Last week, the licensing industry broke new ground with its first-ever digital conference, Licensing Week Virtual. Organized by Licensing International andThe Global Licensing Group, the event featured in-depth panels, virtual workshops, education series, and fun breakout sessions that allowed brand licensing enthusiasts from around the world to participate in the festivities from the comfort of their homes.
From NFL player-led workouts to captivating keynotes, COVID-19and its impact on business, were top of mind as presenters discussed licensing's role in shaping the "new normal." Below, we share our three top takeaways offer tips for implementation.
A Brand New Marketplace
"Everything starts with the consumer. Understand their ever-shifting needs, how the pandemic has changed them, and how much [of that change] is here to stay," said Kraft Heinz's Christopher Urban during his energetic keynote 'Kraft Heinz: Leveraging Over 100 Years of Heritage'.
ForKraft Heinz, active communication with partners and engagement across social media, proved that uncertainty during lockdown led consumers to drastically change their dietary habits and gravitate toward more cost-effective, nostalgic brands in the multi-national company’s portfolio. As a result, the company has now shifted its focus to parts of its portfolio that were often overlooked and cultivated enthusiastic new customer bases.
On the panel "The Day After COVID-19: Consumer andMarketing Trends" Hamutal Schieber, Founder, and CEO, Schieber Research, identified the three major trends of lockdown: 'mindfulness' (ethical- and social justice-oriented shopping); 'stress-free' (e-commerce, mental health, and transparency) and; 'community' (locally produced goods and the sharing economy)spending. The shifts were led by Gen X and Gen Z, who experienced elevated levels of stress and experimented with new ways of living under lockdown and who may be rethinking the way they live and work as the world begins to reopen.
LicensingWeek Virtual confirmed that the marketplace licensing professionals were working in and planning for before lockdown, no longer exists. Moreover, it proved that in order to remain successful, brand licensing professionals need to establish more effective modes of communication with customers and partners to gather information.
To improve communication, licensing professionals are advised to seek out systems that automate communications and simplify the process of sending and receiving messages. With Flowhaven, communicating across licensing teams has never been more easy. Our system offers in-app messaging features, automated tasks, and makes it possible to leave notes on designs and style guides to avoid timely and ineffective email exchanges.
Rethinking Licensee Finances
"What do we want? We want more simplicity, it makes everyone happier, including the consumer," said Paul Cosaro, managing partner, Picnic Time on the multi-day panel, "What do Licensees Want?"
Under lockdown, licensees were faced with a unique set of challenges. Some were saddled with too much inventory, some had more purchase orders than they could honor, and others had issues with importing and exporting goods, resulting in financial losses and fractured relationships.
Concerned licensees spent most of the panel discussion challenging the community to rethink its traditional financial structures. Byre-examining how tariffs are absorbed, manufacturing costs, FOBs royalty rates, and more, they argue that a more flexible and lenient system could help licensees recuperate their losses and satisfy more customers.
"Having to factor in potential contractual roadblocks when we're trying to do a deal with a retailer is a roadblock for everyone," added Cosaro. "If we can't hit a price point because something like the FOB (free on board) is too high and we can't absorb that into the margin, it won't happen."
While the industry decides how it will move forward, licensees can benefit from comprehensive tools that help them see and track earnings in real time. Modern digital tools give sales teams the ability to create and generate reports at any time to see how they are performing. With Flowhaven, you get the added benefit of royalty rate trackers and validators. These features make it possible to compare royalties to the terms of you contract and to hold all parties accountable when assessing your bottom line.
Data is Helping Brands Stay Ahead
"Those of us in product development and licensing have to do a lot to keep up with how consumers are feeling and experiencing and update as needed," said Scott Harom, director to laundry innovation,Church & Dwight. Because the consumer marketplace has undergone rapid change, trained analysts are under immense pressure to research and refine products.
During the panel, "Why Consumer Research Matters – Especially Now," a group of esteemed panelists stressed the importance of data during an unprecedented historical moment. With no blueprint for the economic repercussions and toll of lockdown on consumer spending habit, easily captured legacy data is the resource companies can count on to help them pave the way forward and to make actionable plans that can be tweaked if needed.
"Research is a tool to spend a little bit of money to save a lot of money and after all and for that to work, understand what research can tell you and make sure you're doing it early enough so you can understand the choices and adapt, earn and get better as much as possible.” added Harom.
At Flowhaven, we believe that data is a company’s most valuable resource. That’s why we built a solution that gives users the ability to see how their programs are performing with comprehensive analysis and user-friendly dashboards to make spotting bottle necks and opportunities easier. With our data capabilities, teams can leverage historical insights to fractured partner relationships and strategizing without a clear path to success.
Modern licensing relationship management tools can help licensees improve their partner relationships and improve accountability in financial reporting. Flowhaven comes with a full suite of useful communication tools, including task reminders, automated invoices, and more that ensure that al parties are receiving the same information and being updated when deadlines or quotas have been missed. Further, the product's financial system makes it easy to upload and share royalty reports and validate payments against the terms of the contract.