One trend affecting licensing in a huge way is the trend towards retailers and e-tail launching their own private label and made up brands all of which I’ll call “private label” . These private label brands rely largely on customers’ trust of the retailer offering these brands. They appear to be arms length brands and obviously bear the imprimatur of the retailer as they are on the shelves or sites. Such brands are offered across all categories from food and drink to apparel and footwear to electronics, etc., and at almost every level and channel of distribution.
In the case of purchases of products needed immediately — think car battery when your car is dead or thermometer when you think your child has a fever — the ability to make the sale of an unknown brand or store brand hinges on the fact that the customer is in a hurry and has shown his or her confidence in the retailer by coming to that store, rather than some other store. They won’t be leaving without what they need, even if they don’t know the brand, and they probably won’t go to a second store to comparison shop.
What does this have to do with licensing? It’s crowding out less desirable brands, licensed and not, and raising the standard for licensable brands and licensed products. If the consumer isn’t enamored of your brand, you’re no better than the private label brand for which the retailer pays less. To succeed as a licensed brand, you need to have strong relationships with consumers; stronger relationships than the retailer has are better still. Beyond that, you need to secure a licensee who can place and differentiate your products in the market. To succeed as a licensee, you need to provide features, value and benefits in excess of the private label brands. Short of that, the brand may support you for a little while, but probably not for long.
Alan Kravetz, President & COO
Alan has over 20 years’ experience successfully growing brands and monetizing intellectual property in the US, Europe and Asia. His experience includes licensing, franchising, business development, sales, marketing and law. As an executive at LMCA and in his other corporate roles he has worked with and led numerous licensing programs domestically and internationally including those for AT&T (Asia), Westinghouse, Tempur-Pedic, Rockport, Frye Boots, Rocky and Black Flag.
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