Licensing is a State of Mind

Posted by Tony Bugg on May 15, 2015

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I have been in licensing for most of my career and during this time there has been thousands of product and promotional activations, which have used brands as their motivation. Many have experienced great success and others have failed miserably.

We often ask ourselves why?

Licensing can often be a ‘State of Mind’ The most high profile and hottest brand is not always the one that is right for you.

Careful thought must be given when considering the application of intellectual property to any product or service. A good or bad experience with licensing can often be influenced by understanding how it works and why it works.

A careful analysis of every deal is essential to the outcome of a licensing program. Licensing programs, which fail, are usually victims of a lack of understanding of the process.

It got me thinking about some of the examples of programs that have used the process to it’s best potential.

Example –  Whitman’s Chocolates.

OBJECTIVE – From 1996 to 1998, Whitman’s Chocolates launched an airship campaign in Australia. A popular brand in America, Whitman’s was a relatively unknown brand to the Australian marketplace. Reputable chocolate distributor Cadbury was considered the market leader in Australia during this time and Whitman’s airship campaign was devised to give Cadbury some major competition.

EXECUTION – Eighty percent of Whitman’s budget went toward the airship program, and the rest was used to execute complementary in store retail activations on the ground below. Their blimp also provided aerial broadcasting coverage to major sporting events, allowing them to reach consumers well outside the immediate area.

RESULT – Within three years of the launch, Whitman’s Chocolates achieved $25 million turnover and established themselves as the market leader in the category. Product sales expectations were exceeded by 240%.

Whitman’s was a traditional brand of chocolates in the USA dating back as far as 1842.

The Australian distributor who conceived the program with Whitman’s though carefully about how they could bring this brand into our market. Cadbury was the dominant brand at the time therefore the plan needed to be well conceived to have any chance of success.

The results outlined above are testimony to having a clear understanding as to how and why it works and having a backing that up with a quality product or service.