Brilliance of Licensing

Being involved in the international licensing business for over 30 years, Kelvyn Gardner, MD, LIMA- UK is now among the stalwarts of licensing. He has been named in the 'Top Twenty' most influential people in UK licensing for the last four years. He share
Kelvyn Gardner

Being involved in the international licensing business for over 30 years, Kelvyn Gardner, MD, LIMA- UK is now among the stalwarts of licensing. He has been named in the ‘Top Twenty’ most influential people in UK licensing for the last four years. He shares his insights on retail and licensing. 
 
Aparna Sharon Isa Dass (ASID): How important is Brand Licensing for a brand house?
Kelvyn Gardner (KG): Well the world is split between companies that believe in licensing and actually pursue licensing. I know a few who are scared of licensing as they feel that it might damage the brand name and get haunted by the repercussions. At LIMA we believe if it’s managed properly no damage is likely to happen. So we like to encourage all brand houses to make a mark in brand licensing as well. Usually once they embrace it and see the success it becomes highly important for them to associate with the idea.  

ASID: Is it necessary for retailers to get into brand licensing to promote their name?
KG: I would not say that every brand has to get into brand licensing. Big or small, each retailer or brand is pure to what they do and their establishment. However, the act of brand licensing can strengthen their existence and help them create healthy competition in the market and to a certain extent help protect them from counterfeit. Say for instance, you might be in the prominent perfumery business but not in the watch business – licensing a watch with your brand may protect you from competition in this area later. 

ASID: So in one way we talked about the benefits about brand licensing, are there any drawbacks that you could mention?
KG: Indeed there must be something since nothing is perfect in the world. I think if you look at it from an unbiased perspective, some companies would have to think of aspects like loss of control and a risk that one day they probably would be in the market with products that might be substandard with their name printed on it. In practice this happens very rarely so that an extreme example such as Mattel toys that were manufactured in China and subcontracted without Mattel's permission, and not made to Mattel's required quality, happens only very occasionally. In normal practice licensing management for all brands takes care to make sure quality is maintained. 

ASID: How would you describe the entire process of Brand Licensing?
KG:
Licensing is a fairly simple business. At the top we have people who create and own an intellectual business company, a name or a television house who might sell licenses themselves with their own infrastructures like Disney or Warner Brothers. Other creators use third party agents or agencies. When using an agent, their fees are up for negotiation, but, typically, and agent gets between 25% and 35% of the revenue he or she generates in licensing sales. A simple comparison is with buying or selling a real property like a house - you might sell it yourself or get in touch with a realtor who is a specialist in the field. So in terms of structure, the manufacturers can go to agents to find a variety of licenses on offer and advice as to which ones might best fit with the manufacturer's product range. People outside the licensing circle feel it complicated and don’t know where to start from, but once they get through the right channel, the journey is quite fulfilling.  

ASID: How do we look at Brand Licensing as a career?
KG:
As a matter of fact it is one of the most terrific careers these days. We in UK run a short course about 10 weeks at the Manchester University with close to 150 students who intend to learn more about brand licensing as a fresh career avenue and some even want to re-think their career path towards this innovative field. Since it has many categories to it, like sports, television, movies, personalities or animations. So if you are interested in consumer commerce there is nothing better than brand licensing.
 

Kelvyn Gardner, MD, LIMA- UK
 
 
 
 
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