"An overabundance of competition in a continually shrinking retail landscape [been the biggest change I've seen in the licensing business]," says Lauren Winarski, senior manager, brand and licensing, Funko.
However, many brands have been able to leverage the new playing field to their advantage. Companies such as Winarski's own Funko have found real success by leveraging strong brand affinity and smart acquisitions to grow as a business.
Funko made a name for itself with its licensed collectible Pop! figures. Now, it has built up an enthusiastic fanbase that helped propel the company into new avenues in recent years. When asked about Funko Pops!, Winarski shared
"We look at all licenses uniquely," adds Winarski. "So, while there is no set checklist, there are few FAQs in our evaluation: Does it make sense for the Funko brand? Is this something we want to be aligned with? Does it make sense for our consumer demographic? Does the timing align for when we can get the item on-shelf? Is the character interesting? Once you translate it into the form factor, does the character still hold?"
Now, after 21 years in the business, Funko has expanded rapidly. It has recently acquired three different companies, expanded their digital footprint by using Pop! as an entertainment platform and introduced
experiential-based retail storefronts
in the U.S.
To discuss more how Funko has thrived as a brand and share how it plans to leverage its large fanbase into the future, Winarski will be hosting a session at the upcoming Licensing Leadership Summit event. Join her for the discussion, "I Want it Now!: Using the Fan Expand Distribution," at this year's
taking place March 16–17 at the
in New York, NY.
Hear from the Licensing Industry’s Leading Voices
for the Licensing Leadership Summit to hear thought leaders such as:
senior manager, sponsorships and operations, player services NFLPA;
, chairman and co-founder, Beanstalk;
And many more!
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