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Client Candids with Anick Chartrand – Design, Packaging and Brand Director, Private Brands, Food & Pharmacy, Metro

Anick Chartrand is a seasoned marketer with extensive experience in the private label, CPG, and QSR industries. We have the privilege of working with Anick as a client of Pigeon where Anick is the Design, Packaging, and Brand Director of Private Brands in Food, Health and Pharmaceuticals at Metro Inc. Anick’s marketing prowess has contributed to Metro’s private label brands winning multiple awards in the packaging realm for outstanding design and business results. As an esteemed woman in business, we asked Anick about her experience within the marketing industry.

If you could choose any brand that best represents you, which would it be and why?

Waitrose, a UK based retailer, symbolizes my passion for quality food. While maintaining simplicity in its visual expression, the brand also thinks outside the box, is innovative, values design and is customer-centric with a range of accessible through premium products available.

What initially inspired you to get into marketing?

The world of advertising initially led me to choose marketing as my field of study. Then brand strategy and consumer behaviour quickly appealed to me.

What was your greatest challenge as a woman in business starting in this industry?

Despite the clichés, balancing family and professional responsibilities is the most important challenge for a young woman in the business sector. It is essential to surround yourself with the right people and to share the work. You must accept that it’s impossible to do everything alone, and you must learn to let go and focus on your priorities.

Was there a pivotal breakthrough moment for you in your career, and if so, what was it?

My experience at Keurig was a key milestone in my career path. I had the opportunity to work and learn from seasoned professionals. I evolved in a high-performance work environment where the visibility of young managers was valued. I also had the chance to work on a brand with a strong heritage that was facing major challenges in growing on a national scale.
This experience led me to be the manager I am today at Métro.

What unique strengths do you think allowed you succeed in marketing?

I think the ability to adapt to change is paramount for a marketer. In a constantly evolving environment, we must be open to changing our methods to work more efficiently, but also respond to the changing needs of consumers to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

What is your favourite part about working in private label, and what is the most challenging?

Working across categories is the most exciting part for me, but it is also the most challenging. Building equity and brand recognition and having the opportunity to have virtually the entire grocery store as a playground is a tremendous opportunity. However, staying relevant and credible in the face of competition while maintaining a strong brand image remains quite the challenge.

It is also crucial to have a financial focus. Good financial management allows us to maximize the company’s resources and make informed decisions in terms of investments, budget and profitability.

Finally, we must ensure that we keep our teams engaged by fostering inclusive leadership and making them feel that their contributions are visible and valued.

What do you predict is in store for the future of private label and the role it plays in society?

Private brands are increasingly seen by consumers as brands. I believe that private brands are a key differentiator for retailers, as they represent 24% of sales. In addition, younger generations will be a growth driver for private brands. Millennials are more likely to choose a banner based on its private brand offering. Moreover, nearly half of this generation considers private brands to be superior and more innovative than national brands. Finally, they have no negative preconceptions about private brands, since they grew up with them.

If you could give only one piece of advice to young women wanting to break into marketing, what would it be?

Broaden your experience to get a bigger picture. Stay open to opportunities that are not necessarily related to your main interests. Remain curious—about operations and finance for instance—in order to be a complete and strategic manager.

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