The RFU is now handling its burgeoning licensing programme in-house, as it looks to further grow brand advocacy through consumer products.
A core team of three – Tom Heeks, licensing manager; Helen O’Connell, licensing executive; and Janesh Premkumar, product development coordinator – are now looking after licensing in-house, with additional support from the RFU’s sponsorship commercial partnership team.
The licensing drive had previously been handled by WildBrain CPLG and Tom is quick to praise the work the agency has put in to grow the programme.
“The fact we are able to take the programme in-house is a credit to the team at WildBrain CPLG for building it to a position where licensing is of that scale,” commented Tom. “Rugby is a growing sport and we are really looking to grow brand advocacy through product. Because our fan base is so broad, there is a lot of cool and interesting products that we can work on and we are looking at becoming more of a lifestyle brand.”
With the RFU marking its 150th anniversary in 2021, the licensing team is looking at expansion into new categories, as well as targeting a younger demographic and the female audience with specific product. Other activity includes a range of coins to mark the anniversary, plus commemorative rugby balls and a stamp collection with Royal Mail later this year.