If you’re trying to read your way into becoming a better and more knowledgeable licensing professional, there is a good chance that you have a list of books you’ve been meaning to read. But, to be fair, compiling a list of titles that answer all of the questions you have about brand licensing can be tough. Especially when your colleagues, business partners, and social media contacts continuously promise that their latest reads rank above the rest.
Part of the difficulty is that licensing, more than any other industry, touches so many different categories. The licensing leader who can benefit from understanding children’s entertainment IP, for example, can also benefit from lessons about fashion retail, the future of streaming, packaged foods and more.
There may be someone out there who can become an expert level professional by reading every licensing-related title in one night. But, for the rest of us, our day-to-day jobs and other responsibilities make that a challenge. Even if you don’t publish a book, as a brand licensing professional, you will come in contact with various licensing stakeholders, be asked to oversee some part of a licensing strategy, and be involved in the creation of an end product. And while you may be an incredible leader with interest in the changes taking place within the industry, when would you squeeze in your required reading?
Don’t worry. Licensing leaders don’t need to become bookworms to start blazing a trail. You can start with a short list of easily accessible books that offer unique, yet proven insight into today’s licensing industry. Look for information that fits your business goals and apply them as needed to your licensing strategy.
Below, find five titles that have helped our own trailblazing CEO Kalle Törmä and dynamic CCO Timo Olkkola achieve success in the brand licensing business.
1. The Licensing Business Handbook, by Karen Raugust
Raugust’s book offers a comprehensive guide to the licensing business for IP holders, manufacturers, and their agents. Informed by her experiences as the editor of The Licensing Letter, an authoritative voice in licensing published from 1990 to 1996, she presents a body of well-organized text that many see as an unofficial primer for brand licensing.
In addition to offering a highly accessible, text-book-like reader on IP management and profit, Raugust also addresses the need to make calculated and (sometimes) conservative decisions when investing in new projects. Inside, find explanations about the value chain for licensed characters, teams, logos, trademarks, celebrities, events, fashion labels, likenesses, and designs. The handy risk management assessment tool remains relevant, as licensing professionals find themselves in the middle of a content frenzy that often makes ROI hard to calculate.
2. Expand, Grow, Thrive, by Pete Canalichio
This winner of the 2018 Book Excellence in Marketing Award, offers a narrative-driven guide to the brand licensing business. Canalichio, who has more than 25 years of experience in brand expansion and licensing strategy, as well as a history as a Navy aviator, leverages his resume to help readers sort through the weighty business of growing a licensing program.
Canalichio’s unique access to high-level executives and retellings of his experiences at Coca-Cola, NASCAR, and Rubbermaid help to place the reader in the driver’s seat (no pun intended) of a high stake licensing program. The book also balances out the excitement of a licensing agreement with a frank assessment of the challenges brand licensing professionals will run into along the way.
Calachio leaves readers with an earworm of an acronym, the LASSO Model (Lateral; Addictive; Storied; Scalable; Own-able). But to learn what it is, and how it can help you increase your licensing revenue, you’ll have to get the book.
3. Basics of Licensing: How to Extend Brand and Entertainment Properties for Profit, by Gregory J. Battersby and Danny Simon
Gregory J. Battersby is a senior partner at the law firm of Grimes & Battersby who has 40 years of experience in intellectual and licensing property law and who has written over 25 books. Danny Simon has over 30 years of experience including key roles in developing the licensing divisions at Lorimar Pictures, Carolco Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
This LIMA-favorited book is the brainchild of the licensing industry pioneers and leverages their 60 plus years of combined experience, to help guide licensing professionals in all stages of their career with a concise, reference that can be read in one comfortable sitting or pulled out when needed.
The book’s best assets are the administrative templates offered at the start of each chapter as well as the licensing form agreements modeled after real contracts. The book also provides a remarkable history of the licensing industry and definitions of the industry’s most used terms.
4. Essentials of Licensing Intellectual Property, by Alexander I. Poltorak
Not all helpful books need to be read at once. Some are helpful as references that readers in need of an expert opinions can refer to from time to time. Flip through this book if you are a professional in manufacturing or supply chain management. It offers a comprehensive breakdown of the very lengthy, legal texts that surround the industry and encourages greater legal participation and understanding from all partners.
5. Secrets of Success in Brand Licensing, Andrew Levy and Judy Bartkowiak
First published in 2011, this book hones in on the truly exciting nature of brand licensing and posits it as the most inspiring element of a marketing strategy. And while Levy and Bartkowiak spend time reminding the audience how thrilling it can be to expand a celebrity, sport or entertainment brand, they also emphasize the importance of getting your brand expansion right. To do so, the pair highlight the key stages and players in the brand licensing business, as well as important marketing tools and select legal matters.
In addition, Levy and Bartkowiak provide helpful case studies about successfully licensed brands including Hello Kittty, Thomas, Arsenal FC and Royal Navy. The book also does a wonderful job of discussing the role retail plays in the ultimate success of your product.
There are an endless amount of books that seek to help you improve as a licensing professional. And while we can’t name them all, we hope that the list we provided is enough to get you started.
What are your favorite brand licensing books? We want to hear from you in our comments section.