Managing and tracking creative, rights management and royalty validation in one comprehensive system can benefit all parties in a licensing deal.
A brand licensing company’s creative team, sales team and financial team may be immersed in their individual departments’ duties. Although they may be under one roof, getting your teams to share information relating to the licensing processes is a formidable task.
An increased focus on tightening up the links between your departments will have huge dividends in bringing your products to market with fewer resources, stronger communications, and tighter controls.
A case in point: product development. If creatives have easy access to the terms of the deal, they can create with those provisions in mind right from the start. This saves time and money and can help prevent unapproved items from hitting store shelves.
All great products come from an initial creative design, then are continually refined until they are ready to go on the market. Designers and product specialists allow their imaginations to flow as they create their concepts, but at the same time they must work within the licensing contract terms.
This means using colors required by the licensor, working with approved type styles and character designs, and creating items and categories authorized by the licensor or agent. In essence, ideas become reality through the approval process.
Designs, preproduction samples, finished products and packaging circulate to related parties for approvals within and outside the organization.
Approval workflow management allows this collaboration to oversee everything from initial designs to evolve until they transition into salable goods. If your creative staff is working within the bounds of the contracts from the beginning, the process will be streamlined.
Even more importantly, integrating the creative and contract management processes can prevent unauthorized products from reaching the store shelves.
In addition to streamlining development costs and preventing unauthorized goods from slipping through, tying the creative process into financial and legal also has benefits on the back end. Integrating creative and contracts is also beneficial from a business point of view.
As the product goes through the design and approval process, the administration process is also in full swing. The license administration team tracks the intellectual property owners with related properties being licensed, including restrictions such as on categories or languages; where the products can be sold, including in which territories, distribution tears and retailers; when the royalty statements are due; and how the licensing deal impacts business plans and forecasts.
Not only does a system that ties together creative with all of these administrative details increase efficiencies, but executives can look back and see rich history of which products did not make it through the approval process and which territories or retailers performed well. This helps managers take informed and better business decisions down the road.
The finance department is miles downstream from the creative process, taking over once sales are rolling, managing royalty accounting and
generating sales reports. But it is here where the various licensing and creative steps, all tracked and recorded along the way, come together.
Which products have made it through the approval process? What restrictions apply to each reported sale? Which properties and products are associated with which guarantees?
In order to find answers to these questions and monitor licensed goods while generating royalty reports and sales statements to ensure proper payment of royalties and guarantees, financial teams refer to the information compiled during the creative and
rights management processes.
If creative and rights management personnel are aware of the needs of the financial management team, the whole process comes together smoothly.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
All of these processes encompass a great volume of data, which can be difficult to manage and track using email or manual processes. Setting up a fully integrated automation system that ties the approval process to license administration benefits all departments within an organization and all parties involved in a licensing deal.
With fully integrated systems in place, you should see an immediate payback on catching unapproved SKUs sold at retail, deductions or allowances not properly taken, out-of-bounds sales, and improperly recouped guarantees.
A solution to any of these issues usually pays for the cost of implementing the entire system. Feel free to contact us for any further questions about setting up a brand licensing software to integrate your contracts, royalties, and brand licensing assets,