Using a Licensing Agency

Should a brand use a strategic licensing agency as this function is leveraged?

When we hear opposition to licensing – from a brand owner or a manufacturer – the reticence lies in fear of:

  • The wrong strategy

  • The wrong partner

  • The wrong business terms

  • The wrong product

  • The wrong retail channel

  • The wrong monitors and procedures

The fear is legitimate. A misguided strategy, poorly selected manufacturers, disadvantageous terms, aesthetics misaligned with brand standards, or incomplete licensee evaluation may cast a negative halo.

Shop, explore, research and network to figure out how to avoid these mishaps.


A strong licensing professional or strategic licensing agency should have philosophies and fundamentals to champion strategy, vet partners with time-tested criteria, negotiate on behalf of clients with economics and legal protection in mind, and manage licensees toward product and channel development in keeping with the original strategy.

Example Of Client/Agency Work

Example Of Client/Agency Work

When finding potential agencies, look and listen carefully for the following :

  • Brand management experience – across entertainment, trademark
    and/or fashion properties

  • Agency AND client experience – personnel who have provided, and have been
    a recipient of, strategic licensing agency service

Critical agency skill sets:

  • Strategic planning, forecasting and goal-setting

  • Presentation development

  • Pitching brands or licenses to known and unknown entities

  • Licensee business planning

  • Deal terms negotiation

  • Program building with multiple 3rd party companies

  • Commercial understanding of business and trademark law

  • Flexibility, goal-oriented, patience and resolve

Example Of Client/Agency Work

Example Of Client/Agency Work

Remember also to clarify the client’s role as the FINAL decision maker – when making category, retail channel, product design, packaging and advertising decisions. The agency can recommend anything but should have authority to sign nothing. It’s your brand. It’s your choice. No strategy, licensed partner, or product should enter the marketplace without your full opportunity to review.

Example Of Client/Agency Work

Example Of Client/Agency Work