Making big money with your products or services doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks. Riding the Coat-tails is a licensing strategy to get instant market recognition for your products or services. This strategy taps into the consumer awareness of well known brand.

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Many types of product and service companies – consumer goods, entertainment, technology and others – spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting their core brand and creating a big consumer market. Licensing lets you lease their brand equity, and use it to sell your products or services. You’ve got a lot of licensing options with this strategy. For example, licensing a well known sports franchise brand let’s you take advantage of their broad consumer awareness. You get the added benefit of live games and on going advertising without the cost.

I used this strategy with a client who invented a new portable “bar and grill entertainment center” that was ideal for tailgating. Rather than spending big money to try and promote it “generically”, I helped them license several big college and professional football team brands. They branded the product with team logos and colors. Their products got immediate access to the big retailers, instant customer recognition, ongoing promotional support from the televised football games, and multiple “brand” promotions from the other licensing partners.

Licensing a bigger partner brand is also a way to multiply your marketing dollars. Often times, you can tap into their ongoing promotional and advertising campaigns, sometimes for little or no money. A few years ago I worked with a toy company and negotiated a license with a major studio for their animated movie releasing in the fall. To promote the movie, the studio wanted products to give away at the movie premier. In return for supplying some toys my client got extensive media coverage in newspapers and on radio stations as part of the movie promotion.

Building market awareness and consumer demand is this day and age is a very expensive undertaking. Especially if you are a small company or start-up with limited resources. You can use licensing to tap the resources of a bigger partner. If you are looking for a way to get promotional muscle behind your products or services, then “Riding the Coattails” could be the right licensing strategy for you.

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Mr. Brenner has over 30 years IP management and licensing experience with various industries including consumer products, food, entertainment, software,health technology, medical devices and digital media. He has led international licensing programs as both licensee and licensor, and through consulting projects focused on strategy and management, outbound / inbound licensing initiatives, and IP audits and due diligence.. He has developed and managed deals with Fortune 1000 companies including Universal Studios, Fox Interactive, Sony Pictures, Dow, Cargill, SmithKline Glaxo, Ranir, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, Hasbro, Mattel, and others. He is a public speaker and published writer, and has taught classes at the university level. His speaking events have included UC Irvine, Tritech/SBDC, Irvine Chamber, Fast Start Studios, ICFO Investors Conference, San Diego Investment Conference, Westlaw Legal Center (NYC), National Speakers Association, and the Hong Kong FilmArt Expo. He has written several articles on licensing intellectual property which have appeared in the Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India.

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