Robinson Home Products is a manufacturer of kitchen tools (formerly Known as Robinson Knife Co.). When they were looking for a brand name that would cut through the clutter of food prep products, celebrity chefs, and could even speak to consumers who don’t necessarily know Rachel Ray from Ray Charles, their solution? Licensing The Culinary Institute of America. Even if you’ve never heard of the “good” CIA, the name sounds authoritative, and reassures a potential buyer that the licensed products are superior to unbranded ones. After all, the Culinary Institute of AMERICA wouldn’t put its name on just ordinary products, right? Robinson clearly did their homework when they identified the CIA as their “right fit” licensor. One of the biggest myths about brand acquisition is:
Any brand will do.
The five myths about brand acquisition licensing are:
- It’s easy
- Any licensed brand will work
- Anyone can do it
- Licensing deals are like any other business deal or contract
- Licensing takes the place of marketing
NUMBER ONE: Finding the right brand takes special skills and expertise. The brand you’ve set your heart on might already have a license in your category. In other cases, brand owners don’t want to license or don’t see your product category as a “right fit” for their brand.
NUMBER TWO: The produce companies who licensed the NASCAR brand to potatoes, carrots and other commodity products quickly found out even rabid fans wouldn’t pay a premium for food staples bearing nothing more than a NASCAR logo on the bag.
NUMBER THREE: Brand acquisition licensing is a sub-specialization of brand licensing, and requires special skills and expertise. Broad Street Licensing Group is a specialist with years of experience in all aspects of brand licensing.
NUMBER FOUR: Licensing deals include provisions not found in supplier contracts or co-packing agreements. Companies who have manufactured private label products are often surprised at the greater security afforded by licensed deals, as well as requirements for liability insurance not normally a part of contract manufacturing. Be sure your brand acquisition specialist understands how to safeguard your interests.
NUMBER FIVE: Licensing can’t replace sound marketing. If you have no distribution at retail, it’s very difficult for a licensed product to open those doors for you on its own. In the food & beverage business, for example, this means you’ll still need to develop distribution networks, a sales force and put marketing dollars behind the licensed product. The key is finding a licensor/brand who will take on some of the heavy lifting with you.