Louise French, associated VP at the Beanstalk agency explains how digital licenses are introducing changes in an industry still very focused on entertaining. The Beanstalk Group, agency with offices in Europe, America and Asia, also has licensing programmes for properties targeting adults, with brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Stanley Black & Decker, and Ford Motor Company.
Which are the main trends in licensing addressed to the adult target?
Beanstalk is consistently evaluating market needs and adjusting its business according to areas of opportunity. Most recently Beanstalk has become very active in the area of licensing digital entertainment brands, which has fast become one of the most dynamic areas of licensing today, addressing both adults and children. Beanstalk was one of the first agencies to enter this space, signing app phenomenonTalking Friends, tween social network MovieStarPlanet and most recently the hugely popular interactive game Doodle Jump.
We continue to see strong demand for British fashion brands in licensing both domestically in the UK where brands such as Jenny Packham and Temperley have recently launched diffusion lines with high street retailers Debenhams and John Lewis respectively, but also internationally, particularly in the Far East where there is consistent consumer demand for brands such as Jaguar, Burberry and Aquascutum, each of which portray a lifestyle that appeals to the target market.
There is significant growth in food and drink brand licensing as this sector of the industry follows in the footsteps of North American where brands such as Coca-Cola who have long since recognised the opportunity to grow and diversify through brand licensing. Jack Daniel’s have enjoyed retail success across Europe with their licensed range of Barbeque Sauces and Confectionery items, as have many food, beverage, celebrity chef and restaurant brands. We can expect to see lots more activity in this sector in the near future as brands look at additional opportunities to interact with consumers in their everyday lives.
Any brand can be licensed? Which are the basic requisites to do so?
Beanstalk examines four key factors in evaluating a brand’s potential to license:
– An emotional connection with consumers
– A market gap or trend
– A unique point of difference vis-à-vis competitor brands
– Consumer and market permission
Each potential new client is evaluated individually against these key criteria in order to establish its licensing viability.
What factors need to be taking into account when extending a brand into other categories?
Beanstalk has a measured, strategic approach to extending brands into additional categories which enhance the brand’s existing business. It is vital that categories considered are close-to-core natural extensions which reflect the brand’s values and at the same time recognise the market opportunity. At the same time the licensing business model requires any category opportunity to be commercially viable for the licensee.
The Stanley Black & Decker programme is one of the most seamless examples of licensing in the industry today. Stanley’s iconic yellow and black branding is recognised and trusted by professional DIY enthusiasts and consumers around the world regardless of whether they are purchasing the core hand tools or a licensed product such as garden tools or industrial wipes.
Social network and game MovieStarPlanet is an incredibly creative environment where tweens can explore different looks and styles on their avatar while also interacting with their friends to create their very own movies. The breadth of potential to expand this creative environment has been recognised by leading children’s publisher Egmont Kids who launched the official All About MovieStarPlanet magazine autumn 2012 accompanied by an official guide to the world. They are joined by Fipotex for children’s apparel across Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Scandecor for the back-to-school category and Deform for stationery in Poland.
One of the brands you manage is the Talking Friends app. Do you think that we will see more properties coming from virtual worlds, apps and the internet?
Beanstalk has been at the heart of an explosion in digital entertainment properties extending into consumer products industry over the past 24 months. Digital has shaken up the licensing industry, and many of the leading entertainment properties of tomorrow, and indeed today, are born of digital properties such as Talking Friends, Angry Birds, MovieStarPlanet, Moshi Monsters and Doodle Jump. As consumers continue to become comfortable with accessible, sophisticated technology, more properties will make this leap. Children have access to electronic devices at a much younger age, and many do not see a difference between the character on their tablet and the character on their television – it is all entertainment to them.
Talking Friends expansion into consumer products has been phenomenal with 21 licensees currently in the programme spanning plush, apparel, accessories, stationery and back to school. Product such as licensees Dragon-I and Sound ‘n’ Light have developed plush toys of Talking Tom and Talking Ben which encapsulate the features of the virtual characters which allow consumers to enjoy the appeal of the apps in tangible product.
Beanstalk was announced as exclusive UK agent at Brand Licensing Europe 2012 for Doodle Jump which has been recognised by Apple as the third all-time top paid app. Beanstalk has already secured Blues Clothing to develop a range of childrenswear for the brand and is in discussions with retailers and licensees for further categories including adult apparel, stationery, health and beauty and home décor.
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