Graham Saltmarsh, MD of Licensing International UK, on building a post-pandemic retail and licensing strategy

Published on: 7th June 2022

Graham Saltmarsh is managing director of Licensing International UK. He is participating in a leaders’ panel at the next European edition of Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit, taking place 21 June 2022 at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Graham will appear alongside Hasbro’s Marianne James, Jalil Ramen of Liberty, MDR Brand Management CEO Daniel Avener and Difuzed’s Sara Allwood to discuss the finer details of Building a Post-Pandemic Retail & Licensing Strategy.

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One of the panels you’re moderating focuses on building a post-pandemic licensing strategy. Why do brands and retailers need one? What’s so different now? 

It’s always good to have a plan in place and a plan B just in case! We learned a lot during the pandemic, it makes sense to diversify your manufacturing options in case there are further lockdowns. Have a look at your distribution networks and see how your online offer to your customers compares to your competitors’. Work with your partners and discuss what is needed and when… work back from here and allow plenty of wiggle room!

What are the challenges and opportunities your LI members are talking to you about – where are the pain points, and where can they be driving growth?  

Shipping costs are still a big issue and delays still seem to be quite a common occurrence but working these potential delays in to the schedule will help calm the nerves. We had the highest number of attendees at the Licensing Essentials Course recently with a very high number of retailers keen to get a better understanding of the licensing industry and the processes involved. There was a strong increase across the board in licensed products sold last year so it’s a very positive message to our members.

What do you think licensing will look like in 2-3 years from now? 

Wow, what a very tricky question… I think we are beginning to see an increase in brands rather than “entertainment properties”, particularly from museums and galleries. These teams have amazing portfolios, but you have to be very focused to find the hidden gems and then translate them into desirable products.

What’s the one thing that brands and retailers can’t ignore, if they are to continue being successful? 

Communicate, communicate, communicate – if you are a retailer speak to your licensees about what you need, when you need it and importantly why! Asking “why” will promote discussion and mean that you can make better informed decisions. Costs are also going to come into play hugely over the next few years and it will be impossible not to pass most of this onto the end consumer; this will be a challenging balancing act. Sustainability will also play a bigger part going forwards…. Sorry! I can never do ‘one’ thing!

Why are you looking forward to speaking at B&LIS? 

There are some amazing and talented speakers at B&LIS and it’s always fascinating to meet up and find out what’s going on. These discussions also help direct future panels and sessions.

What are you hoping delegates will take from your panels?

You always learn so much talking and listening to others within the industry, but I hope there will also be a lot of questions for our panel and also some fun along the way.

To order your ticket for B&LIS, click here



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