Global licensing agency Beanstalk is heading into this year’s Brand Licensing Europe armed with a portfolio of clients and extensions for each, capitalizing on its nearly three decades in the business of brand building.
With a roster of brands that are truly global, Beanstalk manages licensing programs for world-class companies across diverse categories including Stanley Black & Decker, P&G, Diageo, TGI Fridays, Energizer, ESL and Bear Grylls, and is diving into new and burgeoning categories such as eSports via Tinderbox, the agency’s digital division.
And with deep expertise within the organization to service and guide these clients, it’s no wonder that the programs Beanstalk champions gain traction at retail.
“Our talent is truly exceptional and integral to our success as an agency,” says Allison Ames, president and chief executive officer, Beanstalk. “Our team is made up of experts across disciplines and categories to properly develop and service the many different licensing programs we manage on behalf of our clients. We have colleagues with experience in food and beverage, fashion, media, home improvement, electronics and entertainment, among many other areas, and this allows us to staff our clients’ businesses with the right talent to quickly develop and monetize their specific licensing strategies.”
Beanstalk helps leading brands, celebrities, media properties, manufacturers and retailers strengthen their relationship through products, says Ames. But particularly, the agency has strong experience in the areas of food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, home improvement, home décor, consumer electronics, health and beauty and gaming.
Take Diageo, for example, a globally recognized leader in alcoholic beverages and the owner of such historic brands as Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys and Guinness. Beanstalk is actively growing several of these brands via product extensions, taking the labels and flavor profiles that consumers know and love and bringing them into brand-new categories.
“The licensing of food and beverage brands has seen significant growth in the past few years, and the U.K. is leading the way in launching innovative, brand-enhancing products in this area,” says Lisa Reiner, managing director, Europe and Asia Pacific, Beanstalk. “This is particularly true in the consumables space where innovations in the delivery of flavor profiles have resulted in numerous new category launches in food and beverage categories for Beanstalk’s clients in 2018.”
Recently, Guinness launched a new line of cheddar with Windyridge that hit more than 275 Morrisons supermarkets; while retailer Selfridges also featured its own line of Guinness cheddar, chutney and chips alongside variants of the namesake beer in its Taste of the Emerald Isle shop.
Baileys is also finding new categories to dominate, and looking to new sweet treats. Partners such as Finsbury, which launched a Freakshake cake available at Asda and a Baileys yule log that hit shelves at Tesco and Asda this month, and Tassimo, which launched hot chocolate pods last month at grocers across the U.K., are further reinforcing the brand’s growth. Other treats include a Baileys ice cream, available at Tesco from partner DMK; a new line of coffee creamers from Danone that are available in the U.S.; and chocolates from Turin, a Wrigley Mars company, which introduced an Amazon product assortment.
Rum label Captain Morgan is also finding extension success at retail, thanks to the seasonal Summer Like a Captain merchandise program that supported its #LikeACaptain marketing campaign. The product line was promoted by an extensive social media campaign as well.“
Licensing follows fame, so first and foremost, the brand has to enjoy broad awareness among consumers,” says Ames. “[At Beanstalk] we look for brands that possess strong equities and licensable assets. The brand must also be able to fill a void in the marketplace and offer a unique selling proposition in the category. Lastly, the client needs to be operationally ready to support licensing, dedicating a point of contact to work with the agency and champion licensing internally. In fact, at Beanstalk, cultural fit with a client is of utmost importance. We work very hard to make sure that we have the right internal culture and external cultural fit with all of our clients and provide them with services characterized by a high degree of excellence. We are keenly focused on a culture of collaboration and creativity and providing an outstanding level of personalized client service and attention.”
And that attention to detail, right down to the strong relationship enjoyed between client and agency, can perhaps be best seen in Beanstalk’s 20-year partnership with Stanley Black & Decker and its portfolio of brands.
According to Beanstalk, there are more than 185 Stanley Black & Decker licensees worldwide, with licensed products in more than 90,000 doors, generating $1.55 billion in retail sales. In the hard goods sector, Beanstalk is actively developing the Stanley, Black + Decker, Dewalt and Facom licensing programs.
In the U.K. and Europe, the program continues to its core home product ranges, and into new categories such as manual and motion-sensor technology garbage cans, manual cleaning tools and laundry management products. Additional new products, such as heating and cooling appliances and small kitchen appliances, recently launched, as well.
Dewalt is extending in close-to-core categories across Europe with two-way radios, material handling products and generators.
Beanstalk will also concentrate on extensions for Facom in France, its core market; Stanley across Europe within the hardware and tools category; and Craftsman in the U.S., which recently named the agency as its exclusive global licensing representation.
For TGI Fridays, Beanstalk has led the charge for branded cocktails from U.K.-based Manchester Drinks and food gifting for retailer Boots from IG Design Group.
Beanstalk also represents Bear Grylls, the extreme outdoors personality known for his incredible survival tactics. For this lifestyle program, on tap are a range of cameras and electronic accessories from Lyte, outdoor camping and survival gear from JMW Sales and true-to-brand health bars created from insect powder from Tobar.
Energizer is expanding its program in the U.K. via Beanstalk. Recent partnerships for the brand include with Custom Accessories Europe, and in the U.S., One Energy Solutions for an Energizer Power Portal, an online energy marketplace that brings buyers and sellers together to compare and shop for the best natural gas and electricity supply options available in 23 states. Jem Accessories is also on board for Energizer in North America for branded smart home devices.
Another brand in the Energizer portfolio, Eveready, has recently extended its 100-plus-year brand recognition in lighting to BravoLED for a full line of household and commercial lighting products, which will launch in the U.S. and Canada in early 2019.
Continuing Energizer’s licensing program growth in Latin America, Urbano Design has become the licensee for a design-driven line of Energizer-branded household lighting, set to hit market by mid-2019.
Corporate brand P&G also works with Beanstalk across its global portfolio of brands including Febreze, Ambi Pur, Fairy, Lenor and Braun. Most recently, Beanstalk extended the Braun brand to watches, such as the AW 10 EVO, inspired by Dietrich Lubs’ design aesthetic.
These extensions, while extremely varied, all come about thoughtfully and carefully, with the brand’s core business top-of-mind.
“We are passionate about creating world-class products and services for our clients that enhance brand value, increase long-term relevance and deliver new consumer experiences, all while generating meaningful revenue,” says Ames. “In order to accomplish this, we are constantly tracking market signals–consumer behavior trends, cultural trends, retail trends and industry trends. It’s mission critical for our business, because when we craft licensing strategies for our clients, they have to reflect what’s happening today in our culture and be sustainable for the future. Once we’ve identified a target category, we look for leading-edge partners that demonstrate a commitment to high-quality products and continuous innovation and have the technical expertise, capabilities and resources to dedicate to R&D and manufacturing operations.”
Arguably, no category is hotter today in pop culture than eSports. The new-ish field offers ample opportunity for brand extensions, catering to an eager population of enthusiasts.
“Gaming is no longer seen as a niche, and it is generally noted that major game franchises secure millions if not, hundreds of millions, of players globally,” says Dan Amos, associate vice president, Beanstalk. “The world of eSports is equally accelerating past the notion of niche with televised tournaments and multi-million dollar prize pools, and ESL is at the forefront of legitimizing this new sport.”
Now, Beanstalk’s Tinderbox will represent ESL, one of the world’s largest eSports companies, for licensing opportunities in North America and Europe.
“ESL is a truly global eSports brand with ESL events filling arenas in countries such as the U.S., U.K., Germany, Poland, Australia and China,” says Amos. “Tinderbox will leverage ESL’s global footprint to develop consumer products programs in all its key markets.”Tinderbox will look to extend the ESL brand into lifestyle and consumer electronics segments via categories such as apparel, fashion accessories, gift and novelty, consumer peripherals, audio and gaming accessories.
“ESL is synonymous with eSports, being the largest eSports company in the world, and with the continued rising popularity of both video games and competitive play, ESL is perfectly positioned to bring lifestyle categories such as apparel to mainstream retail,” says Amos.
But at the end of the day, no matter the partnership, whether it be across F&B, corporate or gaming, the best deals are only as good as the relationships that they rest upon.
“I like to say that the world of licensing is all about relationships–existing relationships and always building new relationships. And being in the business for as many years as we have, and with the diverse team that we have, we have outstanding relationships with manufacturers and retailers on a global basis,” says Ames.