Brand licensing professionals are facing an uncertain future as the effects of COVID-19 continue to play out across the business world. To offer tips for staying agile, we caught up with Andrew Gallagher, founder, Full Colour Black dba Brandalised who built his storied career on reacting quickly to change and spotting new opportunities for growth.
Andrew Gallagher thrives in periods of uncertainty. A former senior marketing manager at Sony Music, the Full Colour Black dba Brandalised founder cut his teeth introducing compilation albums to the world and reviving the careers of major artists. “I sold over 3 million albums and helped Boy George get his career back. When the world was introduced to the iPod, I knew it was time to leave music and take a big risk.”
He chose art licensing.
Today, Gallagher runs one of Europe’s most successful art licensing businesses. Full Colour Black specializes in the commercialization of world-famous street art and acts as an international greeting card publisher. To date, the company owns more than 250 pieces of artwork, with licensing partners and customers around the globe. Accolades include Best New Product for Greetings and Stationery at London's Top Drawer Show and double Finalist for Best New Product at The New York National Stationery Show.
Full Colour Black became a Flowhaven customer in 2019.
Below, Gallagher talks about the importance of staying nimble and how digital tools are helping him keep a firm hand on his operations, even as the future of business hangs in the balance.
An Unusual Start
“I looked for something no one else was doing. I found my niche in unclaimed public art,” says Gallagher. “He was inspired to start his company after seeing the delight street art brought the public in London and other cities he frequented. “We’ve been doing that for 10 years now and have the biggest collection of cleared graffiti in the world.”
As the business community looks for new opportunities to serve customers whose daily lives have been disrupted, he’s continued to innovate with partners servicing the children’s market and entertainment.
“I had a baptism by fire when I was in music,” Gallagher says of his unorthodox leap into licensing. “But it taught me that it’s not just about knowing your own brand. If you don't know what the customer wants, you won’t make a good deal. One of my companies is in its 7th renewal. Most agreements are 3 years or less.”
His nontraditional entry into licensing has served as an advantage, helping him break into new categories and build mutually beneficial relationships. After years of building a strong reputation, he realized that he needed new processes to stay competitive.
Looking to the Future
In 2019, Gallagher realized that with more than 1,250 unique artwork variations and a small team in his remote studio, his business needed to go digital.
“I’m an early adapter and constantly looking at how industries are developing,” he adds. “I spend most of my mornings on product approvals. I know what things are meant to look like and I’m aware of how difficult it is for manufacturers to make last-minute changes. One thing going wrong can have a huge implication. I knew there had to be an easier way to spot bottlenecks and improve communications. “
The Need for Better Asset Sharing Technology
Flowhaven’s cloud-based interface has helped the Full Colour Black team simplify their daily process including sharing and approving assets. For Gallagher, who relies on sharing large image files to support his business, the ability to quickly and efficiently work through the design process is invaluable.
“In the past, I had to go to my computer and look for each asset, upload them one by one, and use an external file transfer system to send large files to clients,” says Gallagher. “To make things worse, our office is in the remote North Yorkshire Hills...There’s no internet, so I pay for satellite with a cap of 50 gigabytes a month. I run out of that quickly. Now the artwork lives on Flowhaven. I just check the right box, assign a user. It’s as easy as that!”
A Solution for Better Accounting
Flowhaven’s financial tools have also helped Gallagher and his team to maintain his accounting records with better accuracy. Now, the team is able to validate royalty reports, schedule and send invoices and more with a single click.
“Flowhaven helps me forget that I need to send payment reminders,” he says. “It’s automated so it does the heavy work for me. In licensing, it’s essential to know how much money you’re owed at all times. There are a lot of small factors that can change your totals in an instant. You can try managing it on your own on an excel or hiring someone, but Flowhaven has it built-in. Just put the correct parameters, they’ll tell you how much is due. For that I love it.”
A Way to Manage on the Go
A frequent traveler and enthusiastic trade show attendee, Gallagher is now able to manage his operations at his remote studio, in the airport, on the show floor, or anywhere else he works. At a time when Gallagher’s licensing partners and staff are scattered across the globe, knowing that his internal team can stay on top of their accounts while external teams can continue to submit reports and status updates has brought him peace.
“I can be on the move, I can travel, I can check on my mobile phone,” he says. “I can assign brands, I can do charts and reports. Thanks to Flowhaven it's all happening on its own. In the future, this will be indispensable to the whole of the licensing industry.”
The effects of COVID-19 will linger long after offices reopen, stories like Gallagher’s show that having the right tools and an eye to the future of licensing can help teams steer any challenge.
The Full Colour Black team is committed to serving its communities during the COVID-19 crisis. In the spirit of giving, the company has aligned to connect with manufacturing partners with local hospitals in the United Kingdom to supply protective equipment. To learn more about Full Colour Black visit www.Brandalised.com/
Are you looking for more resources to steer your business during the COVID-19 crisis? Book a demo with us today.