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Back when my days were filled with managing a licensing portfolio on the inbound side, I spent the vast majority of my time courting well-known licensors with tried-and-true brands. Sales would say:

“We need Disney. We need Star Wars. We need the Beatles. We need Coca-Cola. Where are we with the NFL? Major League Baseball?”

And this makes sense. Whenever I look around at key retailers, I still see the same big properties and licensors on display that were big when I began my career. So, why on earth might you want to license a brand that hasn’t been proven at retail?

  1. To land that ever elusive, exclusive deal
  2. To capture a new fan base
  3. To further differentiate your brand or company from competitors
  4. To catch or even lead a trend
  5. To keep your team engaged – if they love the property, they just might be on to something
  6. To round out your licensed brand portfolio
  7. To get into a new channel of distribution or category
  8. To shoot it over the moon like Angry Birds
  9. To show your own value at bringing amazing goods to market
  10. To keep consumers coming back to see what’s next

That said, the decision-making process must be solid. You need to ask yourself, does this brand fit into the mix with your other brands or your design team’s sensibilities? Can you see it merchandised at retail? Where? And sometimes, the outcome just might surprise you.

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