Brand & lifestyle licensing is increasingly an area of focus for many companies. It is a lucrative space presenting broader business options & multiple opportunities. The 1st part of this comprehensive briefing investigates key trends & developments while analysing contemporary success stories across a range of industries. The 2nd part highlights opportunities & key challenges while providing recommendations on how to succeed in today’s ever-more overcrowded and fiercely competitive marketplace.
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Brand and lifestyle licensing is mutually beneficial to both licensors and licensees. While the brand owner/licensor benefits from generating a new revenue stream, increasing their brand awareness, and expanding into new product categories, geographies as well as retail channels; the licensee generates a new revenue stream at the same time as having the association with the brand name, and differentiating its offerings from competitors.
P&G is the world’s biggest licensor across fmcg companies in brand/trademark licensing earning a substantial USD3 billion in licensed merchandise sales in 2016. The key brands that drive licensing for P&G include Febreze, Vicks, Braun and Mr. Clean. Its well-known household brand Febreze now expands well beyond its core air fresheners category through brand licensing from air filters, carpet powders, spot and stain removers to vacuum bags and filters fans, bedding, kitchen bags and even cat litter.
While cutting across all demographics and regions, brand and lifestyle licensing penetrates many aspects of industries perhaps more so fashion. Its appeal as well as advantages are widely recognised. While doing so, collaborating with renowned designers could potentially give brand and lifestyle franchises a competitive advantage. Recent examples include MTV and Marc Jacobs, Kellogg’s and Peter Alexander, and Coca-Cola and Kit Neale partnerships. In 2017, Corona and Chupa Chups both launched licensed apparel collections inspired by the athleisure trend which has been the driver of the apparel industry alongside fast fashion.
Packaged food is a big growth area for brand and lifestyle licensing presenting good opportunities as only a fraction of products are licensed. Shelf space stability makes the industry very attractive. Diageo has been rather active expanding its Baileys and Guinness franchises, while Men’s Health, a magazine brand, extended its food lines considerably in recent years. By and large, brand and lifestyle licensing businesses are recommended to focus on the health trend, yoghurt and savoury snacks categories being particularly highlighted by industry sources with good potential to target.
Flavour and scent alignment make lip products an ideal target especially for licensors in soft drinks looking to expand into beauty and personal care. Past examples would include Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi and Tango. While Kellogg’s, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Tango all have launched licensed bath and shower merchandise ranges; Chupa Chups and Cheetos extended into makeup. Make-up is a category where trends are more ephemeral in nature and it is therefore in need of constant innovations and product launches to keep consumers interested. Thus, manufacturers in this category could be more open to licensing as potential licensees.
As consumers increasingly lead busy and demanding lives, many turn to extra help to get them through the day. Vitamins, therefore, could potentially be a good choice for businesses who are keen to expand such as Men’s Health has done with its extensive range. Gold’s Gym entered the industry with its protein powder line in 2017.