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It’s not about money, it’s the value that counts

Striking the right marketing comms partnership is worth its weight in gold, says Richard Pink.

Okay then – as it’s the first of my promotional columns let’s start with something a bit controversial.

Anyone who thinks that using their licence (whether they own it or represent it) to support the marketing campaign of another brand (that’s a Star Wars promotion on a packet of cereal, Postman Pack destroying his town in a TV ad for Supersavers or Paddington Bear taking over Warburtons) is only worth doing if they are getting paid a licensing fee for it, is probably missing the point.

Don’t get me wrong – you owe it to yourself and your clients to get a fee for the use of your property – how else are we going to feed our children. However if you look only at the fee then you miss some of the other associated benefits that go along with striking such a deal.

I have always thought that the conversation shouldn’t be about money, but about ‘value’; and there is a huge amount of value to be had if you can strike a marketing communications partnership with the right partner.

Firstly there is the positive associations that go along with your partners brand – ok there are always going to be issues around buddying up with the fast food, snacks and fizzy drink brigade, but they aren’t the only potential partners out there – there are many others who can bring a positive halo without being worthy.

Star Wars cereal

Then there is the additional exposure for your brand through the communication of the campaign, and the distribution of whatever product or service is the ultimate outcome of the association.

The value of this is not measurable in cash terms, but the goodwill can be immense.

Retailers see your brand in places they aren’t expecting to, meaning there is a much better chance for you and your licensees to sell in your licence and the licensee’s products off the back of the campaign.

Your own licensees see you at work, and positive work at that – promoting the brand, giving them confidence and suggesting to them that they maybe ought to be pushing the brand up the priority list with their portfolio.

Most importantly, consumers see your brand and are likely to get excited about the activity if it’s creatively imaginative.

The holy trinity then: licensees excited, retailers aware and consumers with an appetite to buy – and that DOES mean money in the bank.

Another way of looking at these promotions or marketing communications campaigns are as a piece of ‘marketing you don’t have to pay for’ (and if you negotiate it well enough, you might get paid, too).

Richard Pink is md of Pink Key Consulting – an agency specialising in licensing and promotions. He can be contacted on

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