The Case for a Flattened Curve
The licensing industry loves sizzle. And who can blame us? Being at the center of a big blockbuster or part of the frenzy of a franchise that has licensees and retailers knocking down your door is exciting. I would be lying to say it isn’t, but being part of those super-sensations is not the only way to be successful and profitable in this industry. In fact, what I love even more about this industry is that there are so many opportunities for success beyond the sizzle—and that doesn’t mean having to settle for a “less than” license. It means understanding how classic brands perform and what benefits there are in that approach that can set your sales on fire!
Tried-and-true brands deliver year-over-year and outlive trend after trend because THAT is what evergreen properties do better than anyone else. Designed to perform every day of every year, time-tested brands return at consistent levels, driving impressive results over the long-term. In essence, we flatten the curve by avoiding both the high-highs and the low-lows, which grows licensor and licensee business in a meaningful, lasting way. This enables our partners to steady the ship and not have to figure out how to anniversary a mega hit license year over year, while still driving sustainable, profitable business.
Making the case for a flattened curve in a “what’s hot/what’s not” culture isn’t always easy. It demands being able to embrace the powerhouse potential of a tried-and-true brand that doesn’t go out of style. And it requires diving deep to look for the kinds of things that sustain evergreen brands through the dynamic cultural shifts from one generation to the next. The best performing time-tested brands will:
- Invite existing fans as well as a new generation of consumers to take a closer look.
- Stand for timeless values.
- Spend as much effort working toward future promise as reflecting on a rich heritage.
- Actively engage consumers—through social, at retail, via events and in the media—in new and contemporary ways.
Remember that great ad campaign “Perception vs. Reality?” We evergreen brands feel ya, Rolling Stone! The perception is the best licenses are the hottest ones, the newest ones, the ones that are specially designed to appeal to millennials. We have to continually challenge our partners and would-be partners to look deeper, proving that perception isn’t reality.
- Is that license too old to appeal to millennials? Look closely. See how the best of the evergreen brands are finding ways to engage these new brand fans—whether it’s through differentiated product mix, updated styling, contemporary palettes or a combination of all of the above.
- Is that license still going to sell at retail? Take a look and see what’s holding onto that ever-more-difficult-to-get shelf space and what’s turning over season after season. You’ll see a lot of classic brands on that short list.
- Is that license going to help me grow my business? Be picky. Be bold. But also be realistic. Not everyone is built for big in-and-out business every season or every year. Classic licenses can give you the strength of a global powerhouse brand without the ups and downs.Find the right brand and it can bring everything into balance for your organization, helping you become a top-selling brand at retail well beyond one hot season and into a sizzling year-over-year sales plan.