An interesting session on ‘Licensing for Success’ was organised on the second day of Ficci-Frames. The speakers were Cartoon Network director for India and South Asia, Jiggy George, and Archies Comics president for licensing at LIMA, Steve R. Herman.
Herman said, “Licensing is fixing a popularity of awareness of a property to a product. Its objective is to increase its perceived value to its customer. There are various types of licensing like lifestyle licensing, trade licensing, celebrity licensing, sports licensing, entertainment licensing etc. Licensing works well.” Herman oversees all licensing and merchandising activities for the company's world-renowned cast of characters, including Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and their Riverdale friends, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, Katy Keene and The Mighty Crusaders.
He explained as to why it works? “It works because it adds value along the distribution chain. The retailers also add value to the chain. Licensing work is for protection of copyrights. The top licensing products are in entertainment category like audio games, music/video. Entertainment properties will continue to be source of licensing.”
Chipping in George said, “Licensing is like a lease agreement. Owners allow manufacturers to use property, characters. The different types pf licensing is corporate licensing, for example Caterpillar which is worth $900 million. Then there is fashion corporate licensing like McKids-Mcdonald that has extended its portfolio to children’s clothes called McKids. Another good example is Kellogg’s. In the field of entertainment licensing, Barney is a good example which is a $3.5 million industry, and while sports licensing, the examples are Nike, Adidas, Chicago Bulls etc. ESPN has a fully-dedicated zone called ESPN Zone. In celebrity licensing, we have people like the late Elvis Presley.”
Stating that the first step to licensing is a check-list on brands to extend the value chain model, he said, “the Power Puff Girls is a good example. We build these properties on air and do lot of in ground events. It’s important to define a brand whether it’s an educational, fashion or action. It is important to personify the brand in the demographics, image, storylines and graphics. Money is not only the important factor.”
George further explained that the objectives of licensing were brand awareness and reinforcing the brand image. It’s important to protect trademark and avoid infringement. Another way was to do test-marketing a new country or region. It helps in repositioning or relaunching a brand. A good example is Samsonite, which in the past was just a suitcase brand now it’s a travel brand. It’s important to make the brand available to a larger audience. Benetton is another good example.
He further explained that strategic calls for licensing are timing or extent for licensing. “Selection of categories is important whether it’s targeting a boy or a girl. The product availability is catering to mass/premium. Gali Gali Sim Sim is a good example.”
“It’s important to get good support from brand, license. We’ve a team of people working on the product development. Then there is VM assistance and then show goes on air,” he said.
George also spoke on brand construct and what brand Pogo stands for? The three pillars are humour, fun and imagination. “There are categories that fit very well with the Pogo Toys. We then launched Pogo Wheels. We did the first-ever Pogo Wheels promotional licensing with the Jumping drink. We launched a theme park of Pogo kids in New Delhi three months ago. Mad is another example where we extended the brand to DVD, stationary, etc. It’s important that a brand extends itself to licensing,” he said.