Licensing Expo’s Matchmaking Service provided the perfect opportunity to bolster Lonely Dog’s licensing portfolio.
When Tatiana Whytelord launched Intelligent Brand Extension 10 years ago in London, her philosophy was to create a holistic licensing agency that handled everything from marketing and licensing to intellectual property and legal strategy in order to maximize profit for brands.
While the philosophy remains the same, Whytelord’s team has evolved how they approach trade shows. Exhibiting at Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe has become an important part of the licensing process that “allows us to bring a brand to life,” she says. Meeting with retailers, manufacturers, brands and licensees is a critical step in forming relationships, and a perfect venue for showing off the talents of art brands such as Lonely Dog.
Intelligent Brand Extension teamed up to exhibit with the Lonely Dog art brand for its inaugural show in 2016. While at Licensing Expo, Lonely Dog introduced attendees to a world of art-based, unconventional characters including a humanized dog living in the seaside port town of Port Alveridge.
License Global sat down with Whytelord to hear more about her experience representing the art work at the shows and to learn how her team was able to maximize the brand’s potential by utilizing Licensing Expo’s new Matchmaking Service.
What made you decide to exhibit with Lonely Dog at Licensing Expo and BLE?
Intelligent Brand Extension is the global brand representative for everything Lonely Dog, from legal licensing and brand management to social media exposure. So exhibiting at Licensing Expo and BLE was a no brainer—the brand was able to reach out to its priority market, the U.S., as well as all European markets.
We were very lucky because we had Ivan Clarke, the creator of Lonely Dog, create his own booth. From there, the collaborative process evolved from designing an eye-catching booth to implementing some successful on-site meetings.
What deals have come about as a result of exhibiting at the shows?
Due to meetings on-site at Licensing Expo and BLE, Lonely Dog has forayed quickly into several new licensing deals including an agreement with Seco that will launch as soon as March 2017. The deal will turn some of Clarke’s character images into sophisticated puzzles using the robust experience of the Seco brand.
In addition, Lonely Dog penned a deal on-site at Licensing Expo with Things3D for an app, which is due to come out at the end of the year. Other conversations generated at the show included licensing the art for stationary and an animated film. And thanks to the buzz generated at the show, Lonely Dog launched its first e-commerce shop in December with product categories including apparel, tote bags, lifestyle items, textiles, towels and greeting cards, among others.
I must say that I am very pleased with the response that we got at Licensing Expo and BLE. The market is ready to see something new like this, a character that is not for children but adults.
What was your experience like with the Matchmaking Service? Any tips for first-time users?
Without a doubt we will use the Matchmaking Service again. It’s a worthwhile service to have because it allows you to communicate with other people on the same platform without constantly sending emails, so it’s actually quite attractive.
Several of Lonely Dog’s key meetings at Licensing Expo were arranged through the Matchmaking Service. I definitely give praises to the system as it helped give the agency some structure. Next year we might event start to seek out meetings and connections on the system a bit earlier than we did in 2016 in order to get the most out of it.
From your experience, what can Licensing Expo and BLE do for art brands?
Both shows are a great place to explore new opportunities for expanding an art brand. However, brands first need to identify if their work is focused around the art or the artist, as it can change how they choose to design and set up a booth. This is a confusion that I see often in the art that is exhibited at both shows. In our case, it’s not about the artist. Ivan Clarke is simply the vehicle that brings Lonely Dog to life.
Much of our own success at the shows in 2016 was due to the way in which we exhibited the art at our booth and created an inviting atmosphere for those walking by. We intend to continue exhibiting with Lonely Dog and other properties at upcoming Licensing Expo and BLE shows in order to help more brands tell their story. We live in a world where the story behind the art and the brand is very important.