Are you ready to license your brand?
03 March 2015
Are you really ready to be a licensor? What are the key questions you need to ask before committing your brand and your business to the process?
With more than 24 years’ experience in the sector, Marilu Corpus, Chief Executive Officer of Click! Licensing Asia, one of Asia’s leading brand management companies, is confident she knows the answer to both questions. Speaking at the recent Asian Licensing Conference, she highlighted a number of issues that both brands and licensors need to address:
Where are we now? What are the strengths and weaknesses of our brand? Who are our competitors and what we need to do to outperform them?
Where do we want to be? You need to determine the vision and direction for the brand for the next 5-10 years. Bear in mind, it is difficult for a brand that is positioned at the low-end of the market to reinvent itself as a high-end proposition.
What territory do you want to target? Is this territory a good fit for your brand? What are the major differences in terms of culture, tradition, religion and language? Overall, does the size of the market merit the investment?
The registration of the trademark and the associated copyright issues.
Ensure an understanding of the relevant fiscal and monetary requirements, such as tax rates, exchange rates and remittance restrictions.
Ensure the master licensee and other appointed agents are equipped with the appropriate basic and seasonal style guides.
Make sure the brand is supported through relevant marketing activities.
Develop an understanding of individual cultural nuances and business norms.
Provide legal support to help counter any rights infringement.
Maintain the brand’s sustainability.
Identify the resources need to properly implement any agreed strategy.
Instead of establishing a dedicated office, Corpus believes licensors should consider appointing an agent to manage the licensing business. Such licensing agents, assuming they have the appropriate experience in the retail sector, should come with an established network. This should allow them to easily start work on behalf of a brand and give it immediate access to its associates and affiliates. The appropriate level of compensation for an agent is typically in the realm of 5-12%.
In terms of identifying an appropriate agent, Corpus also suggested a number of key criteria.
Need to demonstrate a good understanding of the licensing business, from negotiation to retail.
Have the ability to nurture a network of licensees and licensing agents.
Have good negotiation skills in order to secure optimal royalties.
Have strong marketing skills and provide input to the licensor with regard to appropriate activities for ensuring brand sustainability.
When choosing a licensing agent, Corpus also believes it is important to establish their prior experience, including the brands they have worked for and the nature of the support they have previously provided.
Marilu Corpus has 24 years’ experience in international licensing and marketing. She was the first Asian Director of the International Licensing Industry and Merchandisers' Association (LIMA).