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Fashion Law Blog An Interactive Discussion on the Business of Fashion

Lions and Tigers and BRANDING — Oh My!

Posted in Licensing

How excited am I?  As posted yesterday, I get to go to Vegas and report on and tweet about the Licensing Expo!  And I am slated to conduct some pretty cool interviews with top branding executives from Sony, Marvel, CAA and the Carton Network.  Cool huh?

So for those of you who are not familiar with licensing, in short, it is a way to turn a company into a brand.  What’s the difference?

A company generally makes one category of products while a brand crosses multiple platforms. 

For example an apparel company can make just women’s clothes and then begin to build a brand by adding in additional products like shoes, jewelery, handbags, etc.  Or you can take a music artist and then create a video game, a tv show, a clothing line, headphones etc. 

This is generally called vertical licensing – expanding your core product into completely different, but complimentary, product categories.

You can also build your brand by licensing horizontally.  An example would be a t-shirt company licensing into denim, dresses. outwear, etc.

The fashion and entertainment industries use all kinds of licensing models to build brands.  You may have heard the terms sponsorships, endorsements, joint ventures, direct to retail, development deal or other hybrid words tossed about — we’ll discuss these throughout the week.

For now, to understand the basics of trademark licensing, which is the most common in the fashion industry, click here.