The summit allowed top executives and innovators from the world’s largest players to come together, dive into discussions, and shape the industry’s strategic direction for 2021.
Frank Masterson, retired Hallmark executive, facilitated this informative panel that featured global licensing leaders, Michael Cisneros from Sega of America and Tony Scott from Edgewell providing helpful insights. This panel of thought leaders featured a peer-to-peer conversation of industry executives sharing insights and tips on how to gain powerful business intelligence and succeed.
Here is a snapshot of some of the key takeaways from this invaluable panel.
Break It Up
Zoom fatigue is a real thing. We’re on video conferences more than we’ve ever been. Taking a break from the Zoom or Teams meetings is essential. From working out either on a Peloton or simply taking a walk to playing the Ring fit videogame- break is necessary from the constant online calls. Also, not every call needs to be a video conference. An audio call works just as well and gives the eyes a break from the screen time.
Taking a break from conferences gives an opportunity to de-stress and take care of one’s mental wellness as much as physical wellbeing.
How to Handle Business That’s Changed
Everyone’s business has changed. Whether dealing with dismal sales from brick and mortar being closed or handling sudden spike of online sales; businesses had to pivot and change their tactics quickly. The licensing business also reflects those changes during COVID-19. Pivoting in this new world has been a key to success.
It has become a catchphrase. But agility has proven to be essential this year. The ability to be flexible, change quickly, and adapt to new trends has been critical for companies to remain profitable.
Communication and transparency
Clear communication with internal staff members as well as with licensees became crucial. Knowing the facts and retail sales data paved the way for brand owners and licensees to open the dialog for handling market changes and creating roadmaps.
Some licensee partners have been hurting tremendously because they couldn’t keep certain product lines on shelves. Some licensees might have experienced boom in specific products’ sales.
What we need to acknowledge that licensors and licensees want to be good partners for the long term. This mutual understanding is the key that helps them get ahead, adjust their strategies and maintain their partnership.
Finding more creative ways to get products on shelves by creating new products has certainly become one of the best strategies to meet customers’ demands. Working with current licensees to expand their categories to include new items has also driven sales to help licensees during these unprecedented times.
Discovering New Opportunities
While not many good things have come out of COVID-19, there have been some bright spots. Shelters have been emptied, as more and more people are adopting pets. Pet care has been a growing category. While this category was on the radar for Edgewell, the release of Wet Ones for Pets was sped up during the heat of the pandemic. It took less than a year to go from innovation to market. It’s an exciting and unique opportunity for Edgewell to orchestra speed to market for this year and for the future.
Masks are the #1 licensing trend this year. Sega saw there were multiple opportunities here as people wanted to wear stylish masks, while masks are becoming a culture shifting phenomenon. It’s a delicate balance to produce licensed masks as it is also an opportunity to capitalize on something terrible.
Sega could help partners that were struggling and extended their product lines to help them do better during these difficult times. Following their biggest hit of Sonic: The Hedgehog movie, licensing out this character produced some cool products that consumers were excited to buy.
Hallmark gave away greeting cards in March. It helped people think of someone else and allowed them to send cards to people who were impacted by the pandemic.
It’s important to celebrate the successes, small or big in the tough times.
How Does a Company Define Success and Respond to Challenges?
Sega of America strives to grow their business by following their formula of “Surprise & Delight.” Michael shares three things that Sega of America follows:
- Make fans happy.
- Have a reason for being. Don’t make something just to get the money. For success of the brand, there needs to be a reason for being.
- Try to reach a new audience. Growing the brand is usually driven through content, but if they make a product that is too good to resist, that’s another way to reach a new consumer.
Tony shares Edgewell’s belief in brand’s essence. They want to extend to other categories while focusing on what makes sense to its consumer base and to the brand.
The seasoned industry experts also share the same belief that, at times, we must take a step back’ pause and understand if the licensing opportunity makes sense and not just think about the profit coming out of the categories. Because that could hurt both brand owners and licensees down the road. It’s important to match the brand voice on new products and protect the brand. It’s better to plan for future and protect the brand than go for the quick money.
This informative panel session takes us back to Licensing 101. Analyze performance metrics and listen to consumers, put yourselves in their shoes. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish through your customers’ eyes.
It’s important to dig deep. What’s working in your licensing program? Why is this licensee doing better than anyone else? What’s not working for the other licensees?
Expand category for the licensees that are working, analyze data for licensees or categories that are not performing well.
Work smarter, not harder. Do the best you can with the data you have, gain performance insights to analyze your licensing programs and optimize every partnership.
Data + real life information from consumers = success.
Knowledge is the power to help our businesses be successful in this year and beyond.