NEW YORK — Retail branding and marketing experts Gerry Lewis, Roger van den Bergh and Myra Kressner have formed VIA Group to diversify the branding options available to convenience-store retailers and retail trade associations that want to project an integrated image across their diverse chains and group members.
“Today’s convenience retailing segment sees announcements almost weekly of one branded chain acquiring another. The question then arises whether to sacrifice the acquired stores’ local brand equity in order to achieve the marketing power, cost advantages and operating efficiencies of a single brand,” said Lewis. “VIA Group’s Rapid Retail Brand Integration system enables the acquiring company to reap the benefits of brand unification at low cost, without losing the inherent brand equity that exists within the acquired chain.”
Lewis was CEO of retail design agency CDI Group Inc., New York, and as a petroleum and c-store-industry consultant, he has since worked with more than 300 convenience retailers on five continents.
“Myra, Roger and I will bring our expertise and experience to these branding needs, creating solutions tailored to the individual requirements of the organizations that retain us, whether they are acquiring chains or other groups of retailers wishing to obtain optimum value from all their existing brand equities—and to do it at a reasonable cost,” said Lewis.
Kressner was a co-founder of CSP Business Media, now Chicago-based Winsight Media, which publishes CSP magazine and CSP Daily News (the industry’s first daily e-newsletter). She took part in the development of those and other publications, as well as CSP industry events including Convenience Retailing University (CRU) and the Outlook Leadership Conference (OLC).
She founded Kressner Strategy Group in 2016, bringing her expertise to strategic and tactical planning in food retail industries. She also co-founded The Vision Group in 2020, a business resource group for cross-channel discussion of disruptive solutions.
“We predict hard and soft benefits from rapidly achieving retail brand unification. For example, the acquiring companies can lower operating costs through procurement economies of scale with a unified brand for ancillary items, such as beverage cups and foodservice packaging. And increasingly, being able to project their corporate values across all stores will upgrade their recruitment status as a preferred employer,” she said. “The VIA Group’s branding approach can also be a mutual benefit for promoting trade and local commerce groups, while each store retains its own unique identity.”
Roger van den Bergh brings branding expertise to the VIA team. He has created identity design programs for many leading companies including Continental Airlines (now United}, the Urban Institute, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York and the Boeing Co. Working with Lewis, van den Bergh also created the brand identity system for Nashville, Tenn.-based Tri Star Energy’s Twice Daily convenience stores and developed branding concepts for Texaco, Mobil, McDonalds and Irving Oil.
“I am delighted to have developed the graphic concepts and presentation for VIA Group’s Rapid Retail Brand Unification system,” said van den Bergh. “We see a growing desire and need to achieve the benefits from these new branding options.”
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