Brand Licensing Outside the United States: It's a Big World Out There

AuthorMichael Sanford Stone
ProfessionB.A. from Hamilton College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law
Brand Licensing Outside
the United States: It’s a
Big World Out There
Introduction: It’s Different
Many brand owners look to extend their brands (sometimes to
establish their brands) through licensing outside the United States.
Some brand owners are more successful with licensing in ot her
countries—dierent brand perceptions as well as cultural sensi-
bilities dovetail with t he brand message in a dierent ways than
in the United States. Pantone is a good example of a product with
more licensing breadth outside the United States than within. For
example, the brand has been licensed in categories such as paint
in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, South Korea, Portugal, and the
United Kingdom; apparel and apparel accessories in Asia, Swit-
zerland, Italy, Germany, Australia, Monaco, and Japan; bedding
in Italy, Greece, Japan, Chile, and Colombia; kitchen products
in Italy, Asia, and Chile; home and home décor products in the
United Kingdom, Denmark, and South Korea; luggage in South
The Power of Licensing
Korea and Italy; paper and stationery products in Greece, Italy,
France, Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Chile, and Turkey; and cos-
metics and nail polish in t he United Kingdom, South Korea, and
Australia. at’s a great deal more licensing outside the United
States than this American brand does at home.
U.S. maga zine tit les o er exc elle nt ex ample s of f reque ntly hav-
ing more opportunities in licensing overseas than domestically
(see Esquire and Playboy exa mples later in the chapter). Rodale’s
Men’s Health, with over 100 editions around the world, mostly
licensed editions,1 is the biggest men’s health magazi ne worldwide.
Although the subject matter of Men’s Health is on trend and uni-
versal—health and wellness—there is not a great deal of licens-
ing activity in the United States. However, the brand is act ively
licensed for consumer products in the United Kingdom, its larg-
est overseas market, for exercise equipment as a DTR with Argos
as well as vitamins, beef ’n beans, healthy snacks, beef jerkey (a
healthy snack), “tools” for exercise, and natural foods in pouches
oering on-the-go snacks.
Why should brand owners consider licensing their brand over-
seas? If the brand is already active in its core category in an over-
seas market, it receives many of the benets enumerated in Chapter
3. Licensing overseas also creates a halo for the brand and a greater
brand global presence and brand essence. Even if the brand is not
act ive i n its core c ateg ory i n a pa rti cula r cou ntr y, tha t doe sn’t me an
it isn’t well known. Licensing becomes a route to allow consumers
to engage with the brand. Playbo y is a good example of a brand
that doesn’t oer its core product in China (i.e., the magazine) but
is very successful with licensing in categories such as apparel. By
doing your homework and having clearly stated goals for licens-
ing in any country, brands increase the odds for success. At the
same time, those odds decrease if you are react ive—responding
1. Many U.S. magazi ne titles license t he magazine oversea s (or enter into joint ventures),
allowing t he foreign publisher licen see to take advant age of U.S.-developed content whi le
also permit ting the licen see to present content speci c to local taste s and customs, the reby
“localizing” the magazine in a particular country.

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