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‘Your brand can never stand still’ says LBF panel

Brand licensing execs offer advice to authors and illustrators at London Book Fair.

A panel of licensing executives gathered at London Book Fair yesterday (April 10) to offer advice to authors and illustrators about how to build a brand.

Chaired by Helen McAleer, the panel included Susan Bolsover, licensing and consumer products director at Penguin Ventures; joint md of Rocket Licensing, Rob Wijeratna; and Ryan Beaird, marketing and operations manager at LIMA UK and also the creator of the Gross Empires brand.

Key advice included making sure a brand never stands still, being honest about how far a brand will credibly stretch and looking at opportunities in all sectors.

“Your brand can never stand still; you have to keep reinventing it as your audience will always be evolving,” Susan explained to the assembled delegates. “Know what your brand stands for and be honest about how far it will credibly stretch.

“Most of all though, having a good story to start with will carry you through.”

Rob explained that, for an agent, there is so much out there that it’s important to look at everything.

“Be clear, concise and collaborative – that is key to making a brand work,” he said. “Does your brand have appeal, is it unique and who is the target? You need to have a significant platform and, importantly, passion for your brand.”

Ryan explained that he tested the characters for Gross Empires – which now number 70+ – on Instagram to find out what worked and what didn’t, as well as to help build up the fanbase for the brand.

He has also received feedback from a school in Bedford where he roadtested some of the characters with pupils and constantly updates the fans on Gross Empires’ progress.

“Never stop meeting people; make sure you attend networking events and trade fairs,” he said. “Use social media to find your audience and people who really love your content. The platform really allows fans to be passionate about your brand.”

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