Question for the day.  Do you know the world’s most valuable brand?

The Mars Agency Partnership Marketing team recently returned from the Licensing Expo 2014 in Las Vegas.   There were over 480 exhibitors representing more than 5,000 brands at this year’s Expo – a great place to be to spot upcoming trends and strategic partnership opportunities.   A few highlights of the show were this year’s speakers including DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and House of Harlow 1960 Nicole Ritchie – both amazing brands themselves.

A list of new hot brands included Aardman Animations (Shaun the Sheep, Wallace & Gromit and Morph), Admiral Sports (British sportswear), Grumpy Cat and NFL Players Inc.   Vintage brands and digital gaming continue to be popular including Candy Crush, Farm Heroes, Angry Birds & fun, iconic brands like Garbage Pail Kids, Ring Pop to name a few.

We met with several studios to discuss their upcoming slates for 2015 and 2016.   The most anticipated movies for 2015 include Cinderella, Home, Fast & Furious 7, Tomorrowland, Pitch Perfect 2, Inside Out, Jurassic World, Minions, Pan and The Peanuts Movie.  A few home entertainment rereleases include The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary and Home Alone 25th Anniversary.

The one thing we kept hearing over and over again from everyone we met  – is that partnerships are key.  No longer a nice-to-have but A MUST HAVE.

Partnership Groups within an agency can identify, solicit and secure a licensing partner to meet any licensing need.  Partners can include designers, celebrities, characters and brands.

The key to a great licensing partnership is that it:

– Grows market share by associating with a new brand name and image
– Differentiates your brand and further increases brand value
– Helps to reinforce brand message and position in the marketplace
– Increases awareness of the brand and its core products amongst existing consumers
– Attracts new customers to the brand name

We should see brand licensing continue to evolve and change just as retail and shopper habits change.  Collaborations will be even more important as we look for new trends and new opportunities.  It is expected that food and beverage brands will turn more to licensing to extend their brands in other categories.  Co-branded partnerships are popping up more often to create unexpected connections.  Case in point – HBO’s partnership with Brewery Ommegang for a Game of Thrones Fire and Blood Ale.

So, no matter how large – next summer’s biggest tent pole film, or small – use of a character artwork for your point of sale; licensing partnerships can be key and unexpected providing added exposure and ultimately, new shoppers.

A. Google.  The world’s number 1 most valuable brand with a total worth of $159 Billion.


To check out more posts from our Partnership team, click here.