The BLE Blog

Licensing for growth…

Bruno Schwobthaler

In a series of posts, Bruno Schwobthaler, author of Licensing for Growth, offers insights on a variety of licensed categories. He will also host a session in the Brands & Lifestyle Theatre ‘Winning Licensing Strategies: where can growth come from?’ alongside representatives from Lego, Havas Sport & Entertainment, Planet Retail and Adidas. 

Primark Wins All the Retail Awards at the UK Licensing Awards

These awards acknowledge the impact that Primark has made in the marketplace in general and, more specifically, with licensed merchandise. Yet how can a company make such a great impact in such a short period of time and in such a highly competitive market?

Or, put a different way, why did other retailers leave the door so wide open for Primark to use Licences to grow its business?

The purpose of licensed merchandise is to drive traffic, make shopping more fun, increase impulse purchase, improve image, create new price points; in short it can help in all key areas that matter for a retailer.

What next then?

E-commerce is the next new challenge (or opportunity) because it provides the consumer with an unlimited choice of products and properties plus the ability to create an even more exciting shopping experience with the appropriate use of content. This is great news for IPs with proven consumer appeal but which are not able to get their fair share of space in brick and mortar stores due to limitation of physical shelf space (or unwillingness of retailers to offer consumers more choice).

There is plenty of room for further growth for the licence business: more choice, new categories, new demos and new in-store activation opportunities with Primark AND with other retailers.

What Will The Future Taste Like After Anuga?
The Food Trade Show, Anuga, opens on October 10th with the overall theme of “Taste the future” but what will the future taste like?

It will taste like WELLNESS, if you believe Nestlé’s annual report and its stated ambition to be The Wellness Company. As this statement comes from a company whose products are sold in 196 countries with a marketing budget of $6 bn the statement is worth taking into consideration when considering which trends you want to be part of.

On the other hand if you believe Coke, Mc Donald’s, Unilever, Chiquita, Haribo and their recent ad campaigns then HAPPINESS is what the future will taste like.

Perhaps the answer is a mix of both: happiness through wellness – not ‘a lot less of this or more of that’ but simply ‘a bit of everything in moderation with a bit of exercise’. Food for thought . . .

Spielberg Predicts Tough Times for Super Hero Movies
Just like in any other area of business a consumer’s sustained appetite for Super Hero movies will depend not on the label but on the intrinsic value of the movies.

What took Super Hero movies to new heights recently was not the fact that they were super hero movies but the quality of the end product –the unique art of storytelling of Chris Nolan, for instance. The fact that several super hero movies failed recently was because they were below standard even though the production price tag was high. It’s a good sign that product quality will drive consumer demand.
Will the Spielberg prophecy fulfil itself and will Bruce Wayne end up like John Wayne? What if Super Heroes discover the new super power of saving THEMSELVES for a change?!

Super Heroes being more involved and associated with real life and real issues might be an option: this new approach would make a difference.

Angry Bird’s New Clothes!

A success story of the last decade, Angry Birds is re-organising itself. That’s nothing surprising – it happens with every business. According to industry reports in its heyday Angry Birds was generating over 40% of its revenues from Consumer Products. To its credit, the company has tried out and pioneered various types of new partnerships and marketing initiatives, including co-branding, which have been inspirational even though not all of them worked out. The impact of the new movie on the company’s fortune will be interesting to see.

In any case the licensing model allowed the company to achieve massive retail presence across multiple territories, channels, product categories and demographics in a very short period of time.

Coty loves licenses!

$12.5bn for perfumes! Coty has invested heavily to purchase 43 fragrance and beauty brands from P&G. In a chapter of my book, Licensing for Growth, I mentioned Coty as an example of a company that is growing its revenue using licensing in its business model.

To put things in perspective the Coty/P&G deal is worth more than the turnover of Mattel and Hasbro put together.

At about the same time the deal was being announced Marionnaud, one of France’s leading perfume chains and owned by the AS Watson group, was launching, as an exclusivity, the new fragrance by Ibrahimovic – the footballer not the fashion designer – called Zlatan.

The deal is on a different scale but uses the same business model to grow revenues in the perfume. I.e. The licensing business model has a future for all types of businesses, small and large.

Sport is entertainment – watch this space! 30th September

Usain Bolt did it again; three times. It’s been said and written many times in the press but, this time, it is more unexpected and therefore truer than ever before: Usain Bolt is Superman. He has won three gold medals and two individual world titles; he always delivers and has the superpower to win the hearts of the public and the press.
As a fan of both Usain and Clark my big frustration was not to be able to find and buy a single piece of official, co-branded merchandise featuring both characters. Next chance Rio 2016?

Whilst Usain was getting ready for his Beijing festival some 10,000 km away it was revealed that LeBron James and Warner Bros. had come together – a basketball player and a studio full of characters partnering in the context of increasing consumer demand for sport & entertainment packages. What’s up Doc?

In the meantime, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour have been busy selling in and out co-branded sport & entertainment merchandise featuring Star Wars, Tom & Jerry, Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, Superman and Looney Tunes. That’s what I call a trend. Watch this space!

Bruno will be moderating the panel discussion at BLE ‘Winning Licensing Strategies: where can growth come from?’ An expert panel will discuss trends and future growth strategies, such as the convergence of sport and entertainment, from the point of view of consumer, IP owner, manufacturer and retailer.

Wednesday 14th October, 11:30 – 12:10 in the Brands & Lifestyle Theatre.

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