On Saturday, Smurfs fans in 11 cities around the world celebrated Global Smurfs Day by setting a new Guinness World Records title for the largest gathering of people dressed as smurfs within a 24-hour period in multiple venues.
The worldwide events were organized by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Pictures Animation in anticipation of the release of The Smurfs, which will be released in the US on July 29.
Understanding the ins and outs of a licensing agreement is absolutely imperative for any brand considering venturing into the licensing playing field. This seminar covered why a brand or compnay would want to license, how to determine if your brand is ready for licensing, and how to make sure the license is successful.
Brooke Bridges- Associate VP, Business Development and Marketing, Beanstalk
Scott Bannell- VP Corporate Brand management and Licensing, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Ron Feinbaum- Senior VP/ General Manager, Consumer Products, Scripps Networks- Home Category
The first question to ask yourself is Why license? What are the benefits?
When done well, licensing benefits all part of the equation.
- For a Licensor- it takes a brand and extends it into new categories, new distribution, the ability to reach a new consumer demographic, provides additional revenue streams.
- For a Licensee- it expands the product, helps reach new consumers, increases the revenue stream, helps differentiate from competitors.
- For the Retailer- it creates a point of difference, creates a destination, gives access to new consumers, offers variety in terms of the assortment strategies.
- For the consumer- it is the consumer that is given another opportunity to establish a connection with a brand in a different, new emotional way.
With licensing you are connecting with a consumer in a new way. It is an integral part of the marketing communications strategy; PR, social media, advertising, product placement. Licensing is arguably just as critical in the marketing communication strategy as any of the areas listed here.
The reason for this is that, by definition, licensing is the consumer choosing to live with and adapt to your brand in their lifestyle. It’s not talking at them but it is them self-selecting to engage with your brand in a new way. There is nothing more authentic than that. It is also the only part of the marketing communication mix that pays you back.
Coca Cola is a master of this. All of their strategies- internet, packaging, sponsorship, public relations, product placement, direct mail, even down to their delivery trunks- is integrated and strategic. And that extends to their licensing strategy, as well.
There are several thing to consider when deciding whether your brand is ready for licensing:
Is your brand healthy?
Does it enjoy a high degree of awareness?
Does your brand have relevance beyond your core category? You often find people who are in love with opportunity for their brand but they forget to have a look at the broader spectrum.
Do you have alignment between business and brand strategy?
Are senior level executives behind the idea
Are there adequate resources to support licensing?
Keys to Licensing success:
- High brand awareness: consumer trust
The right tools: comprehensive style guide, consumer research, category selection
Operational readiness: corporate commitment, proactive management
Careful license selection: extensive company research, clear criteria for partner selection
Vigilant program development and management: comprehensive training, well-designed products, stringent approval process, zero tolerance, ongoing program evaluation
10 Pitfalls to Avoid when Licensing:
- Unrealistic goals for licensing program
- Failure to prioritize among objectives
- Lack of objectivity in assessing brand strengths
- Lack of objectivity in assessing consumer permission
- Lack of active involvement and commitment from brand
- Failure to conduct licensee due diligence
- Lack of contractual protections
- Insufficient licensee education
- Cursory product approval process
- Inadequate systems for program administration and reporting
The Resident Evil franchise enters 3D gameplay July 1 with
Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D
Jason Schreier: is an NYC-based freelance reporter/editor who writes for Wired.com, the Onion News Network, and a number of other sites and publications. His work has also been featured in Time, CNN, and NPR. He graduated NYU in 2009 (go Violets!) and is a hopeless, yet passionate Jets/Nets fan. You can follow him on twitter @JasonSchreier
Q: So first of all, could you tell me a little about what Konami is doing here at the show, what your goals are?
A: Well, the number one goal and the reason we have a booth is because we are building merchandising and licensing programs for our brands. A couple of the brands that we’re focusing on this year include
· Metal Gear Solid 3D and Silent Hill.
· Downpour, which are both coming out this fall.
· Pro Evolution Soccer, specifically in the Latin American territories, as it is the number one soccer game in those territories. So really trying to build our merchandising programs is the main goal.
Q: So what kind of brands, what kind of products are you looking at?
A: The traditional categories are very easy for us to obtain, so things like publishing for strategy guides, publishing for graphic novels, accessories, apparel, electronics. But we are also trying to meet with other licensees to see if there’s something a little bit more intriguing to build a merchandising program. What we’d like to do is really take our brand and expand the universe and make sure that the consumer is able to incorporate our brand into their lifestyle.
So for instance, we did a deal for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, for high end apparel which is available online right now. It’s great clothing – you can see this jacket, which [Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima] actually took a picture of himself wearing.
It looks like anything that anybody would wear in Europe, or New York, or Tokyo – but it’s a Metal Gear jacket, and if you look closely you can see small embellishments that reflect the Metal Gear Solid brand. So for us, it’s about providing the apparel with the logos, and the artwork, in addition to expanding that into a lifestyle.
Q: What are the other brands you’re showing here?
A: Castlevania is a big one for us. And Frogger – we have some exciting things happening with the Frogger 30th Anniversary – you’ll probably be able to see some apparel and accessories. There are lottery tickets available, and other things we haven’t announced yet. The coolest thing – and this is kind of a sidenote – the lottery ticket is actually very large, and it has three little frogs. When you scratch, you see arrows come up and you’re literally playing the game on the lottery ticket. But every once in a while, the arrow makes your frog run into a car or jump in the lake.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share about your successes here so far?
A: The licensing show is an important event for us, not only from a licensing perspective but from an acquisitions perspective, just learning what’s going on in the entertainment industry. I think that having this gaming area is great, having the participation of so many key players in the market is just fantastic – it shows that the video game industry is at a level where not only the consumers love us and pay attention to us, but it’s a great way for retailers and other licensees to understand that this is an important business.