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Brand Licensing

Licensing’s Role In Brand Growth


Licensing's Role In Brand Growth

Licensing continues to be a powerful option for accelerating growth and extending the value of brands, making the decision to begin a licensing program a key consideration at strategy meetings worldwide. For those brands exploring licensing today and what impact it may deliver, consider the following.

Licensing is thriving. According to Global License Magazine, The Top 150 Global Licensors accounted for $259.9 billion in retail sales of licensed products worldwide in 2014 versus $251.8 billion in 2013.

To quote JFK; “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” This surely applies to the programs behind these impressive numbers. They approach licensing with purpose and commitment and share the following characteristics:

  • They are authentic to the brand. Packaging, product design language, brand messaging and quality all come in to play.
  • They are legitimate whereby the licensed product design and quality are aligned with the brand.
  • They are strategic, and clearly compliment core offerings.
  • The brand is fully engaged (i.e. not segmenting licensed products in an us and them mentality) as consumers will easily detect a lack of authenticity.
  • They are willing to evolve with trends and the times.
  • They understand it is their target customer that gives them permission where to extend and anchor the program in customer research.
  • They ensure the program is strategically managed by those that understand both licensing strategy and brand strategy.

Naturally, these best in class programs are in the best position to grow and gain from the full benefits of licensing:

Brand Building

  • Lower investment
  • Idea generation and filtering
  • Increased awareness and impressions
  • Increased penetration of core segment
  • Geographic and demographic footprint expansion
  • Better, more consistent measurement

Brand Monetization

  • New, more predictable revenue streams
  • Expertise sourcing a quicker time to market

Brand Protection

  • Protects trademarks in new channels and product classifications outside core product IC class

Metrics Of Success

Brand Building

Perception tracking

  • Measure qualitative perception through pre and post-action surveys
  • Set goals for specific attributes

Core market penetration

  • Client identifies core market; measure what percent of core market is engaging in product
  • Looking for overlap = measure of loyalty/trust

Extended reach/footprint

  • Index of new geographic and demographic market entry
  • Increase in store count and SKU count

Social conversation

  • Are these brand extensions increasing engagement?
  • Photo engagement with tangible products


  • In-store retail: doors, signage, traffic, in-store visibility
  • Post-purchase: life-cycle calculation (average usage over product lifespan X # of people who touch)

Brand Monetization


  • When licensing out, passive income stream obtained through distributor or licensee.
  • When licensing in, build new revenue through use of borrowed intellectual property.

Incremental sales

  • For example, how many people see something branded and later buy another branded product in-store or online? Consumers, when seeing quality licensed product may in fact be inspired to purchase more of the core product.

As you can see licensing offers an attractive range of benefits. The reality is that those are reserved for brands with programs that are designed for success. The Blake Project offers a brand licensing workshop to help brand owners develop a strategy for licensing or refine an existing one. Another way we serve our  clients is through a Brand Licensing Audit which is an essential guide in considering, building and/or fine tuning a program. Please email us for more about how your brand can benefit from licensing.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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