Halloween is fast approaching, and this year the holiday is more popular than ever. Research from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) forecasts that total Halloween spending this year will reach $11.3 billion.
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All those My Little Ponies, "Frozen" characters you see running around add up to big bucks for companies who license their characters to the creators of Halloween costumes. But, licensing is not just for the big guys. Even small companies can license their name or brand.
Interested in licensing your brand? Marty Brochstein, SVP of industry relations and information at International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), shared these tips for successful licensing.
1. Know your brand.
Think about what your brand stands for before you do anything. Maintaining the integrity of your brand through licensing is important, Brochstein said. [Time to Rebrand? Follow These 3 Steps ]
"For licensors and licensees to have a mutually beneficial relationship,” Brochstein said, "your partners need to have a good understanding of the hallmarks and equity of the brand and define your strategy accordingly."
2. Choose good partners.
Working with the wrong partners can be detrimental to your business, so it's important to always select the right partners at the right time in order to bulletproof your licensing program, Brochstein said.
He also noted that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.
"Flooding a marketplace with a licensed product doesn't necessarily mean that every item will be a hit," Brochstein said. "Sometimes less is more."
3. Timing is everything.
If you want to be successful, you need to be strategic when it comes to timing.
"Think about anniversaries, seasons and holidays," Brochstein said. "An occasion such as Halloween can yield big opportunities for licensed products in specific categories."
And you need to make sure that success will last. Longevity is key, Brochstein said.
"The more shopping opportunities you can naturally connect your brand to, the better in terms of keeping it front-and-center on consumers' radar," he said.
4. Find your edge.
Licensing is competitive, so you need to keep up and know what you're doing. Brochstein said it's important to do your research and know the landscape.
"As a licensor, consider what other brands are in your space and how you can make yours stand out," he said. "As a licensee, research what other companies are doing, what's worked and how you can fill a category or void in the market instead of trying to compete in an area that may already be overcrowded."
5. Find the right retailer.
Just like you need to choose the right partners, finding the right retailer is very important. Make sure you're targeted in your approach to retailers, Brochstein said.
"It’s better to achieve success with the right retail partner, rather than trying to secure all of them at once and failing," he said.
Brochstein also said you should choose a retailer that knows how to position your brand and licensed products in a way that will make the greatest statement.
6. Define your success.
Everyone has a different definition of success. It's important that you know what your specific goals are before you venture into licensing.
"Do you have your sights set on boosting awareness, increasing sales, gaining greater market share, opening up new retail channels, or all of the above? By identifying your key goals upfront, you can more easily and quickly get to where you want to go," Brochstein said.
Originally published on Business News Daily.