Licensing is a great startup strategy to increase your sales and marketing efforts without spending the time and money to do it on your own. This is the greatest use of OPR – other people’s resources.
One way is to use licensing to increase your awareness among your target customer or to reach new customers. A great example is character licensed products. Well known kids characters can boost the aesthetics (and appeal) of your product and drive sales. I experienced this first hand while I was at the studios. The marketing and selling power of both Batman and Power Rangers generated billions of dollars in worldwide sales of licensed products.
This strategy capitalizes on the consumer awareness of a well-known brand. Many types of product and service companies – consumer goods, entertainment, technology and others – spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting their core brand and creating a big consumer market.
Licensing lets you lease their brand equity, and use it to sell your products or services. You’ve got a lot of licensing options with this strategy. For example, licensing a well-known sports franchise brand let’s you take advantage of their broad consumer awareness among sports fans. You get the added benefit of live games and on going advertising without the cost.
I used this strategy with a client who invented a new portable “bar and grill entertainment center” that was ideal for tailgating. Rather than spending big money to try to promote it “generically”, I helped them license several big college and professional football team brands.
They branded the product with team logos and colors. Their products got immediate access to the big retailers, instant customer recognition, ongoing promotional support from the televised football games, and multiple “brand” promotions from the other licensing partners.
Licensing a bigger partner brand is also a way to tap directly into their product promotions and advertising campaigns, sometimes for little or no money. A few years ago I worked with a toy company and negotiated a license with a major studio for their animated movie releasing in the fall. To promote the movie, the studio wanted products to give away at the movie premier. In return for supplying some toys, my client got extensive media coverage in newspapers and on radio stations as part of the movie promotion.
Building market awareness and consumer demand is a very expensive undertaking. Especially if you are a small company or start-up with limited resources. Rather than building your brand from scratch, which is very expensive and time-consuming, you can tap into a big brands market visibility to promote your product or service. Sometimes that awareness is much more valuable, especially if you’re launching a new product. If you are looking for a way to launch your products or services without the big costs, then licensing might just be the right strategy to multiply your marketing dollars.
Rand Brenner is an IP professional whose passion is helping inventors, startups, and businesses of all sizes use licensing to turn their IP into income-producing products, services, and technologies. His decades of experience run the gamut from medical devices to food technology to consumer products. He’s licensed some of the biggest Hollywood entertainment blockbusters including the Batman Movies (1 and 2), and the number one kid’s action TV show, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rand speaks about licensing and is a featured speaker at investment conferences, trade shows, colleges, and startup events. He’s a published writer with articles appearing in several prestigious trade magazine including The Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India. Rand also mentors at the Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics and is a judge for their startup business plan competitions.