Brand-licensing partnerships are the lifeblood of many of today’s biggest enterprise brands. They’ve become a business imperative for any business looking to broaden its brand reach and a novel way to connect with consumers. From movies (product placements) to sports events (sponsorships) to famous characters, brands often have hundreds—sometimes thousands—of licensing partnerships that account for a significant portion of their revenues.
While licensing is big business—according to Amazon the licensing industry is poised to grow to $1 trillion by the end of this decade—the process is largely archaic and highly fragmented. Each relationship a brand has with a merchandiser represents an entirely separate revenue stream, each with its own set of data, individual departments and stakeholders and complex workflows and processes.
The result: Most enterprise brands lack the data and insight to answer basic questions, such as: Which partnership is performing the best? Which should we rethink? On which ones should we double down? How long does it take for a product to get to market? How much am I owed in royalties? Where are my products being sold?
The bottom line is this lack of visibility is costing brands billions in missed opportunities, including the potential to accelerate products to market, to inform new product lines and more. But what you can’t see, you can’t maximize. That’s why enterprise brands need a centralized view into the performance of their brand-licensing partnerships in order to drive and maximize brand-partnership revenues, and a CRM (customer relationship management) system to granularly manage every step of the partnership lifecycle; every interaction; every relationship; and every revenue stream.
In this eWEEK Data Points article, Kalle Torma, CEO of Flowhaven, uses industry information to share five ways data and automation are modernizing the brand-licensing process.
Data Point No. 1: Break down communication silos.
Any technology solution deployed to manage the brand-licensing agreement process must leverage data and automation to provide robust centralized, and accessible content management. This ensures that your licensing departments can access information, activity and performance metrics. Licensing team alignment is especially important for organizations that want to establish and service partnerships. The system should make it easy to create and share new reports to improve collaboration and communication between partners.
Data Point No. 2: Maximize revenues by gaining granular visibility.
Any technology solution deployed to improve the brand-licensing process must bring together information from different teams and departments to offer a holistic view of each partner in real time. Seeing everything at once gives customer-facing employees who work in sales, account management, product approvals and royalty management superpowers when it comes to making quick and informed decisions on everything from identifying new opportunities to improving the quality of communication and responsiveness.
Data Point No. 3: Strengthen partner and customer relationships.
Managing your company’s relationships with those who buy and use your company’s products and services has never been more important. Simply put, your partners want smart tools that make working with you easy. They also want to feel like you’re hyper-obsessed with meeting your goals. But establishing good licensing relationships requires more than just hard work. Companies need to use modern technologies and tools to get the most out of their relationships. Smart systems offer a single application where you, your team and your partners can spend time every day performing work. They also give you a place to manage and analyze your interactions with past, current, and potential licensing partners to make better-informed decisions about the future
Data Point No. 4: Uncover new business opportunities.
Leveraging the data and automation capabilities provided by an effective technology solution will help you identify new opportunities—and find and keep new partners.
Data Point No. 5: Streamline tedious backend processes.
A new technology solution will allow you (and your team) to avoid dealing with manual workarounds for simple tasks that could easily be automated. You will also gain the ability to consolidate data on one platform—data that is now stored in spreadsheets or multiple systems across the licensing team. You will also be able to automate workflows (including agreement approvals) and make changes to the software to fit your company’s processes.
Data Point No. 6: In summary …
Implementing an effective technology solution will allow you to maximize your data and automate processes previously completed manually, which in turn will help you create great brand licensing relationships and build partner loyalty. Any new solution you choose should also help you organize business-critical information and improve productivity across your team. That is the glue that holds sales, account management, brand assurance and product approvals, sales, and royalty management teams together. Improved communication and collaboration across those teams will undoubtedly pave the way for further business growth. Whether you’re a small, medium or large-sized company, maximizing your data and leveraging automation whenever possible is critical to your company’s success.
Guest author Kalle Törmä is CEO of Helsinki-based Flowhaven.