Will lack of culture and love be the Achilles heel for venture brands? When retailers stick to their knitting and do what they do best, they get success.

Just look at Aldi’s runaway success in the recent Grocer Own-Label Awards, which rewarded their ability to focus on what they are good at - to stand out and drive loyalty at a product level. They seem to have quite a strong and insightful approach.

So when retailers launch ‘fake’ venture brands, why would they lack the insight or foresight to launch them in the same way that a real brand would, with support? Doesn’t that make a venture brand just a named product, rather than a brand?

Surely these bright commercial brains realise how much investment on all levels is made by the big brands to create real brands, with visionary team leaders and a culture that engages people with the brand on all levels.

“Enthusiasm won’t last unless internal teams act like brand owners”

At the FDIN Own Label vs Brand seminar a couple of weeks back, concerns about this shortcoming were further substantiated when Kantar presented data on the performance of one Tesco venture brand’s performance compared with own-label and major branded players.

It showed that this particular venture brand performed far less well than own-label brands and major brands against variables like market share, loyalty and frequency because it was simply not at the heart of shoppers’ repertoires.

Venture brands seem essentially to be ‘hollow shells’ of brands rather than brands with values and integrity - isn’t that what’s missing?

Venture brands are often also cheaper, so they may well get initial buy-in because they are new and different and cheaper. But will this initial blast of enthusiasm really last if internal teams do not start behaving like brand owners and making the same levels of commitment to people and culture required to make the brands a success?

I am not suggesting retailers need to invest millions, as some of the big players do.

But couldn’t they employ more entrepreneurial types to grow these brands as challenger brands? And use marketers and brand experts who genuinely want to nurture and feed a brand to create a real culture for growth?

Boots has managed to launch venture brands successfully for many years, but again, culture and people are an area of major strength for them.

I am sure that many venture brands do have a strategy and are learning as they go, but these so-called brands need to be treated with respect and develop a long-term vision and culture if they are to grow. I’m currently not feeling the love.

Claire Nuttall is founding partner of Thrive