FEATURE INTERVIEW We Speak to Marco Hüsges CEO & Founder, the emoji company
Marco, thank you for speaking to The Bugg Report. As you travel all around the world, what markets do you see as emerging in terms of brand licensing? Traditionally the top markets for licensing are the U.S., Europe and Japan. For us, we see the biggest growth in Asia and particularly in China. Latin America also has incredible potential with markets such as Brazil and Mexico, which have a vast population and love to consume - however the pricing is generally lower than what can be achieved in China. Finally, the Middle East is an important territory to be in. There seems to be a mood in our industry toward corporate, lifestyle and art licensing brands. How do you see this trend? I think we are not talking about a trend any more. A great licensing program can help any strong brand to reach out into new categories, explore new options and even reach out into new territories. Today, markets are changing fast, trends come and go very quickly, and the consumer is overloaded with information on mobile devices. In today’s environment, licensing and brand partnerships have become an essential part of the marketing mix, increasing awareness and building connections with the customer in fresh new ways. Of course, it is critical to choose the right licensing partners, keep a close eye on the development and on the quality of the licensed products in order not to damage or to dilute the brand value and its long-standing reputation. Any licensing program needs to match the brands DNA and has to make perfect sense so as not to compromise core product sales. The beauty of corporate and lifestyle brands in comparison to entertainment brands is that they do not rely on the success of an entertainment format they do not need a movie or a TV series to sustain them. Those brands are mostly part of us, integrated into our lifestyle so they deliver greater longevity, which is attractive for licensees and retailers.
Brand Licensing Europe - Edition 28
Where do you see “bricks & mortar” retail heading in the next 12 months given all the recent talk about online? Well let me start by saying that even though the whole world is going digital, we still live in a physical place. Consumers love to go shopping. It is a universally popular leisure activity. People like to shop with friends, interact with sales staff, touch and feel the products - we also like the instant gratification of taking products home right away instead of waiting for a delivery. Certain categories are obviously better suited to bricks and mortar sales - such as beauty products or toys - which benefit from physical interaction and testing. Children love to try the products and talk their parents into buying them - so shopping also has a deep social component. Many people are predicting that bricks and mortar stores are dying but I do not see this so drastically. When you visit a popular shopping mall or precinct anywhere in the world, you can feel the buzz and excitement that you can only get from a real-world shopping experience. I see bricks and mortar stores surviving the age of online shopping, but they have to re-invent themselves, deliver a great shopping experience and offer added value to the consumer.