Becoming a “licensee” allows brands the opportunity to extend into a new category or industry, modernize, stay relevant and build upon their brand value. When choosing the right licensing opportunity and when implemented effectively, it can have tremendous benefits. As of late, we’ve seen this with Minion-mania. It’s been said that Universal will make more off of licensed products than the Minions movie that just came out in July. Sounds tempting, right? But before jumping in, let’s take a step back and evaluate licensing.
The way I see it, licensing is a very personal tool used by brands. I often think of it as a relationship. Two people joining as one and representing what each other stands for. You look to benefit from each other, you meet each other’s friends and as a couple you work together to make each other happy. But unlike a relationship, you have the opportunity to plan for success prior to creating the partnership.
Here are five guidelines for brands to keep in mind when thinking of entering a (licensed) relationship:
What are you looking to get out of this?
Licensing should be used as a strategic business tool. Brands that want to license someone else’s intellectual property should take a step back and understand what exactly they want out of this new relationship. Don’t just think of the why it is financially worth the investment, but instead and most importantly, how it is adding value to your brand.
Know your partner.
While the brand you want to license is a big hit and seems like a no-brainer, you must do your homework. Is there anything in the brand’s past that would be harmful to yours? Has that brand been plastered all over other products? You don’t want to become a “me-too” brand that’s just finding an easy win. Consider if the licensed brand has become diluted or is at the end of its popularity.
What emotions will be evoked?
Brands elicit emotions in consumers. Think about the reaction you want at shelf and how that ties to your product. Does your soda brand with the Minions on it evoke a fun, Friday-night pizza party? Or a mischievous child that’s out of control? Predict how your consumers will relate to the partnership.
While it might sound like a good bargaining tool for mom, Minions on cleaning products is probably stretching it. Make sure to have an evident connection between your brand and the licensed brand. It needs to be a partnership that doesn’t feel forced and easily allows consumers to understand why they are associated.
Keep your target audiences in mind.
You have your current or primary consumers that you’d like to keep loyal, but the licensing opportunity gives you the chance to reach a secondary target. You’ve caught their eye and can start building new consumer recognition and affinity. Let the brand you license step up and attract that secondary target as long as it doesn’t alienate your current consumers.
While you have the opportunity to plan for success before entering the partnership, keep in mind that it will most likely be for a limited time. Ensure that you get the most out of that time by keeping your brand strategy front and center, aligning on all levels at all times. Because let’s face it, Minions come and Minions go, but your brand is here to stay.