The Insights Family launches IP performance comparison tool called the IP Index

The Insights Family has lifted the lid on its latest tool development with the launch of a new platform that allows brands, partners, and retailers to compare the performance of their IP with thousands of others, across various types of media.

Called the IP Index, the tool has been launched to provide data to help identify new partners, spot opportunities, benchmark properties, and engage stakeholders with its independent data. The aim of the tool is to ‘provide context and insight into a property’s audience.’

The Insights Family 2021 Industry Report found that ‘Identifying new IP’ was the number one licensing-related issue businesses are facing, with almost seven in 10 organisations citing this.

To address this challenge, the company’s Research and Data Science teams, in collaboration with brands, partners, and retailers, have determined four key metrics to measure performance, which is based upon the following four stages:

  • Access & Demand
  • Engagement & Interest
  • Purchase & Consumption
  • Fandom & Advocacy

The beta version of the tool presents data through a league table, and provides an independent score based predominately on The Insights Family propriety data, as well as utilising data from API sources such as Google and YouTube.

Nick Richardson, CEO and founder, The Insights Family, said: “For years, the licensing and consumer products industry has relied on historical sales data. Considering the speed of change in kid’s attitudes, behaviour, and consumption and the advent of so many new properties – this does not seem fit for purpose.

“We have made it our mission to understand the industry’s needs and develop a tool, which looks at future demand and will ultimately enable industry professionals to compare Batman, FC Barcelona, Cocomelon, Ryan’s World, and Fortnite side by side.”

Richard Wainwright MEng, principal data scientist, The Insights Family, added: “The IP INDEX utilises our own proprietary data but also API data to score each property. The first three of the scores are based around a traditional purchase funnel – Access & Demand, Engagement & Interest and Purchase & Consumption.

“However, with kids having a far greater desire to co-create and co-commercialise – our methodology also provides a fandom and advocacy score as well.”

 The IP INDEX Beta (across 17 countries and four media types) is now available for all clients and partners in Portal 4.0. To celebrate the launch of the tool, The Insights Family has released a new report, highlighting the top performing brands according to the IP Index.

The report is available to download now at:

Value Added Tact | The importance of meeting the sensibilities of ‘kids these days’

From Generation Z to Generation Alpha, audiences’ tastes and preferences are ever changing, from awareness of social responsibilities to greater demand for sustainability. Co-founder of Kids Industries, Gary Pope explores the importance of authenticity when meeting today’s youth and their new consumer values

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My favourite game when I was a kid was Buckaroo. The tension, chaos and hysterical laughter caused by a few bits of plastic pulled from a cardboard box kept me happy for hours. If only the youth of today was still that easily pleased, product development and marketing teams would be laughing all the way to the bank.

But they’re not. Far from it. Culturally, societally, we are in a state of flux. So many things are happening that were unthinkable five years ago, all of which are impacting our purchasing decisions. As a result, young people have become increasingly sophisticated consumers, politically savvy, environmentally aware, far more emancipated, and very, very vocal and demanding of the brands they invest time and money in.

They curate rather than collect. The label in itself is no longer enough. They want to know where, how and with what products have been made. They have an incredible understanding of the supply chain; are the workers treated fairly and paid a living wage, is the factory run on wind power, is it safe?

They are increasingly invested in making purchasing decisions that are driven by value and the impact they will have on the planet, rather than by consumption.

“Most of all, they want authenticity; they want to buy from brands that genuinely share their values and are honest and transparent about contributing towards a fairer society.”

Value no longer means cheap, it means quality, longevity, considered and conscious. They understand the importance of sustainability, the circular economy, diversity and humanity. They want to see products  representing all of us, and not just a limited few. Charity shopping and reselling toys and games on eBay are seen as badges of honour, rather than a shameful blot on their social status.

But most of all, they want authenticity; they want to buy from brands that genuinely share their values and are honest and transparent about contributing towards a fairer society and the future of our planet. What they don’t want, is box tickers.

And they know some or all of this at a really young age. Even Generation Alpha (2012-2025) is aware. They  feel strongly about consumer issues, they just don’t have the maturity to decode them or the disposable income to directly influence them. Gen Z (1996-2011) has the powerful  combination of a more sophisticated awareness and their own money, so they can choose to spend – or not – on the brands whose credentials are most important to them.

The way young people relate to media has also changed massively. They are no longer passive consumers; they are active participants. They want to be immersed in interactive, engaging content that adds value to their experiences and fulfills a basic social need. They don’t do one-dimensional.

When it comes to gaming, this means Roblox and Fortnite – games that double up as social platforms; places where they can meet friends, show off, have a voice and be heard, recognised and rewarded. Socialisation is critical to child/youth development, and this is more important than ever given how much face-to-face contact has been eradicated by the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, Roblox was the most popular mobile  game in the US last year, with users averaging 100 minutes play per day, and the company had a first day valuation of  $38.3 billion when it went public. Equally unsurprisingly, the notion of the metaverse (which is being coined by some as the real future of the internet and the next era of social media) is incredibly powerful to our digital natives and the brands hoping to reach them.

So, two huge things for brands to get right when it comes to R&D and marketing to young people moving forward – both of which I believe will become non-negotiable before long: consciously authentic values and actions, and the integration of social. Nail that, and you’ve got the  equivalent of Buckaroo for the next generation.

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Gary Pope (CEO & Co-Founder, Kids Industries) will be discussing ‘How Priorities are Changing Across Generations of Consumer at Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit, which runs online 9-11 June. Passes are available from

The Brand Informer launches online platform to ‘change the way brands sell and retailers buy’

The Brand Informer Ltd has launched its new online platform,, a service designed to connect retailers directly to brand owners, with the mission of ‘changing the way brands sell and retailers buy.’

The Brand Informer is bridging the gap between brand owners, licensees and retailers, and providing a place online for brands to connect with opportunities to support business growth and retailers to access brands.

The platform will enable brands to showcase their products, outline their core brand values and objectives, and provide a calendar of events that will allow retailers to forward plan. Brand owners’ products will be displayed in clear categories: such as product type which is sent direct to the retailer’s account where it can be viewed in real-time..

All brand owners will be verified, providing retailers with confidence against the threat of purchasing unlicensed products. Buyers will be able to search for products through option choice and filtering systems to enable them to find the specific product they are looking for.

The Brand Informer is the brainchild of founder Victoria Preston, licensing specialist having worked for brands including ITV, Williams F1, England Rugby, England Football, England Cricket and various Premiership Football Teams.

She said: “The Brand Informer is opening up a new way within the licensing industry. I believe by providing a place to support brands, big and small, and offering up to date information to retailers we will see great opportunities for both. I feel passionate in the potential of bridging the gap within the licensing sector to empower both brands and retailers.”

As part of the launch, Preston will be hosting a free course starting on May 17th, 2021 ‘Simplifying the Brand Licensing Buying Process’ helping brand owners and retailers on their own individual journeys. There will be three live workshops, covering how to simplify the buying process for your business.

The workshop is for all business sizes large and small as well as those who are just considering the possibility of licensing.

Family fortunes | The Insights Family talks its ‘game changing’ Portal 4.0 and the ever growing business of family market intelligence

This week witnessed some pretty major new developments for the kids’, parents, and family market intelligence outfit, The Insights People, which not only revealed its re-branding to The Insights Family, but also welcomed its new chairman – in the form of Simon White – and unveiled its ‘game-changing’ new client tool and platform, the Portal 4.0.

In line with the sweeping changes across the children’s and parents’ media and entertainment landscape, The Insights Family’s new platform now holds proprietary data collected from surveying over half a million children and parents across 17 countries every year, providing over 600 million data points for its customers to view, filter, and analyse. By anyone’s standards, that’s a lot of data.

Here, catches up with Nick Richardson, founder and CEO of The Insights Family to explore the trails being blazed and the paths being carved by a Manchester start-up that over the course of the last four years, has made its international presence well and truly felt.

To kick us off, Nick, can you give us a bit of background on yourself and how The Insights Family came to be?

I grew up in Manchester and graduated Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in Marketing Management. As part of that degree, I had a placement with Mattel Toys – where I worked on the Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco brands.

After graduating, I worked in senior marketing and commercial roles for brands and agencies such as ExxonMobil, Momentum Worldwide (part of IPG group), Just Marketing (now CSM Sport & Entertainment), Hilton Hotels, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, and PennWell (now Clarion Events).

As a marketer, I have always been naturally curious and creative – and have worked closely with data. I have had several roles where I was responsible for auditing existing research, developing research, and using this information to redevelop commercial strategies.

After 10 years of living in and around London, I decided to move back to Manchester. When I returned to the city, I enrolled on an Executive MBA course. During this course I started to see an opportunity to develop a disruptive and highly innovative research business which could be scalable, so I started to look at which industries were lacking data and insights.

During a catch-up meeting with SuperAwesome’s Matt Lester, who I had worked with while leading Hilton Hotels F1 sponsorship, it became very apparent that kids’ lives were unrecognisable from when I worked at Mattel in 2002/2003.

However, the ways in which companies were approaching their marketing had not really changed. Companies who operated in this space needed help and support to understand what was going on, what it meant, and ultimately some clarity and confidence to make decisions to evolve their previously tried and tested approach.

That was the challenge, so we made it our mission to do that, a mission which still burns hard in everyone who works for us.

You guys haven’t seemed to stop this past year, with international growth at a phenomenal rate. What has the thinking been behind the growth you guys have seen? What’s driven the growth? Does having operations around the world mean you’re set up with holidays for life?

Since our launch in 2017 and as the business developed, it soon became apparent that a lack of data on the kids and parents’ ecosystem was not isolated just to the UK – but there was a need on a global basis that nobody was fulfilling. Therefore, we set our vision to be the global leaders, and made it our business to achieve that.

While we are now operating in 17 countries, our international team of researchers and developers are driving these developments from our Manchester HQ. The growth has been quicker than I could have ever imagined, which is down to so many factors from our initial investor, some lucky breaks, but most importantly it is down to the culture we have created, and the incredible efforts and collaboration from all our team.

Once we and other countries come out of Covid-19 restrictions, I cannot wait to see our team and get to travel more, no doubt with a few extra days rolled on for the odd holiday.

Speaking of developments, there latest major development from you guys is the Portal 4.0, a new platform for clients, destined to ‘change the way it all works for them’. This sounds exciting. Can you tell us about this one?

Firstly, everything which made Portal 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 so special remain. The ease of use, real-time data, and the ability to view, filter, interrogate, and analyse the data intuitively remain.

However, with all the feedback we have captured, we have not only made hundreds of small but significant improvements and enhancements, but we have also now integrated all the cutting-edge innovations which we have been working on in the background.

First and foremost, the portal holds all our propriety data, collected from surveying over half a million kids and parents across 17 countries every year. It provides over 600 million data points to view, filter, interrogate, and analyse.

In addition to that, it houses all the tools we have been developing, such as our Media Mix Compass – which is a media planning tool that enables clients to compare 11 different categories of media, based on their reach, preference, and time spent.

The platform also includes clustering tool Persona Perspectives™. Powered by cutting edge Machine Learning and utilising the latest theory from the world of psychology, clustering will unlock previously unseen insights into an audience and fanbase. This tool was developed with a team of academics at Manchester Metropolitan University.

We have also added contextual data for every country which we operate in, providing socioeconomic and demographic data and insights for additional context. There are new API feeds from the likes of Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube.

A new section of the portal has also been created to house all our clients’ bespoke research projects – enabling them to utilize all the functionality of the portal as well as our persona technology.

So, in summary we have not only moved the goalposts, but we have completely rebuilt them. But don’t just take my word, I would encourage people to go and have a look and let us know your feedback.

How will this new platform position you guys in the UK and on the international stage? How will it work to help position clients on the international stage?

Despite 2020 being a challenging year, we managed to grow substantially and lay the foundations for this year – which we believe will see us essentially double in size every six to eight months.

Our new identity and portal will also provide the foundations for this. As I mentioned, there are so many significant new developments in the new portal – with our team of researchers, data scientists, and developers working with academics, and collaborating with our clients from around the world to bring in a suite of solutions.

This will see us transition from not “just” being a research company, but to a business-critical partner to clients who can use the tools such as our Media Mix Compass™ to actively shape their strategies.

One of the core approaches to our research which makes us standout from anyone else, is that we are independent, and the kids, parents, and families surveyed are age, gender, and nationally represented and not recruited through our own platforms. This means the data is not biased, has no agenda, and can be analysed on a global, regional, national, or local basis – something which I believe will be critical as we transition from globalisation to localisation.

Why is it important that clients are armed in this way with the ability to spot and react to opportunities in the ever evolving kids’ and family market?

It is my belief that research, and data is now a critical part of all our jobs. If you work in advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product development, or sales it is an essential tool to provide understanding, test our convictions and ultimately measure our results.

However, there are still large amounts of market research and data which are not accessible, and worse than that – quite intimidating. And whilst we can call default to doing a bit of desk research or talking to our own kids, if we are honest with our selves – that doesn’t really stack up. That is why we have set it to be our mission to become the world’s top brands business-critical partner. Portal 4.0 is so accessible that even my mum can use it!

Our unique approach to surveying kids, parents, and families on a continual basis enables us to identify trends as they are forming. Likewise, if we take the effects of Covid – it provides our clients with an unrivalled view of what their attitudes, behaviour, and consumption were before Covid-19, how they have evolved during the pandemic and lockdowns and ultimately what they will become after.

As far as I am aware, we are the only company in the world to have this information. We know from our industry report that only six per cent of organisations that operate in the kids, parents, and family space believe that they have a sufficient understanding of them.

Our Trend Alert™ Reports and real-time data also saw us spot the rising popularity of trends such as Fortnite and TikTok months before they exploded in popularity in the kid’s ecosystem.

However, one of the most important trends we have tracked is this generation of kids have more influence than ever before. For example, our data in the UK shows a 15 per cent increase in influence that tweens have from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021 in terms of grocery items purchases, as kids are increasingly concerned with our effect on the environment and becoming healthier.

It is therefore more important than ever to reach and engage these young stakeholders and every brand must now become a family brand.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges to have swept the children’s and family space in recent years? What sort of picture of the future does this all paint, and how are you helping businesses ready themselves for that future landscape?

There are so many challenges. I look back to my days at Mattel – and cannot believe how much the landscape has transformed. If we are all honest, it has probably taken the best part of a decade for the industry to recognise this, and the scale of the change.

I would like to think that we have helped the industry and individuals to not only recognise the changes, but also understand the implications and be best positioned to transform their approach across their business.

As for the biggest challenge – my view would be the impact of digital, this impacts all aspects of an organisation and business. It has transformed everything, from advertising and media to the need to be a content curator and syndicator. Plus, the arrival of new digital centric IP.

It has been challenging, but it is also extremely exciting as there are significant opportunities that come from this – and that is why we do what we do, to mitigate the risks and accelerate the opportunities.

For you, what is the most exciting part of working in the children’s and family space? To what extent is this a market that leads change across the consumer landscape, and how does it shape future trends?

As Nelson Mandela once said “children are our greatest treasure. They are our future”. Being a proud father of my daughter, I am so proud that we as a business provide children, parents, and families with a voice to shape their worlds. And of course, with the speed of technology evolution it is incredible to witness the impact of this on their and their parents’ attitudes, behaviour, and consumption – and how brands need to evolve their thinking to remain relevant.

To get freemium access to our award-winning real-time portal, please visit:

Opinion | Foundation of success: What can retailers learn from the LEGO approach?

As global pandemics go, the onset of Coronavirus, while forcing many to navigate a treacherously rocky road to begin with, hasn’t fared too badly for the toy industry; a global business that has provided support and entertainment to families and children worldwide. Among some of the last year’s biggest successes was LEGO, who achieved a 13 per cent growth on sales over the course of 2020.

With an eye for analysis, Utku Tansel LLB, MBA, an industry analyst who has led global research programmes across the entire toys, games, and licensed consumer products spectrum, turns his attention to the Danish toy maker and how shifting focus onto new and emerging audiences has helped the art of LEGO building continue to go from strength to strength.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing some retailers around the world to close, LEGO opened 134 new stores – of which 91 were in China – last year. The company plans to open a further 120 new shops in 2021, including 80 in China alone, expanding its total global store count to almost 800 in 2021.

This is part of LEGO’s business strategy towards – what it calls an ‘omnichannel network’ – operating in tandem with, whose online visits doubled over the last year. This ties with Mintel’s COVID-19 tracker showing that nearly half of British consumers are now doing more shopping online – a double digit increase since mid-April 2020.

LEGO’s sales in 2020 grew by a substantial 13 per cent, while operating profit rose by 19 per cent worldwide. Its retail strategy is definitely working.

Merging online and offline


In terms of new product launches, the LEGO Super Mario set from 2020, which uniquely blends physical bricks with online games, has been one of LEGO’s most successful theme launches. The product line featured an interactive LEGO Mario figure that collects coins in real life game levels created with LEGO bricks. The figure has LCD screens in its eyes, mouth and belly to display a wide range of instant reactions to movement, colour and action bricks.

Meanwhile, and collaborating with Universal Music Group, the innovative company continues with this strategy in 2021 with the LEGO Vidiyo release –  which taps into kids’ creativity through music and play. Through LEGO Vidiyo, children can direct, produce, star in, and share their own music videos, using chart-topping tracks from Universal Music’s extensive variety of global artists. Its playful music video maker experience combines physical and digital play as special effect ‘BeatBits’ and music inspired minifigures integrate and come to life through AR in a vibrant new app.

Mintel Trend Extend My Brand investigates how brands are expanding into new categories and demographics to find new business as well as intrigue consumers. Brands are advised to assess the opportunity to use their company’s established image, visibility, and strong brand following to launch new product lines – which LEGO has been utilising very successfully in recent years. They are encouraged to explore new categories and price points that may cater to an extended clientele while still aligning with the brand’s identity.

Brick by brick, LEGO, which dominates the construction category globally, has been expanding its presence in toys targeting beyond its core business. In 2020, the company entered the arts and crafts category with the introduction of LEGO DOTS – a concept which offers kids a creative canvas for self-expression. Based on multiple shapes and colourful tiles, the line featured bracelets and items for home décor.

Targeting stressed-out adults

Aiming at adults, LEGO also released its 2nd 2D tile building theme, LEGO Arts, in 2020 featuring Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, Marvel Studios Iron Man, and Star Wars The Sith. Mintel Traditional Toys and Games, US, May 2020 report highlights that consumers need toys and games to bring more than just fun and brands can connect with adults by appealing to their need for wellness.

With products for adults that can tout stress relief and relaxation, each LEGO Art design is accompanied by a bespoke soundtrack. These soundtracks dive deep into the inspiration behind each wall art set helping adults unwind and fully immerse themselves in the building experience. Our consumer research (US, March 2020) confirms that there is a large market for toys and games for adults, since half of consumers who have purchased toys and games in the previous 12 months have done so for an adult.


Providing a unique retail theatre experience             

LEGO stores are a great example of retail theatre with plenty of life sized models and figurines as well as play stations. Their outlets are seen as a destination in their own right by consumers. Mintel Trend Experience Is All highlights that most consumers still put a premium on the advantages of shopping in-store, which includes the ability to try products in person and to be helped by customer service associates.

This trend is not about countering online sales, but rather turning shops into enjoyable experiences that promote purchases – either in-store or remotely. Retailers are reminded that shops are windows and adverts as much as places to purchase stock and they need to extend the time people spend there as well as the frequency of their visits.

So, what’s next?

Post-pandemic (or when the restrictions are eased), LEGO should be able to continue to build on its success. As I also investigated in my West End Farewells? – Regent Street’s Hamleys has met a modern cross-roads Opinion piece in ToyNews recently, for consumers, a shopping day out will continue to be a leisure activity and it will increasingly be a choice rather than a necessity.

Overall,the retail landscape will be leaner, the battle for consumer attention will be fierce and when the economy recovers, consumers will remain value conscious. In city centres, particularly, newer and better retailers are coming in which will undoubtedly help with the footfall into the high street, moving forward.

There is a huge opportunity and good retailers will continue to do well. LEGO is in a very good position to capitalise on these.

Utku Tansel has 17 years of success in driving global thought leadership, project and content management, delivering strategic business intelligence and insight to major international companies. He can be contacted via LinkedIn

TikTok makes biggest push for e-commerce to date in Shopify partnership

The social media giant, TikTok is making its biggest push into e-commerce to date thanks to a new partnership with Shopify that will allow its retailers to begin advertising and selling goods through the platform.

Shopify, which already provides the e-commerce platform for over 800,000 brands, will allow its merchants to connect to a TikTok for Business account and post videos featuring ‘shoppable ads’. This will enable users to click through to a retailer’s Shopify page while scrolling on TikTok, where they can complete a purchase.

The partnership – TikTok’s biggest stride into ecommerce so far – will launch in the US this week, before rolling out across Europe and Asia in the new year. It arrives following the exploration of numerous means in which the social media giant could push into retail outside of China, underscoring a definite shift towards ‘social commerce’ among social media users.

Shopify’s Satish Kanwar said: “It was obvious early on how TikTok was starting to influence commerce trends and trajectories. With direct-to-consumer brands, that relationship between storytelling and entertainment and the product they sell is so close.

“We believe video is the default form of communication online today. We are very eager to see how video and commerce can expand.”

Shopify has seen its sales surge during lockdown, rising nearly 100 per cent during its second quarter to overtake Ebay for the first time.

Roundtable: Creating a brand with longevity and the factors that build a programme with steam

Richard Pink, Ashley Holman, Nikki Samuels, Gabrielle Sims, and Asda/George children’s buyer, Ruth Golightly, are among the licensing experts taking part in a specially curated panel session at next week’s Festival of Licensing, exploring the topic of brand longevity and the multitude of factors that need to be aligned in order to nurture one.

Titled, Building a Long-Term Programme: What do Licensors Need to Do? the session will be available from 9am on Tuesday, October 6th, and will be available to view on demand for 30 days afterwards. spoke to all five ahead of the session to offer up a flavour of the topics, conversations, and conclusions that viewers and attendees of Festival of Licensing can expect from the special panel session. So settle in and get your first taste of what’s to come here. Remember, licensees can register to attend for free at

Hello, firstly, to the four of you and thank you for taking the time ahead of what’s looking like a busy four weeks for us all!

To kick off the conversation and give us a flavour of your panel session, let’s jump right in to it. So, can you tell from the outset when a brand is going to have longevity? And if so, what are the key markings of an ‘ever green’ brand?

Richard Pink, MD, Pink Key Licensing

Richard Pink, managing director, Pink Key Licensing: I think it will always come down to the motivation and commitment of the brand owner to put the elements in place, anyone else in the licensing chain will feed off this but if it isn’t there then the brand will struggle regardless of how strong it is. 

Ashley Holman, managing director, Riverside Brands: In terms of new brands launching this is very hard to tell, but if an established brand is getting into licensing for the first time it is easier to tell by looking at how they are entering the licensed market. If it is through considered, well thought out brand extensions that make sense to the core brand values, then it has a chance to build for the long term versus quick win deals that aren’t meaningful to the core values.

Nikki Samuels, CEO, Factory: Evergreen Brands understand what their consumer wants. You can’t tell from the outset if it’s going to be an ‘evergreen property’ but if the brand makes the consumer feel like a hero and positions itself as a guide there is a chance it will have longevity.

Ruth Golightly, head of buying, children’s clothing, ASDA/George: I do get a gut feeling for what will be successful in my section of retail. I engage with licensees and other buyers at my company in other categories to get their thoughts, but you never really know how much longevity brands will have as the customer now wants new and different more often.

Gabrielle Sims, head of licensing, FatFace: I’m a firm believer that a brand that has a strong identity and if it evolves with consistent and clear brand values it will always run the test of time. It’s key that brands listen, inspire and engage their core target market without compromising their values and brand promise.

Ruth Golightly, head children’s buyer, Asda/George

So looking at the big picture then, what role would you suggest each element of the brand creation process – from licensor to retailer – have to play in creating a brand with longevity? 

Richard Pink: The more disparate the elements become, the more difficult it is to have a cohesive programme. The closer communication between the parties, the more a brand programme will become greater than the sum of its parts

Ashley Holman: They are all intertwined, and one doesn’t work without the other. The licensor needs to be clear on the brand positioning and what the consumer might like to see in terms of licensed extensions, as well as provide the tools needed for licensees and retailers to activate through internal resource, style guides and so on.

The licensee needs to have a good understanding of the brand, design interesting and exciting products as well as present to retail in the right way. The retailer needs to buy in to the overall concept, dedicate adequate space in store for it to be visible and not get lost on shelf and support in store where possible.

Nikki Samuels: The licensor must have a very clear strategy and a plan for the brand and who its consumer is. This must be communicated with all the licensor’s partners. If you confuse you lose, not having a clear plan is a guaranteed way to lose longevity.

Ruth Golightly: The most important thing is communication, and listening to ensure you all have similar goals, timing is also a key element.

Gabrielle Sims: All elements of the process have to play their part. It’s really important for brands to partner with the right companies and retailers that have the same vision and goals.

Nikki Samuels, CEO, Factory

So it’s communication, cohesion, and stringent planning. How then do you nurture a brand with longevity through licensing? How important is it to get this element right?

Richard Pink: This is everything and it’s all about patience and doing the right deals to enhance the brand value. Delivering a long-term strategy sometimes means turning down short term financial deals if they don’t fit. 

Ashley Holman: Considered brand extensions versus label slapped quick wins is crucial.

Nikki Samuels: Brands need to be nurtured with great partners that are all working towards the same vision for the consumer. When the consumer interacts with a brand they want to know how this brand can make their lives better.

Ruth Golightly: As a retailer, it’s important that the brand has a presence across all channels – physical stores and online. At Asda we ensure we have a credible offer on across many categories such as clothing, nightwear, toys, home and accessories, so that the customer can buy into the brand for every aspect of life.

Gabrielle Sims: Brands don’t evolve overnight. It takes time and a lot of love and effort. Like anything, the more time and investment you put into a brand, the more you get out of it. It’s so important to listen to your customer, gain trust, and have a clear vision on where and how you want your brand to seamlessly evolve into for licensing.

Your panel session is going to be delving into the topic of ensuring your brand has steam as a key element of creating a brand with real longevity. In such a competitive space that licensing now is, how do you ensure your brand has steam? 

Richard Pink: Always go back to core brand values, as these are the things that differentiate it from other brands. Also, identify the consumer – that way you can match the two together with the right product. 

Ashley Holman: Refreshing of creative and other marketing assets to keep things fresh for the end consumer, even if the brand itself remains consistent.

Nikki Samuels: Brands have to become part of a consumer’s life and be trusted. In today’s world, with so much competition, being authentic and speaking directly to the consumer, making them feel like a hero, will gain steam. Brands that position themselves as heroes don’t last long, they need to be positioned as the guide.

Gabrielle Sims: One of the hardest and challenging things to overcome these days. But if you have a strong brand, loyal customer base and you stay true to your core values, innovate and excite, you are set to come through the other end.

Do you think a brand’s staying power be curated through licensing alone?

Richard Pink: Yes, but it’s harder and there has to be a commitment to delivering everything that is necessary to provide resources to the licensing chain. That’s a how a brand like Pan Am can stay relevant, long after the planes have stopped flying.

Ashley Holman: To a degree, if the strategy is executed correctly then the licensed product itself can become so intertwined with the core brand offering that it can live on, even if the original brand heritage wanes.  

Ashley Holman, MD, Riverside Brands

Nikki Samuels: Definitely not, licensing is only a part of a brand’s marketing and it’s very important that the right consumer products that fit the brand’s values are licensed. Products that don’t fit with brand values will confuse the consumer. 

Gabrielle Sims: Yes, if curated properly – having key strong partners that work together and communicate is key. It’s about partnership, long term vision and investment by all.

What is it that consumers are consumers from their brands today? 

Richard Pink: Value and imagination. The consumer is way too savvy for label slapping, they have strong associations for some brands, and they want them reinforced by the product they see.

Ashley Holman: Authenticity, interesting extensions and something that is relevant to the core DNA of the brand identity.

Nikki Samuels: I believe consumers want brands that they can trust and know what they are doing. They want to know if investing their time and money in this brand will be worth it.

Ruth Golightly: Customers want trust in a brand they are buying into, whether that’s knowing the ethics and sustainability ethos of a brand, or knowing that products are the right quality they expect.

Gabrielle Sims: Consumers expect so much from brands. The obvious being quality, price, loyalty, transparency and sustainability, but today brands need to be nimble and convenient too to allow for that ‘ instant’ ‘I want it now’ turn around.

How has this changed the boxes that need to be ticked to become a brand with longevity?

Richard Pink: It really hasn’t – you just have to be firm of what the appeal of your brand is (which could be many things) and keep delivering on it in spades. Oh, and keep innovating!

Gabrielle Sims, head of licensing, FatFace

Ashley Holman: It hasn’t really, those brands that have stood the test of time, especially those with extensive licensing programmes have always adhered to these principles. They may have just moved with the times in terms of new categories and marketing techniques, but the principle remain the same.

Nikki Samuels: I think that brands now have to have clear values and guide their consumers how to interact with them every day because they are making their consumer’s lives better.

Ruth Golightly: It’s not just about selling ‘stuff’ anymore, it’s about a lifestyle that customers buy into.

Gabrielle Sims: I don’t think this has ever changed I just think brands are under more pressure to deliver on all levels. Especially speed to market.

Available on demand from 0900 Tuesday 6 October at – attendees must register in advance to access the platform and all of the Festival’s content.

Building a Long-Term Programme: What do Licensors Need to Do?
Nikki Samuels, CEO, factory
Ruth Golightly, Head of Buying, Children’s Clothing, Asda/George
Ashley Holman, Managing Director, Riverside Brands
Gabrielle Sims, Head of Licensing, FatFace
Moderator: Richard Pink, Managing Director, Pink Key Licensing