Making Sure Your Brand Extension Makes Sense - Part II
Almost a year ago, we wrote an article stating that licensed products should be a logical extension of your brand. In the past couple of months, we have started seeing licenses that make us wonder whether we all need a refresher on the concept.
At Licensing Show a couple of weeks ago, I walked by a booth announcing that WikiLeaks was now available for licensing. Not only was there a presence on the showroom floor, but I found myself reading about it in trade publications and saw signage announcing the new IP. Upon returning from the show, a contact sent me some information on X-acto. You know? The handheld cutting instrument you use to open sealed boxes. Apparently, they are looking for brand extensions and promotions as well.
And a few months ago, an article in License Magazine described two new licensed products deals for the Waste Management brand. As I read the, albeit short, article, I thought “why does this need to be licensed and is it even worth the time, money and effort spent?” Now, there are some global brands that literally beg for licensed product – Coca-Cola, Star Wars, Hello Kitty, among others.
On the other hand, there are some brands that make you wonder “what were they thinking?!” Sometimes, the partnership doesn’t make much sense as was the case with Shaq Cream Sodas and Vespa fragrances. Other times, the entire idea of licensing the brand doesn’t seem to amount to much.
Think about if every single brand in the world decided to try to get into the licensing business. What would make sense for Scotch Tape? How about niche social media platform Reddit? And yet, it appears that there are now Reddit-branded firearms! Not to mention US Army-branded preschool toys. Talk about getting ‘em when they are young!
In my humble opinion, we shouldn’t be trying to license any old brand that has experienced its 15 minutes of fame, as sometimes the extensions are obviously forced. The costs and risks involved in licensing should warrant a pretty big upside, not just some mugs and t-shirts. But maybe I am missing something...