Global Icons: Innovating Brand Licensing for Client Growth

“We’ve determined that we can deliver a different level of service to clients by focusing on fewer deals, but the correct deals that help clients grow in certain key areas,” explains Founder and CEO Jeff Lotman. “Programs must ideally fit with a brand and be more than just a label slap. They must attract the consumers that clients are looking for, benefitting the consumer and the brand.”

Strength of experience

The company’s philosophy relies heavily on innovation and aggressive marketing, expanding brand awareness and generating new revenue streams for clients by launching new products and distribution channels. It also takes advantage of the experience of its leadership.

Lotman spent more than 18 years as a leading executive with a multibillion-dollar manufacturing company before creating Global Icons. His experience with the food and beverage industry has been invaluable to the company’s growth. COO Mike Gard has more than two decades of experience in the licensing industry. He came to Global Icons in January 2001 after amassing an impressive resume in the entertainment industry. This is the type of experience he brings to bear for Global Icons in strategic business development and brand acquisition.

Senior Vice President of Licensing Bill McClinton also joined Global Icons in 2001 after a successful stint in the entertainment world. He is responsible for developing, managing and implementing domestic and international merchandising programs.

Global Icons recognizes that the two biggest assets it has are people and a global presence. That is why the company’s investments are focused on talent and growing its footprint.

Lotman explains the company already has offices in Los Angeles and London and it is opening offices in Germany, Hong Kong, Shanghai and India so it can have good people on the ground that can deliver for clients.

“In terms of people, we look for individuals who have great energy and fit in with our group through a willingness to work hard and be creative,” Lotman says. “They have to be able to learn what the needs of our clients are by understanding their strengths and then go out and sell the benefits to the licensee.”

The right approach

A full-service agency, the company’s core capabilities lie in brand management and brand license acquisition. With brand management, the company offers brand licensing program services that connect consumers to a brand and create new revenue opportunities, measuring the program along the way to ensure goals and growth targets are met. Global Icons’ relationships with manufacturers and retailers also play a critical role in each client’s licensing program.

On the brand license acquisition side of its operations, Global Icons matches clients and brand owners by evaluating client objectives and business needs while also assessing intellectual properties that are available in a given market.

From there, the company identifies and reaches out to brand prospects, creates partnerships, negotiates and administers contracts and maintains and manages programs.

“Licensing and merchandising are really the key for us,” McClinton explains. “Our bread and butter is going out and finding opportunities that meet our clients’ brand equities and delivering on that need.”

Outside of its core services, the company provides consulting services, as well. These help companies determine and devise licensing and merchandising opportunities.

“When we recommend something to clients, they know we’re coming from a place that is best for the brand in the long term because we’ve built credibility with clients based on the success we’ve had,” McClinton says. “That is why we’ve been able to attract and hold on to so many billion-dollar clients.”

Although the company serves clients in many market areas, it has seen particular success in the auto industry and with food and beverage clients. Lotman’s background is in the food industry, and the company recognizes that food is the biggest category for revenue in brand licensing. In the auto industry, the company saw opportunity there and has produced significant deals for clients such as BMW and Ford.

“We saw that the whole garage area was untapped for Ford, and we’ve already done flooring and storage programs,” Lotman says. “There are tool and power equipment deals that are in the works, and those have grown out of our ability to understand the client, where the holes are and making sure we do a good job of filling them.”

“The interactive space is another area we’re working on,” McClinton adds. “It has changed drastically over the last few years, going from console to online apps and mobile games.

“Racing games are the leader in the interactive space, and having so many auto brands makes that a big part of our revenue stream. We are going about it by making sure our clients are getting their fair equity as the economics of the space evolves.”

Having earned a reputation for helping clients to build their brands and reach financial goals, Global Icons will continue to rely on its worldwide network of licensing professionals. These are the people whose knowledge and experience makes launching, expanding and managing successful brand licensing campaigns possible.

The company will undoubtedly experience more success stories as it puts the brand equity possessed by clients to work in new strategic licensing programs. It has invested in expanding its global footprint and its human capital, and Global Icons is confident that its experience and resources will help keep it ahead of the competition by enhancing the market presence and consumer loyalty for clients’ brands.

“In the United States, the challenges are to find categories that haven’t yet been licensed and making sure we’re with the right licensees and key retailers,” Lotman says. “Overseas, we are focused on finding the right opportunities. It may take some time to develop some of the business, but by putting our footprint down, it will make a difference for us.”