Football club evolves into a lifestyle brand through licensing
Another speaker, Stefania Perletto, Licensing Manager at Italian football club AS Roma, said she is working for an entity that is much more than a football club: "It is a content and media company, as well as a lifestyle brand," she said. The company's goal is to go beyond traditional sports marketing to build new international audiences, with successful long-term global partnerships already cemented with international brands such as Qatar Airways, Nike and Hyundai, as well as with many local and regional partners, offering a wide range of training apparel, leisurewear, accessories and gifts with the iconic AS Roma logo and colours.
Ms Perletto said that product execution involves building a lifestyle mood that transcends the product and the team, through style, design and fashion. "We want to build new partnerships in different ways through co-branding and brand collaboration," she said, explaining that the tools AS Roma employs are its intellectual property (IP), product design and quality, distribution and marketing campaigns. She reminded the audience that while licensees provide added value, brands need to ensure they select partners with connected core values.
Licensing collaborations bring characters and fans together
Robert Goodchild, Head of Licensing at Aardman Animations Limited, is responsible for the global merchandise programmes for several major Aardman brands including Shaun the Sheep, Wallace & Gromit, Timmy Time and Morph, among others. The company now has more than 180 licensees across 30 territories. "We work with many brands all over the world," he said, "and it's all about bringing colour and character to campaigns. By bringing character to a campaign we can reach new audiences and build commercially successful partnerships."
One recent example of a successful partnership was Aardman's collaboration with premium British lifestyle brand Joules last Christmas, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of both Joules and Aardman's hugely popular Wallace & Gromit animation. Aardman also created a bespoke photoshoot with British retailer Harvey Nichols, and used its characters and humour to bring a lifestyle brand to life in a collaboration with British sofa brand DFS, emphasising the fact that both brands produce everything in the United Kingdom.
"Licensing has the benefit of bringing brands and fans together. For example, bringing Shaun the Sheep to a theme park brings an audience along with it," Mr Goodchild added.
Internet disrupts the music licensing ecosystem
Yu Chen-lai, General Manager of Fine Entertainment Limited, pointed out that the evolution of the internet has had an impact on the music licensing market. Song licences used to be controlled by the record company, but now artists can retain copyrights for their own songs. This phenomenon is still at an early stage in Asia and the market potential is still to be fully realised. Mr Yu said he is looking forward to seeing a more mature licensing market in Asia, with strengthened channels bringing benefits to artists and project owners. "If more people understand the benefits that licensing brings, it will generate a positive impact to the development of the industry in the long run," he said.
Mr Yu said the development of 5G will benefit the streaming of media such as music and videos and is expected to expand the market for commercial music. He explained that the music platform 24Cmusic, run by Fine Entertainment, will expand into the mainland and Southeast Asian markets within the next five years. Based on the platform's existing resources, the company's business expansion will take three directions: first, integrating the pop music licensed commercial channels, second by nurturing the creative force in creating soundtracks, and third by bringing specialist Asian music to the global market.
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