“Finding a great partner key to success in licensing”

Global Icon’s Jeff Lotman’s keynote at Licensing Week Virtual was a trip down memory lane. He summarized his journey in licensing from the early years when people thought it was about “dogs & marriages” to present day, when brands are waking up to the power of this “invisible marketing” force capable of delivering its bang for the buck. His key note was filled with anecdotal references and salutations for some of his favourite partnerships and licensing programs.

Riffing off his latest book release “Invisible Marketing – A hidden tool for connecting with customers through licensing” While some executions worked brilliantly for the brand, others left consumers confused and dis-satisfied. For example: California Pizza Kitchen’s frozen pizzas and Burger King venturing into frozen foods

His advice was that brand extensions need to deliver equal or better quality.

According to Lotman, sometimes you have to turn down opportunities to maintain the brands credibility in the marketplace. He shared an example of Wolfgang Puck who turned down a potentially very lucrative deal to do kitchen furniture as it didn’t fit in with his brand DNA and core proposition.

He gave examples of brands like Arm & Hammer, Caterpillar and Mustang who successfully managed to deliver brand extentions that re-inforced the core brand proposition and won the consumers heart & wallet.

He also talked about how Licensors should always be “Mining for Gold” or “Finding the White Space” to maximise return on their efforts. One such example which would be worth considering by Indian poultry brands is “diaper wrapping” of meat products and how branding the same could make so much of a difference.

Another great example of a product which found its winning formula was Crockpots which when it was released as a range of seasonings got displayed in a different place in the supermarket altogether and saw an impact on sales.

He stressed on the importance of finding the Right Partner to work with and create the right mix for the consumer. Its not about the short-term revenue but the long-term partnership. He implored licensors to support their licensees, as they were the ones doing the hard-work to build the brand.

Finally, he touched on the importance of having a proper contract in place to support the “hand-shakes” at coffee shops.