10 Minutes With … Brandgenuity on 20 Years in Licensing

Ahead of Licensing Expo, License Global spoke with Adina Avery-Grossman, partner, Brandgenuity, about the company’s 20-year anniversary, plans for Licensing Expo and what comes next.

Jane Neal, Content Editor

April 18, 2024

5 Min Read
Adina Avery-Grossman, Brandgenuity
Adina Avery-GrossmanBrandgenuity

License Global: Brandgenuity celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Are there any highlights from that milestone you’d like to share? 
Adina Avery-Grossman: So many things stood out in the milestone year. We are grateful for our long-time clients who continue to expand our mandate to include new brands, categories and retail channels. And we are thrilled to be welcoming new clients and brands to the Brandgenuity family this year, like Nissan (building on our automotive licensing expertise), Honey Bunches of Oats (leveraging our food capabilities) and Royal Shakespeare Company (the singular brand that blends authority, art and entertainment).

Over the last year, food extensions have abounded at Brandgenuity. We are thrilled to have launched Buffalo Trace, Fireball and Southern Comfort seasonings, co-branded with Weber, with B&G Foods at major retailers nationally. We expanded our White Castle frozen food line (two flavors of Chicken Rings and three flavors of Castle Bites) across retailers, including Walmart, Target, Kroger, Meijer and others. We are so proud of the continued success of the Coffee-Mate Kahlua Crème coffee creamer. And, Mike’s Hot Honey is on fire with potato chips and pretzels co-branded with Utz. The stage has been set for more Mike’s Hot Honey extensions in shelf stable, refrigerated and frozen this year.

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What are some of the key collaborations that have defined Brandgenuity’s approach to licensing?

We are proud of the exciting work and ideas that we brought to market over the last year. To celebrate the 100th birthday of legendary artist, Roy Lichtenstein, BMW M Motorsport and PUMA developed an exclusive collection inspired by the BMW Art Car created by Lichtenstein in 1977. The Wrangler x Buffalo Trace collaboration brought together two iconic American brands for a premium lifestyle collection. We extended Dr. Scholl’s into automotive accessories with signature gel technology for comfort and relief with Custom Accessories (now in 10,000 doors), to name just a few.

Whether we are licensing a brand like Kahlua into creamers or ARM & HAMMER into the automotive accessories space, our approach is the same and time-tested. Our focus is to build the licensing strategy with key factors in mind: target demo, channels of distribution, prospective licensees and their capabilities, how to align extensions with the core brand, what benefits or solutions will this bring to the market, how we can delight consumers, how to manage the process soup to nuts to make it seamless for our clients and licensees.

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What new trends are you seeing in the licensing industry?  

We continue to see the power of co-branding and collaborating, how two brands working together can elevate both and delight consumers, not only in product execution, but in immersive activations that are supported by both the licensee and brand owner.

LTOs (limited-time offers) continue to grow in popularity and accomplish two things: they bring news to the category and enable the licensee to test the power of a license. We have seen LTOs transition to everyday distribution, and that is, of course, exciting for both the licensee and the licensor. The Utz and Mike’s Hot Honey chips were launched as an LTO and then brought into Utz’s everyday lineup.

Sustainability continues to be a focus in every conversation. Companies are looking to create sustainable products or products made from eco-friendly or recycled materials (like Ed Stafford and B-Corp-certified camping brand, OLPRO, who created a range of tents and sleeping bags made with sustainable materials). We have daily conversations about sustainable packaging and the ethical sourcing of ingredients. Sustainability and ethical practices are here to stay.

And, of course, there is AI, which has changed the way we think about information, data, ideation and analysis and how we can thoughtfully leverage it for our everyday business.

What advice would you give to someone just starting in licensing? 

Get as much exposure as you can to the various phases of the licensing process, from strategy to prospecting to licensee management. Read each license agreement closely and understand every provision. Don’t forget to build your network on LinkedIn and attend industry events. Follow brands and licensees and other thought leaders on social. Understand how AI is being used and how it can help you work smarter. Whether you are working in corporate, entertainment, sports or celebrity licensing, stay true to the brand and mind the details.

Are there new IPs and brands that you’ll be showcasing at Licensing Expo this year? 

Nissan and iconic brands, including NISMO, GT-R, Z and Skyline. Japanese car culture is rapidly growing globally, and Nissan has strong equity in street racing, customization and empowerment. The Royal Shakespeare Company, which brings Shakespeare to life through the power of performance, has a trove of inspiration from costumes to crowns that will inspire products in lifestyle apparel and accessories and home. Honey Bunches of Oats, the all-family cereal brand, will leverage the wholesome goodness and delicious, honey-kissed crunchy oat bunches into more products that the whole family will love.

What can we expect from Brandgenuity for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025? 

We’re very excited to announce several new food partners for Mike’s Hot Honey this year as they roll out to retail. New initiatives in the home fragrance and bedding/textile arena for ARM & HAMMER, first partners for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Nissan program growth. We expect to be opening our fourth office in 2024-2025 in Japan. Stay tuned!  

To learn more, visit Brandgenuity on booth J140, at Licensing Expo, May 21-24, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

Registration for Licensing Expo is open now, find out more.

About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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