How is Firefox expanding through licensing?

Post the licensing agreement with Swiss Military for urban bikes, Firefox is looking to add licensed accessories to its offerings, reveals Ajit Gandhi.
Ajit Gandhi

Firefox Bikes, a bicycle manufacturer known for its leisure bikes is expanding its footprint across India and targets its products at high-income salaried groups, corporate professionals, kids and young parents. The brand aims to build a culture of cycling and aims to get 25 per cent growth from Swiss Military deal, which is the first deal after Hero Cycles acquired Firefox bikes, asserted Ajit Gandhi, Marketing Head for Firefox Bikes.

Excerpts:

What market potential do you see for cycles as a segment of Retail?

Currently the market potential for urban bikes is increasing and we tap that category. Because of even-odd, pollution, health reasons etc, the culture of cycling is expanding day by day, but majorly in urban or premium segment. The basic models of cycle used for commuting is somehow stagnant. We feel 25-30 per cent growth is manageable and sellable in the times to come.

Tell us about the agreement with Swiss Military.

Swiss Military is a brand which is related to outdoor activities and same attitude is what we are projecting with Firefox Bikes. We’d be targeting adult category while introducing 4 models initially which will co-branded as the style guide and colour theme of Swiss Military joined with Firefox Bikes. Further, depending upon the response we receive, we will launch two more models.

We are also thinking about some accessories by Swiss Military that complementing our products. We are hoping for mutual benefits through this deal. The deal is royalty based.

This deal between Firefox Bikes and Swiss Military was initiated long ago, but has been finalized some time ago. What has been the reason of this delay? 

The delay happened due to some internal changes as our company has been taken over by Hero Cycles, though there is no change in the mode of working and we continue to operate as a separate brand.

The only change is that with the resources of Hero cycles, we will have deeper pockets to spend up on marketing and will get additional support in drafting campaigns with their expertise. As of now we are looking it as a win-win situation. Firefox operates on franchise module for premium products and the dealer network for Hero cycles is entirely different.

What kind of benefit are you looking at from this deal?

With the recent agreement, we are looking at people who’d have a brand attraction towards Swiss Military and we are hoping for incremental sales of 20 to 25 per cent with this deal. Also we are open for a lot of cross promotions, brands licensing for more categories.

How has been your experience with licensing?

We have been a part of licensing industry from past 7 to 8 years. The initial brand we took was Popeye for kids’ category followed by MTV that is very popular brand among youth. And now we have been a licensee to Superman, Batman, Tweety, Tom & Jerry from Warner Brother’s portfolio.

I feel how brand licensing benefits this segment is that it is a re-imaginary or the recall that a brand creates. A kid may just walk into the store and choose a bike with Superman embossed on it, merely on basis of the brand recall value.

According to you, how can retailers benefit from licensing?

Usage of graphics and promotions are something that benefit a retailer. For instance, when we launched MTV bikes, Ranvijjay, Bani and all the VJs of MTV came and promoted the products. So there are a lot of benefits right from incremental sales to promotions, accessibility to quick brand recognition, along with marketing support that licensing deals come along with.

Swiss Military is already planning some outlets, which will offers as additional visibility. In nutshell, possibilities are endless, all it depend upon how actively the licensor plays the role.

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