For more than 100 years, family owned Hallmark Cards, Inc. has been dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and employing more than 27,000 worldwide, the approximately $4 billion company operates a diversified portfolio of businesses. Its global Hallmark Greetings business sells greeting cards and gifts in more than 30 languages with distribution in more than 100 countries and 100,000 rooftops. Hallmark Retail operates 2,000 Hallmark Gold Crown stores in five countries and Hallmark Home & Gifts sells a broad array of home décor and gift product throughout the U.S. Crayola® offers a wide range of art materials and toys designed to spark children’s creativity around the globe. Crown Media Family Networks operates two cable channels: Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Crown Center is a real estate development company that manages the 85-acre hotel, office, entertainment and residential campus surrounding Hallmark’s headquarters. For more information, visit Hallmark.com. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Beginning just over three years ago, Hallmark’s licensing business started growing from a handful of licensees with a relatively few number of products to 3,000 SKUs “almost overnight” says Frank Masterson, Licensing Business Enablement Manager.  Before this growth, Hallmark tracked and managed its licensing business manually.  From contracts and royalty reporting to asset management and product approvals, Hallmark was using spreadsheets and email to keep track of and communicate with licensees and internal stakeholders.  But as its licensing business grew, Hallmark realized these tools weren’t an efficient way to keep pace with the new volume of work.  Hallmark needed an integrated, automated solution that would alleviate the day-to-day burden from its licensing team, guarantee accuracy, and provide better intelligence for their growing business.

DSI’s Solution:

After researching over a dozen different software companies, Hallmark invited Dependable Solutions to Kansas City to demo and shortly thereafter, a pilot program. Hallmark was impressed with DSI’s industry-proven, out-of-the-box integrated licensing process and workflow management software. Moreover, the DSI team’s deep experience and their commitment to staying on top of the latest licensing trends and best practices meant they were constantly evolving the DSI software based on customer feedback.  Hallmark knew that not only would Dependable Solutions fulfill all of their licensing system requirements — from business development and contract management to royalty receivables accounting, forecasting, product approvals, and asset management — but that DSI would be a true partner in their licensing business growth.  Hallmark signed on with DSI three years ago and has since fully-implemented DSI’s software into their brand licensing process and workflow.

Increased Efficiency & Accuracy

DSI’s automated solutions have allowed Hallmark to eliminate time-consuming manual tasks and eliminate calculation and errors.  Hallmark loves how the software automatically notifies a licensee if they’ve submitted information incorrectly, like a SKU approval for a territory for which they don’t have rights.  “DSI has streamlined our process so that everything’s linked in the system,” says Frank.  “The automated red flags help us manage errors and inefficiencies.”  And he notes Hallmark’s licensees appreciate the faster turnaround times: “They’re thankful we have the DSI system to help them keep track of approvals, take care of royalties, and manage forecasting.”

Better Business Decisions

This efficiency has allowed Hallmark’s team to spend more time on business relationships, analysis, and development — and reap more insights with DSI’s in-depth audit reporting. “Implementing DSI’s system has allowed us to focus on things that are really important: sales and building our brand business,” notes Frank.

Global Communication & Collaboration

Dependable Solutions is solving with Contract Management Hallmark’s licensing challenges: engaging multiple internal stakeholders around the world who need to weigh in on potential licensee applications and deal memos.  “We’re a global business with many employees around the world who participate in our licensing business,” says Frank.  “With DSI, (and implementation of the Contract Approvals module) we will not have to do everything via email like we do today.”

Scalability & Flexibility

As Hallmark’s business grew, so did its licensing workflow system needs.  Dependable Solutions offers several separate but integrated software modules that companies can elect to add on at any time.  “DSI’s system allowed us to grow pretty dramatically very quickly,” notes Frank.

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