standing out in commodities

OfficeMax

Developing A Coveted Product Line in the World of Commodity Office Supplies

For many years, private label office supplies focused primarily on offering shoppers the lowest priced option. OfficeMax saw private label as an opportunity to grow share and differentiate their offerings in a crowded marketplace. In partnership with gravitytank, OfficeMax developed a comprehensive private label brand strategy across all product categories and price points. We helped develop the company’s first branded private label product line from scratch. TUL, a thoughtfully designed series of office supplies, is sold on store shelves today. TUL not only helped build brand loyalty among customers and staff, but also generated new growth for the multi-billion dollar retailer.

Exploring Differentation Through Private Label

OfficeMax’s private label products were previously being used to fill gaps within incomplete portfolios to maintain a small, but otherwise unremarkable position within the low margin commodity market of office supplies. The company’s management knew that the creation of a highly visible and sought-after private labels could drive significant growth, but needed help getting there. Diving deep into business strategies, core user segmentation, and sales data, gravitytank worked closely with internal stakeholders to identify opportunities to meet shopper needs with private label products that set them apart.

“gravitytank provides a unique combination of sharp strategy that is brought to life through design. I’ve worked with firms that are good at one or the other, but not both. The visualization of new opportunities really helps sell programs and drive understanding within our company. ”
— Mike Kitz, former Chief Marketing Officer, OfficeMax

Delivering A Holistic Private Label Brand Strategy

Throughout a series of engagements, gravitytank designed multiple private label brands extending across product categories. Each brand was delivered with prototyped products and packaging, as well as a strategy that was tailored based on the brand’s price point, opportunities for differentiation from competitive offerings, and an easy way for consumers to shop the category. OfficeMax understood that improving the office supplies shopping experience was a way of improving sales conversions. To drive adoption of OfficeMax’s private label brands, gravityank delivered merchandising strategies and communications collateral to help consumers find the products they desired at the right price with confidence behind the brands’ benefits. One example of a private label brand we helped OfficeMax develop is shared below.

TUL, A New Private Label Brand

TUL is an example of a premium writing instruments private label brand developed by gravitytank. Through deep ethnographic research, gravitytank discovered key insights about the value that people ascribe to their writing instruments. These insights led to key design criteria that inspired an award-winning line of office products. The brand was additionally praised in BusinessWeek, Real Simple Magazine and Package Design Magazine for its “elegantly sleek” design.

OfficeMax TUL

Results-Driven Innovation

Our partnership with OfficeMax led to the creation of products that live inside stores and online today. gravitytank’s private label innovation projects were sources of triple digit rate of return on initial investment and sales that far exceeded initial forecasts.

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