Article: Are you ready to license your brand?

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Designers Yasushi Kusume and Neil Gridley have helped lead design and brand management for the likes of Philips, Electrolux and Tesco. They are also the authors of Brand Romance, a guide to building a loved brand – we asked them to share their advice on the tricky issue of brand licensing.

In branding consultant Denise Lee Yohn’s recent piece for the Harvard Business Review ‘Think Differently About Protecting Your Brand’ she explains some of the benefits and challenges of licensing your brand.

Yohn singles out Disney’s recent licensing successes, in 2012 they made $39.3bn in retail sales of licensed merchandise alone, fuelled by popularity the Marvel Comics characters, notably the rebooted Spider-Man and Iron Man series.

Yohn also gives the counter example of Burberry, which saw its brand reputation plummet, diluted by more than 23 licencees around the world. Recent years have seen a dramatic turnaround at Burberry, in part because all production was brought back to the UK under the watchful eye of designer Christopher Bailey.
© thinkretail
Burberry saw profits soar after dramatically scaling back licencing

Licensing your brand effectively means giving another party the right to use your brand. In many cases this is through products and services that they can produce more easily than you, extending your touchpoints or adding to your propositions (product and service mix) ideally providing further brand relevance and preference.
© Andrew Becraft
Licensing its characters to toy manufacturers has been a huge success for Marvel

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