This is the third part of a four-part article about private branding.

Many of Athea’s private branding customers were distributors who were already selling its national brands. But the manufacturer does market its private branding services to distributors it doesn’t currently work with, as well.

“A great strategy customers use is to introduce [our national] brand on products that are EPA regulated, such as disinfectants or herbicides,” says Patton. “Customers can do this at one case minimums in order to get some traction with their customers and test a new product line in the marketplace without the up-front cost of registering an EPA product in a state. Once the product gets up and running, switching to the private label is very easy and still available at low minimums, and the customer knows that the ROI for registration costs is worth it.”

Midlab also encourages its customers to test out its products before developing a private brand. The company will also help distributors develop private brands for unique needs.

“Remember a few years ago when trans fats were the big rage and everybody was getting rid of trans fats in the food process? That changed the cleaning process significantly,” says Schenk. “It changed the oils and things that were used in these large food processing plants.”

A distributor told Midlab that, because of the different food compounds that were now being used instead of trans fats, the private brand cleaning chemical it was previously using was no longer as effective. So Midlab redeveloped that private brand product line.

Aside from reformulating an entire product, many manufacturers will also tweak their existing products to offer custom scents and colors.

“It’s fairly common,” says Schenk. “For example, certain parts of the country expect degreaser to be red, certain parts of the country people expect degreaser to be purple.”

For Midlab, all that information is fleshed out in the step-by-step process the company has developed to help distributors create and market a private brand. For Midlab’s control brands, that process takes about four weeks. For it’s private brands, Midlab will work with a distributor for between 12 and 16 weeks, says Schenk.

“The control branding is a much shorter process, because the EPA registration work, the design work, all that stuff has already been accomplished,” he says.

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Manufacturers Are Growing Private Label Programs
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Pros And Cons Of Private Label Products