It’s an icon that transcends the globe and is present on a wide range of day-to-day products - Smiley, and it also symbolises ‘happiness’ and ‘good news’. This icon was introduced by Franklin Loufrani in 1971, as a tool to highlight “positive” news across Europe, and a generation later, Nicholas, his son, introduced the first graphic ‘emoticons’, and the rest is history.
The Smiley Company’s two brands - Smiley and Smiley World: target young adults and fashion-savvy teenagers, and toddlers to teenagers, respectively. And, earlier this year, this UK-based company introduced a new ‘twist’ to its brand offerings - Smiley London that focuses on its core musical heritage, especially East London. Globally, merchandise from the Smiley Company includes apparel, footwear, accessories, stationery, baby products and toys, amongst others. In India, The Landmark Group has tied up with this icon, while Archies offers a range of gifts, accessories and stationery, related to the Smiley World Express Yourself brand. “India is a key growth market”, says Daniel Jay, Brand and Commercial Director, Smiley Company The property - Smiley World is widely popular, and can also be licensed on an array of products, with ease. Daniel Jay, Brand and Commercial Director, Smiley Company shared their growth strategy for the Indian market.
Kindly highlight your licensing activities in India?
Globally, we have two brands, Smiley (the original and iconic smiling face) and Smiley World, and they have recognition and appeal across a wide range of products. In India, we have a licensing agreement with the Landmark Group and it has ensured the availability of Smiley World Fashion apparel across their 41 stores in the country.
What are the key trends in the broader licensing market here?
The rapid growth in the organised retail market has resulted in several well established western brands setting up flagship stores here. Apart from that, consumers are also getting more brand conscious, and India is a key growth market for us in the long-term. We also offer a number of online mobile games around the Smiley World, in a bid to capitalise on the rapidly growing opportunities in this segment.
Which product categories are you attempting to develop further, globally?
I believe one of the key areas of focus for us is the home decor segment and it would help us to become a truly lifestyle-based brand. And, as part of this strategy, we offer a wide range of home products including bedding, flower pots, ornaments, ceramics, kitchenware and textiles.
How do you select licensees?
We are keen to partner with companies that have worked with key brands, as well as enjoy ‘credibility’. In addition, we are keen to ensure that are trademarks are protected, as well as local partners have built a strong distribution network.
How do you deal with counterfeits?
We have a legal team at our UK headquarters, as well as independent lawyers around the world to deal with this problem. In addition, we are also supported in this effort by Custom Offices globally.