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RBI Launches With Bold Mission To Change Private Brands


The Retail Brands Institute, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has launched 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-plus industry executives at the recent live virtual Innovation Summit.

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.

“This change is about more than a new name or logo,” Durham said. “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 50 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 free basic level and plus- and pro-level paid memberships.

Benefits – which will grow over time – include events, research and education 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; and
  • 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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