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Brand licensing: The newest ‘IT’ job

Licensing is working with brand owners (like Toy Story or Band-Aids) to leverage the equity in their brand – through creative brand extension.

Have you ever seen a branded band-aid?

Can you give us your resume in 4 points?

  • I studied a B. Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney.
  • Worked in beauty PR for a year, in an advertising agency, and worked in-house for Mercedes-Benz in advertising & events.
  • With this all before I was 24, yeah, you could say I moved around a bit.
  • Now, I’m working for a brand and licensing agency.

What is licensing?

Basically we work on behalf of entertainment and corporate brand owners like Paramount (think Anchorman and Breakfast At Tiffany’s) and find interesting ways to leverage the equity in their brands.

One day we could be finding a new Toy Partner for the latest pre-school hit, think ‘Frozen’ lunch boxes, dresses, school bags – book!  And the next working on a retrospective exhibition for a cool retro entertainment property.

Virtually almost any brand can have a licensing department. I love the variety, and too, the work is very creative and we get to manage a huge portfolio so you never really get the chance to be bored.

What’s the industry like?

It’s a very close-knit industry, everyone knows each other and it seems the longer I’m in the industry- that everyone has also worked with one another at some point so it’s definitely a role where relationships and reputation count. The people and brands I’ve worked with so far interstate, and overseas has resulted in jobs offers from all over the globe.

While long hours come with Agency-land, and we definitely have our weeks, on the whole it seems a pretty good industry for respecting that you have a life outside of the office, and the travel opportunities are a serious perk.

I’ve travelled to the UK, and all over the United States to attend licensing conventions, and also to learn about the brands I license; my first trip being to Tennessee to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery.

How did  you get your foot in the door?

I really just lucked into the industry, so I can’t say I know any strategic loop holes unfortunately!

I would say though that its a bit of a hidden industry – from the outside, I never really considered until that of course it would be someones role to work with retailers and producers in placing brands onto products. Now it’s impossible not to go shopping and see all the brands on the shelves – even at Woolworths, you’ll always see a Peppa Pig yoghurt or an AC/DC drink bottle, even band-aids are branded!

So if you want to work in licensing, you really need to go hunting for the jobs.

I love working agency side but you can also work client-side and approach one of the big entertainment brands with headquarters in Australia: the BBC, Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, Warner Brothers – there’s heaps of great consumer products divisions run locally!

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