Licensing collaborations, often taking the form of a symbiotic relationship between the stakeholders, are often difficult to manage and control. Ideally, the collaboration will flow smoothly and turn out beneficial for each of the parties. However, it can also appear demanding and even stressful, thus requiring everyone in the team to make redundant efforts.
Implementing a management strategy for licensing partnerships can foster solid relations and secure long-term success for all parties. An element of this strategy, brand licensing software make these partnerships flow easier and more efficient. Optimally, the proposed benefits will be equally spread across all licensing stages. In particular, the coverage should include the following
- organization of licensing agreement
- management of digital assets
- administration of design and product approvals, and
- sales and royalty reporting and financial validation
However, when it comes to specifics, the situation is often more complex. What we have observed many licensors asking themselves is:
How will our business actually benefit from integrating brand licensing software?
This question commonly narrows down to the partnerships that the licensor maintains within their business. Ensuring that their partnerships are trustworthy and cooperation is flowing smoothly are business-critical requirements for licensors across different industries. Brand licensing CRM software can positively contribute to the partners' collaboration by simplifying their workload and improving communication. Here is exactly how:
Clear and consistent communication
In the bigger picture, what really matters for a successful brand licensing cooperation are clarity and transparency. Integrated into the teams' everyday work, the two make it easier for everyone to manage the product development. It also significantly improves assignment implementation and progress tracking per product, both direct consequences of effective cross-team efforts.
Brand licensing software systems benefit licensing cooperation in different ways. On the one hand, they grant access to all relevant information regarding digital assets and style guides. On the other, they rationalize the workload to enable teams to focus more on strategic and creative activities. Additionally, their functions serve to establish strong communication channels for teams managing numerous product line projects.
Imagine a case where sales team notifies brand assurance team of a new deal status immediately after it’s won and a new partner starts straight away to the product development - no lagging or delays on the way. Wouldn’t just that make the teamwork in your organization less stressful?
It's important to note that although brand licensing software is powerful for managing licensing collaboration, defining the rules of the game remains an important task for a brand’s internal team. This team should instruct licensees and agents on the rules of using of a brand's intellectual properties in licensing. Another must is a regular re-evaluation of workflows essential for improvement of relationship management.
Smoother and faster turnaround period
While clear communication is key, it must be remembered that licensing business also relies on quality and speed of collaboration. Typically, challenges arise as stakeholders experience difficulties in maintaining visibility and control over the product pipeline, especially in creative work.
Frequently, this happens due to the inability of partners to monitor the historical overview of a program’s progress. First, it makes the licensor lose track of the progress status and misunderstand what needs to be accomplished next. Furthermore, failure to grasp current progress status confuses the licensee, leaving them wondering about what they should act on next.
In the majority of cases, poor collaboration environment and lack of transparency between the teams are to blame. If the necessary tools for locating product development data are missing, partners can't timely review new product concept images. This, in effect, significantly slows down their progress.
To tackle this problem, brand licensing software solutions offer practical settings that reflect specific collaboration needs of partners. In essence, these settings enable partner teams to produce efficient and timely results in product development. Such needs may include, for instance, convenient submission approval functions and commenting tools, a unified environment for file transfers, storage and overview, and easy filtering options for file and agreement management. Working more closely and effectively together, teams manage the licensing workload faster as turnaround times and the output quality improve
Productive working atmosphere and outcomes
Productivity is another important factor affecting the speed of the product development progress and the outcome of teams' work. As the product development process is staged, it's important to maintain the continuous rounds of stage approvals.
For instance, on this image, we can see that close to 30% of submissions are pending on the production stage. This means that licensees are waiting for the final sign-off to sell to retail, hence these submissions should be a priority.
The simplicity that software solutions provide by automating and scheduling licensing activities is of the greatest benefit for partners. Alongside that, the extra value comes from the organization brought to the partnership with the agreement management function. Such function helps to manage licensing agreements, distribute access rights via the agreements, and employ respective historical data. As a result, teams makea better agreement- and program-level decisions, which significantly enhances the overall performance of a licensing program.
The opportunity to foresee the future for their licensed brands is all-important for implementation of any kind of licensing strategy. This is exactly where many find analytics, another prerequisite feature of compelling brand licensing software, useful. Analytics extends partners’ ability to spot possible errors along the product development and take corrective action in a timely manner, steering the whole process in the right direction.
Follow-up on the milestones
As the product development proceeds, partners must submit numerous samples and meet plenty of deadlines. Even more importantly, they must work together on gradually passing the program's approval stages one by one. Keeping the development process under control via various email chains is extremely difficult. The continuous approval process includes a wide variety of significant landmarks. Many of those depend on the licensee’s actions, such as their first login to the portal site, viewing and downloading assets and style guides, creating first product concepts for review.
On the other hand, the progress speed greatly depends on the actions of the licensor. The range of their tasks varies greatly and includes at times very tedious work. Moreover, licensors always meet preset deadlines so as not to delay the manufacturing, shipping, and retail deadlines.
A must-have function in good brand licensing software is scheduling of automated deadline reminders and status update notifications. Due to the staged nature of the development process described just above, such notifications are essential in work with licensees and agents. This feature helps licensing teams to better comprehend the priority status and activities necessary for a faster completion of the approval cycles. Ultimately, licensing partners enjoy a decrease redundant routine processes, shorter licensing timeframes and faster delivery of licensing products to the retail shelves.
All in all...
The benefits and functions of brand licensing software solutions listed here are just the basics of what they actually can deliver to licensing partnerships. The biggest general advantage of having the software in use is the possibility to configure its functions to respond to the practical necessities of teams. The more flexible such system is, the greater will be the partner empowerment within the scopes of their licensing journey. That’s why it’s important for licensors to invest a certain amount of time for making the most rational software choice and introducing their internal and external users to it.