Life Logo red1


Life Brand


Shoppers Drug Mart
In 2011, Shoppers Drug Mart retained Shikatani Lacroix to develop a new brand positioning and portfolio optimization strategy for its Life Brand private label, Canada’s No.1 health brand. Shikatani Lacroix completed the initial brand positioning in 2012, including an updated logo, portfolio reorganization, along with subsequent packaging design with a full rollout to 1,700 SKUs in 2013. The comprehensive assignment included market research, identity, packaging design, merchandising and in-store promotions.

Related Services

Brand Strategy
Packaging Design


Shoppers Drug Mart owns one of the largest and most successful private label health brands in North America. The original brand and packaging design were implemented 10 years earlier and through the growth process, the Life Brand had delved into categories such as food and snacks, which were well beyond the original value proposition. This growth of new categories undermined the equities of the brand and created consumer confusion regarding its value proposition.

The Challenge

The organization had strong private label sales and a wide range of categories, which required an evaluation of the brand positioning. This led to a migration strategy for non-health categories to other private label brands. Shoppers Drug Mart decided to review the Life Brand and explore the market opportunities and based on current research, in order to further optimize the brand’s position in the market, and support the business goal of increasing the organization’s private label share of basket.
Gain insights on challenges facing the brand

Our Process


Our strategic approach to the project involved a process that supported answering the key tactical questions, beginning with an opportunity audit to review all current Shoppers Drug Mart research. Additionally, we completed research with a five Cs review (Competition, Context, Company, Consumer, Category) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis with the goal of gaining insights on the opportunities and key challenges facing the Life Brand private label. Knowing your competition and identifying your strengths and weaknesses provides a huge advantage. Our SWOT analysis took an in-depth look at the playing field as it existed within the category and mapped out a focused path to ensure success for the brand. For the Life Brand, we took into account the following considerations:
  • The factors (trends, consumer need states, competitive environment, company business needs) that could potentially impact the Life Brand private label
  • The Life Brand core value proposition and equities beyond price
  • The ideal brand positioning for the Life Brand that will allow it to continue to grow and ensure strong brand loyalty
  • The Life Brand’s impact on the Shoppers Drug Mart brand perception and reputation
  • The elasticity of the Life Brand across current and potential categories
  • The relationship of Life Brand with other Shoppers Drug Mart controlled brands and competing brands
  • Potential gaps within the Life Brand portfolio and redundancies with other Shoppers Drug Mart brands
  • The ideal brand architecture (house of brands or branded house) in addition to best marketing practices (knock-off competition versus building on unique capabilities)
Our research insights served to develop an optimal brand strategy for the brand, including brand expression, brand card, brand architecture, and recommendations on portfolio structure and brand elasticity, and recommendations on immediate and long term initiatives, including merchandising and in-store promotions. Desired Outcome:
  • Improved marketing and communication decisions for the Life Brand
  • Stronger understanding of how to leverage the Life Brand as part of building the Shoppers Drug Mart brand loyalty
  • Short term, mid term and long term brand and marketing strategies that will ensure a strong growth for the Life Brand
  • Improve elasticity of the brand and determine the appropriate product categories that will ensure strong brand loyalty, margin and sales growth
  • Define the role the Life Brand plays within the overall brand portfolio


Shikatani Lacroix created private label brand positioning, brand strategy, and packaging design for Shoppers Drug Mart private label Life Brand

Based on the opportunity audit insights, Shikatani Lacroix initiated the development of potential brand positions (evolution to more revolution), the creation of brand mosaics and the alignment of how these various positions would fit within the range of categories would be explored. The ultimate outcome of this stage was the selection of a final brand card with supporting strategic imperatives. Based on the brand card, a deeper analysis of the brand structure, architecture and ideal portfolio in addition to the relationship of the Life Brand with other Shoppers Drug Mart brands was completed. Finally, brand standards and implementation considerations based on a short, mid and long-term perspective were developed. Based on the learning from the market assessment, a list of objectives was drawn to come from the design and naming process. Shikatani Lacroix developed a packaging strategy for the Life Brand portfolio of products, repositioning Life Brand as equal to or better than the national brand through distinct and ownable packaging solutions and ensuring strong shelf impact at store level. Get Well and Stay Well products were further subdivided into different categories, with the redesign establishing a consistent hierarchy of messaging across all categories and subcategories. This ensured clarity of communication and naming conventions while encouraging a coherent brand image to support the overall brand essence, “Healthier, Easier.”


Based on the development of a strong brand position, Shikatani Lacroix developed a new portfolio brand structure that took into consideration the Get Well and Stay Well platforms in addition to capitalizing on the ideal path-to-purchase for each category. Shikatani Lacroix’s new package design and Life Brand identity moved the retailer away from low-cost national brand to one that leveraged its unique and dominant position in the market place. The packaging also won a silver 2014 Vertex Private Brand Design Award.