Licensing 101

You have a brand. You have a profitable brand. You have a profitable brand with a substantial following. You want to extend your brand into other product categories. How do you go about this?


Well if you have endless amounts of capital, then you can start a new division of your company and begin development, manufacturing, marketing, and sales of the new product category. Alas, many companies do not have the resources or the know-how to break ground in this exciting new territory. Do you know how to create a mold for sunglasses? Or an innovative last for footwear?


Licensing has become an important, powerful, and effective marketing vehicle for an increasing number of companies. How? Through licensing, companies are able to extend beyond their core competency into new product categories, generating additional revenue streams, expanding consumer awareness (vis a vis the new products), and reinforcing brand image.


On the flip side, manufacturers are investing in licensing well known marks because using an established brand name on a new category of goods creates an instantly desirable product. If the manufacturer were to launch a generic, in house brand it would take lots of time and money to establish the goodwill that the established brand has already earned. Additionally, consumers are willing to pay a premium for a branded product rather than generic or un-branded product.


Where to Start:


  • Review the primary objectives of your brand
  • Review consumer demographics
  • Analyze brand assets including logos, graphics and others which may be utilized on licensed products
  • Evaluate market conditions and opportunities in categories deemed appropriate for licensing
  • Collect, review and evaluate materials and data regarding the brand’s identity, image, positioning and popularity. This material may be used to “pitch” the brand to prospective licensees
  • Identify potential licensees in selected product categories and pitch pitch pitch!
  • Review specific licensee proposals and marketing plans
  • Negotiate license agreements with prospective licensees

It doesn’t stop there; once you have a fully executed license agreement you will, for starters:


  • Begin product development with the licensee
  • Continue to build, securing licensees in a strategic manner
  • Work with retailers to establish strong presence in the marketplace and support licensees
  • Make sure licensees attend key trade shows
  • Monitor the marketplace for infringing products and coordinate anti-counterfeiting efforts
  • And last but not least, earn licensing revenues

Susan Chung / Licensing Consultant /