Macmerise is a brand that believes in giving gadgets a distinct identity so that apart from the functional benefits that technology accessories offer, they can also act as a medium to express one’s personal style. For example, all phones of a selected model look the same; it’s the case or cover that acts as a differentiator. Each product, under its range of personalised accessories, is designed to serve this purpose. As the company’s website says, “We love designs and believe that superior design aesthetics can make a product look different and fashionable, while ensuring its durability and longevity.” In this interview, Binal Shah, Marketing Director, Macmerise Celfie Design elaborates on the operational strategies of the brand.

How do you see licensing as an effective expansion strategy?

Globally, the kinds of properties that are doing well are Marvel, DC, Disney, and such others. The response India gives for these movies is how one understands the capabilities of a character and mass appeal it has generated. With licensing in terms of gadget accessories, what we are trying to do is tap the customers who want to express themselves through these characters. Gone are the days when merchandising was limited. Now, merchandising has opened a lot of scope for creativity. For every gadget an individual owns, there are about 4-5 accessories bought along with it.

We provide the customers with these accessories and make them stand out through our designs. We want to give people maximum options, be it licensed merchandise or our own creations. Any customer in India should believe he or she has access to anything that the global pop culture market has to offer. The consumer is much more aware now and would like to buy licensed merchandise instead of counterfeits.

How many IPs do you currently have in your portfolio? Are there any other properties you are looking to acquire?

We have more than 25 properties at the moment. In the character and entertainment space we have Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Star Wars, and more. In sports and fashion we have Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Payal Singhal and Masaba Gupta, to name a few.

How can we effectively bridge the gap between licensor and licensee expectations?

I feel India is a special market considering the kind and number of people or companies we deal with. Licensors should give a licensee an individual breakout point in terms of what the individual specifications for a licensee are. There shouldn’t be a generic rulebook for every licensee as they are dealing with different sorts of products and operate with different approaches. Effective communication is very important and helping with networking as a licensor also goes long ways. The idea is for both to have a common goal and for them to work towards achieving it together.

What are the factors propelling the growth of the licensing and merchandising industry in India?

With everything being online these days, everybody is very aware of what’s in. The scenario today is that anything that’s available in the US can also be made available in India. Now, because of this awareness there is a growing demand and then there are people like us who want to fulfil these demands.

Social media has created a lot of parity in terms of trends; anything hyped in the West will end up being a trend in India as well. The transition time for trends to come through in India has also reduced significantly. Now, our play here is that we pick up what is in trend and add value to it in accordance with the Indian market. Lastly, massive success of popular properties themselves makes the merchandise aspirational.

Could you elaborate about your performance through last year?

The last year of Macmerise was pretty good. We associated with Hamleys so that consumers can now buy products offline as well. We are trying to build strategic alliances to increase the touch-points of Macmerise being available to people offline. We have worked very closely with a lot of brands and did a lot of co-branding this past year. We focused towards deeper penetration and getting through to a larger audience. We have also increased our product range by introducing LED headphones and charging cables, Bluetooth speaker and ‘XScreen’ – an invisible liquid which acts as a screen guard. We are the only distributors for XScreen in India.

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