Brand Licensing India 2011 Brainstorming on brand licensing - By Rajni Pandey

Brand Licensing India 2011 was held at the Hotel Ashok, New Delhi, on 2nd - 3rd December 2011. The show has been leaving its mark for being India's only show in licensing.

The Brand Licensing India 2011 kick started with licensing dignitaries, both national and international, exclusively speaking on the science of brand licensing, its recent trends and the future prospects. The show commenced with Adam Berg, Sr. Vice President, LIMA, initiating the topic, "Brand Licensing in India: An overview", wherein three prominent personalities of the trade, Gaurav Brar, Director, Cartoon Networks Enterprises, South Asia, Turner; Vineet Sharma, Managing Director: Indian Subcontinent & Middle East, Parragon Publishing India Pvt Ltd; and Anand Ramanathan, Associate Director, Management Consulting, KPMG Advisory Pvt Ltd expressed and shared their views.

Sharing his views on world licensing industry, Berg said that the worldwide licensing and merchandising market is estimated to be around US $ 185 billion in which the most popular category is apparel with a market hold of around 46 per cent. Gaurav Brar expressed his concern over the piracy or counterfeiting in licensed merchandise. He said that the implementation of licensing laws is little difficult in India. Vineet Sharma talked about the popular kid's character in licensing and why they are so successful. He also gave an overview of licensing in publishing. Ramanathan explained the tax structure for royalties and respiration.

The second session of Brand Licensing India included five prominent speakers - Rajiv Sangari, CEO, Spacetoon; Samir Jain, Director, Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd; Rob Ridder, Partner, Bradford Licensing LLC, USA; Andy Jha, Chief Financial Officer, Wiesner Products Inc.; Michelle Minieri, Partner and President, Bradford Licensing LLC, USA, speaking over developing, managing and growing a successful brand licensing programme. In this session, they discussed on how brand owners can evaluate if their brand is ready for licensing and how to evolve internal structures and processes to support the licensing programme, and explore the overall benefits and risks of licensing.

In the third session, the discussion was on "The retail connects of licensing". Participating speakers were Rahul Akkara, VP, Marketing, Parag Milk Foods Pvt Ltd; Mudit Khosla, CEO, Seventymm.com; and Pankaj Sikka, Licensing Manager, Bioworld India. Rahul Akkara expatiated over how using licensed characters from Disney had helped in increasing sales of his "Go" brand. The session also discussed on identifying and developing relationships between manufacturers, retailers and brand owners.

The fourth session was on "Licensing and the law" wherein discussion took place amongst Safir Anand, Senior Partner, Anand and Anand Law Firm; Tanushree Sangal, Senior Legal Counsel, Bradford License India; Himanshu Chahar, Corporate Lawyer, LexCounsel; and Tushar Chawla, Partner, Economic Laws Practice. The speakers discussed on the legal aspect of licensing, its cruciality, be it drafting an agreement, being aware of various intellectual property rights involved or the role of a licensing agent.

The topic for the fifth session was "Royalties, risks and advanced financial know-how" wherein Rob Ridder; Rahul Dev, Partner, Tech Corp Legal LLP; and Rodney D. Ryder, Partner, Scriboard (Advocates & Legal Consultants) discussed on 360 analysis on royalty rates - what they are, how they differ by category, how they relate to margins and cost of goods, and how they relate to other business terms like advances and guarantees.

The sixth and the last session for day 1 was on "Designing a Style Guide for Your Brand", wherein Michelle Minieri and Adam Berg participated. In this session, Berg explained why design guide is required, how it is designed and how it helps in building brand equity. Minieri spoke over the benefits of a comprehensive style guide.

Day 2

The first session of day 2 began with "Sports licensing: Beyond the Pitch" wherein Col. Arvinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer, K.P.H Dream Cricket Pvt Ltd; Rob Ridder; and Arun Prasad, Manager- Sales & Marketing, Total Sports & Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd. took part. Col. Arvinder Singh shared his experience during IPL cricket series, explaining that people are interested in buying licensed sports merchandise but majority are not willing to pay for it. Prasad talked about the growing popularity of sports merchandise in India. Rob discussed some of the pain points of licensing industry.

The next session was on "Entertainment Licensing" on which Achille Forler, Managing Director, Deep Emotions Publishing (a joint-venture with Universal Music Publishing Group); Hrishi Oberoi, Director - IG Studios, Indiagames Ltd; Pankaj Sikka; and Mandar Gupte, Vice President- Finance, Universal Music India discussed in detail. The speakers discussed the major trends in games, movies and music licensing.

The third session was on "Corporate Licensing" on which speakers - Sid Shah, President, The Wild East Group; Michelle Minieri; Adam Berg; Prem Kamath, Executive VP and GM, Channel V, Star India Pvt Ltd; Subham Ray, Chief-Private Brands, Future Value Retail Limited; and Rahul Gambhir, Director-Licensing, Tommy Hilfiger, shared their view points and experiences. Sid Shah discussed about how corporate brands are using brand licensing to extend their brand portfolio.

The last session of day 2 was on "Celebrity Licensing" wherein Sid Shah and Michelle Minieri shared their view points. Speaking on the same, Minieri said that consumers instantly connect to a brand endorsed by a celebrity. This is one way for a product to become an instant hit among the consumers. Sharing his view points, Shah explained a checklist while considering buying celebrity licensing.

The conference was attended by sixty plus delegates including brand owners, manufacturers, retailers, marketing professionals, management students and licensing agents.

For the first time ever, two major licensing award categories were added to the prestigious Star Retailer Awards in the mega Show of Franchise India 2011. While the Licensor of the year award was received by Gaurav Brar, Director, Cartoon Network Enterprises, South Asia, Turner and Anand Singh, Senior Manager- Theme Parks and Retail Sales, Cartoon Network Enterprises, India and South Asia; the licensee of the year award was received by Subham Ray, Chief-Private Brands, Future Value Retail Limited. Both the players have been doing some extra ordinary work over the years and acknowledgement was certainly due!