formally receive the eight awards Equator Design garnered in the Vertex Awards 2020 International Private Brand Design Competition.


Equator’s global family of studios were honoured an incredible eight times for packaging design excellence – and was named Agency of the Year.


Each year, Velocity recognises one large agency (having three or more offices) and one boutique agency (two or less offices), awarding Agency of the Year to the studio, agency, or in-house team that receives the most overall points for wins across all categories.


This year, our four Gold gongs included: Schnucks Olives in the Packaged Goods category; Walmart Sparkli Spiked Seltzer and Nero d’Avola in Alcoholic Beverages; and Member’s Mark PLUS+ Enhanced Water in Non-Alcoholic Beverages. The two Silver awards were for Member’s Mark Old Vine Zinfandel and Charles Cellar Boxed Wine, with two Bronze awards received for Giant Eagle Market District Pasta and Member’s Mark Sauvignon Blanc.


The virtual conference also gave us the opportunity to explain the background of the designs themselves and how individual projects were developed, in a session presented by Global Creative Director, Michael Duffy.


Among his insights, Michael emphasised the need to know who your customer is today, and not rely on insights which pre-date lockdown. He says, “Customers want to bring something special and adventurous into their own homes, so we need to keep offering them innovation.


“You have to make sure your bricks match your clicks. This means ensuring that all customer touchpoints are thought about, and you look through the eyes of the customer, through whatever medium they are viewing your products. In that sense, there’s almost two different designs – one for on-shelf and one for online, and really optimising around that. If your customers aren’t going in store, the online experience needs to show what the retailer stands for.”


Videos from the event are available on demand. To view Michael Duffy’s presentation, click here:


“With more than 500 registered attendees in some 15 countries, Velocity Global made the most of its unique virtual-event approach for 2020”, said Christopher Durham, founder of Velocity and President of My Private Brand. “This year’s version was full of compelling takeaways from our line-up of terrific speakers. We’re so pleased that such a large global audience attended for both days.”