License Global speaks with Ross Misher, chief executive officer, Brand Central, to find out what we can expect from the company for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025 and its plans for Licensing Expo in May.

Jane Neal, Content Editor

March 28, 2024

4 Min Read
Ross Misher, Brand Central
Ross MisherBrand Central

License Global: What is a fun fact about your company that people might not know?

Ross Misher: Brand Central has the privilege of representing many of America’s favorite food and beverage brands from M&M’s and Heinz to Entenmann’s and Josh Wine. In the past, we’ve worked with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Kellogg’s, Krispy Kreme, Mondelez, Takis and many more. Brand Central has represented 35% of the top 30 most recognizable household brands.

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

Since our first collab in 2005, Brand Central has been at the forefront of collaborations – setting trends rather than following them. Notably, we were the first to partner with a celebrity boutique, Kitson, for “Are You a Betty or Are You a Veronica?” which set the model for collaborations at the time. Thinking creatively, we collaborated with retail powerhouse, Target, by creating “Tar-zhay Couture,” a collection of luxury goods featuring the iconic bullseye logo sold through high-end specialty stores. Fast forward to today, and we’re still at it, creating cool mashups like Heinz x Casetify for National Ketchup Day, unexpected pairings like Kraft Mac & Cheese x Van Leeuwen ice cream or bringing two favorites together like Doritos x Tapatio Hot Sauce. It’s all about creating culturally relevant products that make consumers go, “Wow, I need that!”

Related:Loud Luxury Confirmed for First Official Closing Night Party at Licensing Expo

Kraft Mac & Cheese x Van Leeuwen ice cream

What changes are you seeing in the licensing industry?

The licensing industry is experiencing rapid evolution, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer behavior and shifting retail dynamics. There’s a noticeable resurgence in the appeal of private label and yet conversely a deepening appreciation for established brands. Retailers are increasingly cautious, favoring brands with proven market appeal, while consumers are placing a premium on authenticity, particularly in products targeting niche demographics. Although collaborations remain integral, the industry faces challenges in maintaining the novelty and excitement surrounding these partnerships, highlighting the need for experts like Brand Central in the areas of innovation and thoughtful execution.

Primitive x Mr. Rogers collection

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

My advice to someone starting in our industry is that you are about to enter the most fun, ever-changing and satisfying “family.” As a multi-billion-dollar industry, it is amazing how small and connected it feels. When our Brand Central team members join us from other fields, I encourage them to network with peers as much as possible as they will be the next CEOs and heads of licensing. Remember, the connections you establish today could be instrumental in shaping your future career path. Learn as much as you can by reading trade magazines, going to trade shows, keeping up on trends and going to seminars like Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe. Finally, actively share your observations as we want to hear your unique perspective that can provide invaluable insights to your team.

What are your goals for Licensing Expo show this year? 

Licensing Expo is such a great opportunity to spend quality time with everyone in the industry and have meaningful conversations in-person (vs. Zoom calls). Our outbound licensing team will be connecting with strategic licensees and retailers to present new and ongoing opportunities across our entire portfolio. We’re also excited to announce we will be introducing several exciting new clients we have recently signed who are brand new to the licensing community. Our manufacturer representation division will be running from booth-to-booth with our clients searching for the next perfect brand to acquire for their products. We look forward to welcoming attendees to walk up to our booth (#F154) and sharing new ideas or meeting potential IP owners seeking representation. Finally, we are looking forward to spending time with our international agent network and global licensee partners.  

Sparkling Ice Starburst Flavors

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

Brand Central will continue to be a dominant force in the industry, particularly in the realm of food and beverage licensing. From industry titans like Mars Wrigley and Kraft Heinz, to beloved favorites like Tapatio Hot Sauce and Entenmann’s bakeries, we will continue to grow our food and beverage portfolio. We always try to have a diverse client mix and will be adding new corporate lifestyle brands over the next few years. Finally, our manufacturing representation division continues to scale significantly with double the staff and clients we had just 1-2 years ago. Over the next few years, you can expect Brand Central to deliver exciting strategic partnerships, unexpected collaborations and breaking new ground in ways the industry never thought possible.

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.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry Article
Join 62,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like