Interview with Steven Ekstract, Brand Director| Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets
The Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets is the licensing industry’s leading tradeshow organizer and media partner. Its mission is to provide licensing opportunities around the world by bringing brands and products together. The following events and information products are produced for the licensing industry by the Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets: Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai, The Licensing Leadership Summit, License Global magazine, and License Global Daily E-News. Global Licensing Group events are sponsored by Licensing International. Learn more at www.thegloballicensinggroup.com.
BBAM: How would you define/summarize the licensing process to a beauty company interested to start it?
Steven Ekstract: The concept of licensing is pretty simple, one company leases another companies brand in order to create new products using the built in brand equity of the core brand. Both parties win. The brand being licensed receives royalties as well as added visibility at retail and in many cases expands its fan base. The Licensee receives valuable brand equity to sell more products faster.
BBAM: Any beauty industry case study we can share in more detail?
Steven Ekstract: A fun recent Beauty industry license is the Crayola Make Up Line (obviously Crayola makes crayons but they licensed their brand for Makeup and it was a huge success) https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Shop/crayola-released-makeup-line-dreaming/story?id=55700396 The reason is that Crayola is all about color and creativity. It has brand equity and is trusted because we all grew up with them.
BBAM: What is the biggest misconception about licensing that you’ve come across?
Steven Ekstract: The idea some companies have that licensing will cheapen their brand
BBAM: Not all licensing agreements are created equal – what are the most important factors for a successful agreement?
Steven Ekstract: The commitment from both parties , the Licensor and the Licensee to work cooperatively. The trust factor between Licensor and Licensee as well. The products being created by the licensee must be of the highest quality.
BBAM: Does overnight success really exist, can you share your top licensing story? What exactly made it successful?
Steven Ekstract: There are so many overnight success stories in licensing. A recent one would be the “Tasty: Brand at Wal mart. Tasty is a sub brand of Buzzfeed- its videos of food being prepared in a fast forward video format. Due to the videos popularity, Buzzfeed felt they could do licensed kitchenware and cookware as well as Cookbooks. They became bestsellers at Wal Mart overnight.
BBAM: What potential pitfalls should beauty companies avoid?
Steven Ekstract: Make sure the brand extension you are planning makes sense, a successful licensed product should seem natural, not a reach
BBAM: We know you love your work – what excites you most about licensing?
Steven Ekstract: My friend Jeff Lotman, a very successful Licensing agent just wrote a book called “Invisible Marketing” those two words sum up what licensing is. A way to extend a brand’s equity into new products and experiences that thrill the consumer. The icing on the cake is that rather than the brand spending marketing dollars, it is making royalties while its brand is being promoted.
BBAM: Anything you’ve learned the ‘hard way’?
Steven Ekstract: Not every brand is ready for licensing. Brands need a certain amount of “fame” or recognition and an emotional connection to their consumers before they can extend their brand into other product categories. The lesson is build the brand first and the licensing will come naturally.