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August 23, 2014

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10/13/03 Licensing Your Brand: A Huge Opportunity

The licensing industry is hot. Brands from cartoons to motorcycles have licensed their strong brands to companies wishing to sell more products to people with brand affinity. Harley-Davidson does not manufacture the hundreds of items sold with a Harley logo emblazoned upon them; they simply license their brand. Some of the deals are flat licensing fees, while others are fees plus a royalty on every item sold.

Radio is one of the few industries that are not consistently licensing the powerful brands it possesses. Think about the strength of a heritage-station brand in a market, or the brand of a hot, young station after months of promotion and successful ratings. That brand can be leveraged into a local licensing opportunity.

Recently, Clear Channel broke new ground by cutting a deal with a national restaurant chain, which will open restaurants under the brand of a strong local Radio brand. The first involves KFAN in Minneapolis: The restaurant company is opening a KFAN sports bar. Clear Channel wonít have to lift a finger to operate the business. Its only responsibilities are promotional in nature, and it must be sure its brand is well represented.

As a subscriber to Licensing Magazine for years, I have observed licensing of every imaginable brand. Putting the Flintstones on a bar of soap sells soap to moms because it gets the kids to use soap. Leveraging the cult brand you own is the key. What does your brand mean to the consumer, and how can it be leveraged beyond what you are doing with your station?

Your local brand can be leveraged to make a restaurant chain bring in your audience over the course of many years. The Clear Channel deal with Grand Management of Minneapolis is a 10-year deal. This is a step beyond advertising, one that could generate a lot more revenue from a local restaurant chain than they may be likely to spend on advertising.
This is a huge, untapped Radio opportunity that ó mark my words ó could generate huge dollars for your Radio stations. Taking a wait-and-see attitude, however, isnít smart because being first in the market for licensing gives you the upper hand.

In what ways could your brand be licensed locally? What does your brand stand for? Sports stations can be licensed for a sports bar or sporting-goods store. Music stations can be licensed for the lifestyle of your audience. If youíre a Modern Rock station, why not slap your brand on a nightclub, a coffee house? Understanding the cult that your brand stands for is the beginning of a huge opportunity for Radio.

Note: The power of brand leverage for licensing or for your own leverage is a critical element of Radio marketing today. As a result, Iíve signed B.J. Bueno to write for Radio Ink on a regular basis. BJ is to marketing now what Trout and Ries were 20 years ago. Speaking at a recent Radio Ink conference, he had the crowd wanting more. He has written a best-selling book called Cult Branding and has been a consultant to Nike, Coke and many other top brands. He is a genius.

Did I mention that he is 23?


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