CHICAGO -- Since packaging sells what's on the inside, retailers should make sure their private-label products have packaging that sets them apart from the competition, according to grocery packaging experts.
ild a President's Choice copying a national brand, and I don't think you're going to get away with copying a national brand much longer. Procter & Gamble sues everybody who does this now, and they are winning a lot of their suits," she said.
"I don't think it is in the best interest of any retailer or manufacturer to copy. You are not putting your company's product up as the best. You're saying that you couldn't do any better."
Selame spoke last month at a conference here on premium private-label programs, sponsored by International Business Communications, Southborough, Mass.
"I believe a brand's trade name and trade dress are among the few elements today a company can own and legally protect. Retailers who realize this are now building equity in their own brands, like President's Choice has done," she said.
Selame said retailers can use several approaches for marketing their private label. She cited the rubber-stamp approach used by Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J., in which all packaging uses the same trade name, trademark and trade dress.
"It is very simple to come out with new packages and new graphics, and it is the least expensive way to run a private-label program," she said.
Retailers can also use a proprietary brand approach that uses unique trade names, trademarks and trade dress that vary from category to category.
"It is one of the most expensive ways to come out with a private label, but it could offer the best return on investment, depending on how you do it," she said.
Several other intermediate options are also available, Selame said.
Dick Weinrib, president of Marketing, Visuals & Promotions Inc., Minneapolis, said a premium private label appeals to a more affluent consumer and is often more typographically involved than a standard private label.
"When creating your own premium private label, keep in mind that people see colors first, shapes second, numbers third and words fourth," he said.