How brand licensing can drive revenue, footfall and customer loyalty for retailers.
Brand licensing offers incredible above and below the line benefits, yet some retailers are still to take advantage.
This summer the world turned pink; Barbie pink. The Barbie marketing machine was working overdrive, and we were swimming in a sea of fabulous pink Barbie movie merch. There were Barbie lunch boxes and sweatshirts in Zara; the infamous Venice Beach roller skating outfits in Primark; bags and backpacks in HMV; army boots in Deichmann and platform sneakers in Superga. You get the picture.
It was a brilliant example of the impact consumer (licensed) products can have at retail. Year in, year out, sales of licensed products remain robust and consistently outperform general retail sales. During 2022, the value of the global licensing industry grew by 8.0% to $340.8 billion according to trade association Licensing International’s Global Survey.
In the UK, Primark, M&S and the big grocers are among our licensing trailblazers. They have collaborated successfully with brands to produce creative – and respectful – consumer products for years.
Yet many retailers are still getting to grips with the idea of licensing and the potential benefits of selling licensed or even licensing your brand out to other retailers – think Ted Baker fragrance or footwear, for example.
What is licensing and why bother with it?
Put simply, retailers or manufacturers can ‘rent’ a brand – normally within a certain product category and/or territory – for the purpose of creating consumer products. This is licensing.
Why do they do this? Because branded products are proven to drive footfall instore, traffic online, sales and revenue, increased margins, profit and customer loyalty. They offer retailers differentiation, exclusivity, a broader range offering and the opportunity to reach and acquire new customers or convert existing customers into new product areas.
How do they do this?
Brands define who we are, what we do and how we feel. From the clothes we buy and the food we eat to the TV we watch and the games we play. So – for retailers – leveraging a loved brand through consumer products is one of the most valuable ways to connect with consumers and create sustainable business growth.
What’s more, licensing works across all ages – from the connection pre-schoolers have with Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Paddington Bear, Peter Rabbit or Bluey to the way it can tap into the nostalgia Zeitgeist or Kidult trend and reach the adult market.
There are thousands upon thousands of brands like these available for retailers to license from over 250 exhibitors at Brand Licensing Europe, which runs 4-6 October at ExCeL, London. Brands like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Manchester City FC, Nadiya Hussain, Sarah & Duck, Gigantosaurus, Ed Hardy, International Space Archives, Moomin, The Little Prince, Farah, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Febreze, The Smurfs, Frida Kahlo, Bentley Motors, and English Heritage to name a few. Oh, and Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Paddington Bear, Peter Rabbit, Bluey and Barbie, of course.
How do I get involved?
It’s free to visit Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) – simply register online here – which takes place 4-6 October at ExCeL, London and there are free Orientation Sessions and Show Tours running Wednesday and Thursday from 0915am. BLE also runs a free CPD-accredited Retail Mentoring Programme every year for up to 100 retailers – applications are open for 2024 now at https://www.brandlicensing.eu/en/learn-brand-licensing/retail-mentoring-programme.html. Alumni include Tesco, M&S, Asda, Selfridges, John Lewis & Partners, The Entertainer and The Very Group.
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