Ten years since its last redesign, IGA’s private label line has received a radical makeover that the company says better connects with shoppers and speaks to the retailer’s ongoing efforts to reposition for a new era.
After extensive internal and external research to examine and analyze the brand’s quality, shopper interest, design, marketing and range of offerings, officials said they determined the look of the brand “was preventing sales from growing in comparison to other private labels,” IGA CEO John Ross explained. "When I walk into an IGA store that stands for incredible service, quality products, commitment to fresh and local, and then I see an IGA product on the shelf that looks cheap and dated, you know we aren’t doing our part to give this product the support we need.”
To best position IGA’s exclusive brand with a look that conveys its quality, IGA tapped Greg Corey of Porchlight, an Atlanta-based retail design firm, “to create a fresh, modern look for the brand that would capture IGA's mission and commitment to local, fresh and high-quality products,” Ross said.
“If you look at private label sales versus traditional brands, private label is growing as a total percentage and growing faster than the rate of grocery sales globally,” he said. “That’s a trend we expect to increase dramatically as retailers focus more of their efforts on differentiating through the quality of their private label line.”
The private label line refresh translates into massive opportunities for both IGA retailers and their customers, according to Ross, who noted that by doing so, “IGA can align the quality and reputation of its product with the look and feel of a modern, innovative product line.”
Ross went on to point out that shoppers “trust that the IGA brand is going to be higher-quality and taste better versus other private label options. And in fact, our trust scores were at or above many national brands. To get a trust score like that on a private label brand is unheard of in branding.”
Citing highlights of data revealed in their research, Ross said nearly 70% of shoppers said they are fans of IGA’s house brand products, with 25% saying they would shop elsewhere if IGA didn't have them. Ross said the findings prove that the IGA brand is keeping its light under a basket. “I’ve been in brands all my career,” Ross said, “and many of them have become billion-dollar brands in their own right, but we never got scores like these shoppers were giving our IGA exclusive brand.”
Prioritizing IGA’s new “Local Equals Fresh” strategy, Porchlight and the IGA team “had to figure out a way to visually communicate this so that when a consumer is shopping for these packages, that they believe and see and understand that without necessarily having to explain it,” Corey said.
Photograph courtesy of IGA
The brand refresh process focused on repositioning IGA as “one of the best products on the shelf at any cost,” not just in IGA stores, but everywhere, said Ross. The line will now convey a number of key attributes that will be called out on the product and in supplemental in-store signage, including:
- IGA offers a top-quality product regularly measured against leading national and local competitor brands.
- The Exclusive Brand has proven to be in demand among IGA shoppers who expect and receive great items available only at IGA.
- IGA offers a double money-back guarantee—the IGA Exclusive Brand’s quality reputation is one reason why people shop IGA.
- IGA is committed to healthier products, working to remove ingredients shoppers don’t like and improve the attributes they increasingly crave.
- Wherever possible, IGA commits to:
- Natural—No or limited genetic modification.
- Heart Healthy—No HFCS, low sodium, high protein, low fat.
- Environmentally Friendly—BPA-free, recyclable packaging.
- Locally Sourced—Wherever possible, IGA buys from regional or local family farms.
The new look touts strong IGA branding and correlates with the new in-store signage and marketing. Porchlight preserved the IGA logo and red colors, while the farm imagery received an update to convey a fresh and local focus. In addition, the brand refresh puts greater emphasis on product photography and clear, appealing images. The packaging and photography are designed to evoke a feeling of “shopping at a farmers market, picking out fresh fruits and vegetables and putting them in a brown paper bag,” according to IGA.
The Launch Timeline
Ross said there is still another round of research that will establish how the new design stands out as a set in the store, but the goal is to launch the new branding through a core number of SKUs this summer. The launch will include social media, TV, blogs, food contests and updated signage for store kits. “We're not marketing this like a private label," Ross said. "We're going to market this like a national brand.”
The rollout and marketing efforts will be spearheaded by IGA’s new private label leader, Robin VanDenabeele, director of IGA Exclusive Brands. VanDenabeele spent the past four years launching a private label brand with more than 1,800 SKUs for Midwest independent retail chain Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, which earned 30 artistic awards.
“Connecting with the consumer on an emotional level while creating a rewarding brand experience is our top priority,” said VanDenabeele. “Our goal is to reignite the IGA brand and get consumers to fill their pantries with all things IGA. To achieve this, we need to focus on household staples while staying ahead of emerging trends to ensure our products are relevant to our customers.”