The Future of Licensing, Part II: Delivering the Brand Message

AuthorMichael Sanford Stone
ProfessionB.A. from Hamilton College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law
The Future of Licensing,
Part II: Delivering the
Brand Message
Although media spending is rising, brands are shii ng their
marketing dollars away from traditional advertising. at should
not be surprising to anybody. A number of reasons exist for this
change: Consumers are buying less in some categories, and com-
panies need to cut costs; questions have arisen about the eec-
tiveness and quality of dig ital advertising as well as television and
print advertising; advertisers are turning toward YouTube stars
and inuencers to promote their brands (and in some instances,
virtua l reality and augmented reality).1 ere are many new paths
for delivering a brand message to consumers, engaging and con-
necting with t hem, and brands are experimenting , and oen
struggli ng, to determine the best paths for their particu lar brand.
1. “Ad Industry Woes Deepen,” e Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2017, page 1.
The Power of Licensing
Brand messaging today is a stew of consumer experiences. A great
deal of attention is being given to how to use marketing dollars
eectively and how to best reach consumers with a brand mes-
sage. James Quincey, CEO of e Coca-Cola Company, said “e
way brands are getting created today is not just . . . making ad s
that people love. It’s through i nteraction direct ly wit h customers
without advertising at all.”2 Digital advertising revenues, which
can be used to reach broad audiences, surpassed television adver-
tising revenues in 2017. Large consumer goods companies such as
P&G, Unilever, Kra Heinz, and Nestlé, are reducing t heir overall
ad spending, oen by signica nt amounts. Is t raditional advertis-
ing dead? Of course not. But marketers (both brands and their
agencies) will continue to look for the most eective way to reach
consumers with their messages a nd budgets.
ere’s a famous advertising saying: “Half my advertising is
wasted. e trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Well, with so
much data available today, that is no longer true. With data, mar-
keters can target narrow slices of consumers (sometimes one-on-
one), oen directly, and can also reach broad audiences. ey can
oer branded content to consumers across multiple devices. ey
can use YouTubers and inuencers to deliver a brand message—
and much more.
Brand licensing ts perfectly into this new messag ing and
communications dynamic. As we have seen, licensing provides a
vehicle for brand owners to achieve their communication goals and
enga ge wi th co nsum ers. I t shou ld be viewe d in t he co ntex t of al l of
the varying ways that brand owners can now communicate their
brand message and brand promise to consumers. Considering it
in this manner reveals how importa nt licensing can be as tool to
engage the consumer and create or strengthen brand connection.
With today’s digitally savv y consumers (which are increas-
ing as Gen Z comes of age), brand loyalty is more tenuous than
ever before, particularly in our rapidly expa nding information age.
2. Id.

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