Research for Licensing and Branding Decisions

Your company may be synonymous with your products (Coca-Cola, Martha Stewart) or it may be a corporate name that doesn’t relate directly to consumer brands, but is a holding company for a collection of brands  (Lifetime Brands, Spectrum Brands).  Regardless of your situation, you need to manage your portfolio of brands just as you manage your portfolio of products.  To excel in today’s market place each brand needs a unique identity that compels consumers.  Ideally, you will have a well-developed identity statement which includes brand attributes descriptive of the essence of each of your brands so that all of your employees understand what each brand stands for and where each brand is permitted to go.  It all starts within the company.

Licensed brands should be managed just as house brands are.  As existing entities they should bring recognizable benefits to your brand portfolio.  They should connote and support their products in unique ways:  quality, price/value positioning, prestige, design/style, technological capabilities, etc.  Regardless of the particulars, brands should convey attributes or characteristics that position the brands in consumers’ minds.  That positioning should be clear and complimentary to the other brands your company offers. 

Research can help you through every aspect of branding and licensing.  Here are just some of the branding questions research can answer:

  • Does a potential brand or license have a strong enough following?  How many people are aware of the brand?  How many have purchased it?  How many express willingness to purchase it?  (If these percentages are low, you might not want to get involved with this brand.  Or, at least, you shouldn’t pay too much for it.  How many times have you walked the housewares show and seen a new chef license and never heard of the chef?  How much business does a little known chef bring to a company?)
  • What do consumers know about the brand/person/institution/character etc. that you are licensing?  What do they think of it?  Do they like this person or thing or name?  Do they care about it even if they do know it?  (Not every well-known person/brand/character, etc. is liked.) 
  • How is the brand/person/institution positioned price and quality-wise?  Is it complementary to your basket of offerings?  (If this entity is not currently associated with products, how do you define where it belongs price-wise?)
  • Does the potential brand/license bring a new consumer franchise to your portfolio?  If not, how much of its revenue will be incremental and how much will cannibalize your existing business?  (We can calculate that mathematically and you can plug the results into your profit projections.)
  • Will the potential brand/license deliver an opportunity to develop new business in new product categories that your current brands don’t have the ability to deliver on now. 

All of the above can be addressed through research.  Call us today to learn how to reduce your risk and maximize your return on your branding and licensing efforts.