The list of companies Ciarán Coyle has worked with reads like a who’s who of licensing. In Coyle’s career, he has worked with Beanstalk and represented brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Harley-Davidson, Jack Daniel’s, Stanley Black & Decker, Jaguar and Land Rover as well as Electrolux. Now, Coyle is the new president and chief operating officer of LMCA. Coyle shares his career trajectory, and lends his advice to those who are looking to make a splash in the licensing industry.
License Global: Before working in the brand licensing industry, you were the general manager and head of executive training at Pilgrims, where you worked with Mercedes-Benz and Shell. Were you able to take what you’ve learned at Pilgrims and implement it in your licensing career?
Ciarán Coyle: I’ve always worked with major international brands from the start of my career. My time as a general manager in executive training taught me a lot about getting to know the client, understanding their needs and how to respond appropriately to those needs. It’s also imperative that you understand their business if you want to be credible. The most important thing I learned was about culture – both corporate culture, which varied client to client, and the particular social culture which influenced their way of doing business. It is no different in licensing. You need to build relationship with all the stakeholders (licensees, retailers, etc.) and to understand the client brand and the marketplace. All are crucial to a successful, long-term partnership.
You were at Beanstalk for more than 10 years. You probably had an interesting point-of-view and saw the ebbs and flows of the industry. What did you learn from your time there?
I started at Beanstalk running the Ford portfolio of brands out of the London office which, at the time, included Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. We did lots of fun things with those brands including taking the existing dealer merchandise business and converting it to a licensing model. We also worked with the client to open Jaguar and Land Rover stores around the world, from the U.K. to South Africa and China. As president for Europe and Asia Pacific, I opened Beanstalk’s first office in Asia and sought to leverage the equity of our existing client base in new markets. That’s the entrepreneurial side of licensing – taking a risk on a new venture and seeing it grow and succeed. Most of all, I learned about the importance of the team, both on the agency side and the client side. I was lucky enough to work with a very talented team at Beanstalk and enjoyed marvelous support from the portfolio of clients we represented.
What was it like going from working on multiple brands at Beanstalk to working solely on Electrolux?
When I received the initial approach from the headhunter about joining Electrolux, I had…