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12 October 2018

Exciting Times Ahead in Cinci

Phil Jones, VP of Client Engagement & Operations, shares insights from Cincinnati.

As the grocery retail sector gears up for the peak sales periods of the autumn calendar, including Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Christmas/Hanukah/New Year Holidays, we’re getting ready for a busy an exciting Q4 here at Equator Design in Cincinnati.


It’s amazing how far we’ve come over the past few months. After launching our new creative workspace in Cincinnati in June, we’re now working on a variety of projects from 12,000-square foot design space, rolling out the under-one-roof concept that has seen Equator Design redefine how packaging is developed in Chicago and the UK to the Cinci market.


This is a famously foodie city, with around a million visitors flocking to our streets every Memorial Day weekend for the Taste of Cincinnati. Consumers here scour the shelves of their local supermarkets and convenience stores for the ingredients for their own ‘Best of Taste’ creations and, increasingly they’re finding the inspiration they seek in retailers own brand ranges.


As the grocery retail landscape continues to change across the US, we’re seeing retailers drive innovation, new product development and trends through their own brand ranges, leveraging the agility of their buying power and business models to bring new products to market quickly. It’s a pattern Equator Design has already seen in the UK and Europe where the own brand market is already mature.  Consequently, we understand the opportunities available to retailers to maximise share of sales through own-branded products that provide shoppers with the quality and diversity they want at an attractive price point.  Indeed, our experience even extends to tiered own brand ranges, with premium offerings from retailers that can rival even the most embedded brand loyalties through quality of ingredients, product and packaging.


We also recognise the catalyst that this own brand phenomenon has created in terms of product development amongst the major brands.  No longer focused solely on competing against other brands in their category, brands are seeing retailers as a force to be reckoned with, creating an environment where the whole FMCG sector is raising its game.


Meanwhile, consumer habits are changing, with clear distinctions developing in where and how people shop. The rise of the discounters for those on a budget and the appeal of upscale retailers for those with higher disposable incomes is driving a need for increased tiering, while convenience retailers are recognising the opportunity to increase their sales by diversifying their portfolio to capture increased spend from those on top-up shops. Meanwhile, the convenience of internet shopping is putting the store environment and the appeal of packaging high on the agenda to encourage footfall in store.


It’s a complex and evolving picture that creates a dynamic environment for both Equator Design and our clients. Our talented team in Cincinnati is ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of our new market with all the experience of our existing network.