Curating Consumers: A Brief Introduction to Heritage Licensing
HERITAGE INSTITUTIONS CURATE and maintain centuries of creativity, from archives of textiles and designs to individual artifacts, world landmarks, historical milestones and iconic works of art. Generating more than $1.181 billion in 2017, according to Licensing International’s Global Licensing Industry Survey 2019, the heritage sector – which also includes not-for-profit organizations – stands as one of the most exciting and authentic sources of inspiration for licensees.
It's this authenticity that drives a deeper connection with consumers. Licensed products in this sector such as those inspired by Hokusai's The Great Wave – arguably one of the first globally recognized artworks, and heritage brands, in Japan – draw inspiration from iconic works and provides buyers with authentic consumer-driven design, such as the Great Wave-inspired homeware additions from the British Museum.
“Heritage brands are built on a strong and authentic history,” says Craig Bendle, manager, merchandising and licensing, British Museum. “Of course, heritage licensing is not just about brand association. There is also a strong asset base that can be drawn upon to support exciting licensing product development; in our case, some very well-known objects as diverse as Hokusai’s The Great Wave, The Rosetta Stone, beautiful ancient Greek pottery, the Sutton Hoo helmet, drawings by Michelangelo, the Lewis Chessmen and so on.”