Life Is a Marathon Not a Sprint
When I began my career in licensing almost two decades ago, I distinctly recall the head of my department saying to me, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” He said it in response to my desire to grow and get ahead as quickly as possible. In hindsight, he was definitely right!
When I first launched Jenerosity Marketing, I wrote a post about setting everything up for my company before launching to ensure its success. Now nine months in, I find that this is true in building my Clients’ business as well.
As most of you already know, licensing is not easy and sales are not made overnight. With an enormous range of available brands and a dearth of shelf space, both manufacturers and retailers are erring on the side of caution when taking on new brands. As a result, finding the right partners could take a very long time. Plus, you need to make sure to develop the brand’s foundation before you even start pitching!
Questions to ask include:
· What is the brand positioning?
· What sets this brand (and associated product) apart from all the other brands already out there?
· What are you going to do in terms of marketing to support and build the brand?
You need to create marketing materials – sell sheets, trailers, sales decks – and you need to create an initial target list of companies to contact. It would be smart (I would argue, critical) in today’s environment to develop a social media strategy and start to implement it as quickly as possible. It’s also important to design a style guide and artwork to share, as that is sure to be one of the key questions you get asked.
Once all of that is completed (which could take a while, in and of itself!), you can start reaching out to potential partners. And more often than not, the first things they are going to ask are who else you have on board or which retailers have expressed interest. If you have a great story to tell, you want to start reaching out to retailers pretty early on to be able to address this question when it is raised. But most retailers won’t even give you the time of day if you don’t already have built-in awareness or a deeply loyal audience.
So, I guess my point is that building up a licensing program around a new (or re-launched) brand takes time, strategy and perseverance. It won’t happen overnight and it definitely won’t happen by accident. It will require quite a bit of planning and some very specific steps to make it happen. Are you ready to take that on???