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What is Brand Licensing? A Brief Guide


Branding agencies have an array of tools at their disposal to help your brand reach new audiences, define its values and put its best foot forward. Brand licensing is one strategy that can help raise awareness of your products and properties.

What is it, how does it work, and does it make sense for your business? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

What is Brand Licensing?

Brand licensing is the act of selling the license to intellectual property affiliated with your brand to other brands. Take, for example, McDonald’s happy meals and the many different intellectual properties represented by the toys included.

Sonic the Hedgehogs, Smurfs and Trolls are all examples of times McDonald’s purchased brand licences to boost sales. At the same time, the properties we just mentioned got a chance to raise brand awareness as McDonald’s customers came into contact with their mascots.

Brand Licensing can be an excellent way for small businesses to increase their revenue. It gives them access to more widely available assets that make a more significant impact on the market.

What Can Be Licensed?

Here are some brand licensing categories:

Brand and Trademark: Companies can license their organisation’s brand name or logo. In other words, their trademark. This allows restaurants to use the coca-cola logo on their drink dispensers, for example. For coca-cola, this means millions in extra revenue. For small restaurants, it means being able to provide customers with the brands they trust and favour.

Patents: Patents give license buyers access to intellectual property that can otherwise not be used commercially. This allows them to produce products and services based on the licensed design.

Characters, Entertainment, Art: As mentioned above in the example of Mcdonald’s, many companies choose to licence mascots or characters to incorporate into their products. There is no shortage of brands that have licensed Disney characters, for example, to create dolls, calendars, costumes and much more based on popular and recognisable characters.

Software: Another example of brand licensing is when you use white-label software. You might be using another company’s tool. Still, by purchasing the right to label it under your own brand, you can use the tool to offer professional services to your clients and gain brand recognition.

Which Brand Licences Should You Try to Obtain?

Purchasing brand licences for some of the categories above can be expensive. Still, they can help your brand scale on the back of popular franchises and products. This makes the most sense if you offer products or services that appeal to the same niche of customers as the significant corporation you’re looking to license from.

If you’re interested in livening up your next product design or campaign by collaborating with another brand, why not speak to a brand strategy agency in London? Zak is a branding agency that will help you find the right partnerships and negotiate the terms.

Get in touch today to learn more.