How Utpatang is aiming for 'right opportunities' through licensing

Be so good that they can't ignore you - the proverb stands true for Utpatang, a business born out of creativity and sheer passion, that has not only carved a niche for itself, but also gone ahead ...
How Utpatang is aiming for ‘right opportunities’ through licensing

Be so good that they can’t ignore you – the proverb stands true for Utpatang, a business born out of creativity and sheer passion, that has not only carved a niche for itself, but also gone ahead to become one of the few licensees for Bolywood movie ‘A Flying Jatt’ from the portfolio of Balaji Motion Pictures. Starting of as a brand communication agency and later transiting into a brand known for its out-of-the-box gifting options, Anamika Joshi - the young and dynamic co-founder of utpatang.com surely has mastered the art of converting options into opportunities. In a candid conversation with Gargi Bhardwaj from License India, Joshi not only spoke about brand licensing as an effective retail strategy, but also shared about brand’s expansion plans that ‘primarily’ include the plans to roll out licensed merchandise of NH7 weekender. What’s behind the name ‘Utpatang’? There is no particular idea behind name. We were just looking for a name and we have been appreciated for our brand communication strategies. We wanted the name of this venture as good as the previous works done by us and my team was working hard on this as they also had to design a logo to start with. One branding that we gave to a fitness agency was fit-fatang. And someone commented on our social media page that you are too Utpatang for such a branding. That was the bingo moment and in next 15 minutes I was registering the brand name. Talk to us about the recently launched A Flying Jatt merchandise. Balaji Motions gave us the key charater designs and the brand guidelines, but adaptation regarding the colour or changes with the content part was open for us in partnership with them. Balaji came as an offer to us because we had understanding of licensing market. The license is for coasters, magnets, T-shirts, power banks, key-chains, pen-drive, coffee mugs and mobile covers. How was the transition from an Ad PR student to being a co-founder of Utpatang.com? We have recently entered into Bollywood licensing. Earlier we were into corporate gifting and B2B stuff. We are still into it but now we are adding licensing aspect to it. We have received good response and are now getting offers for other licensing pacts. The transition has been gradual and rooted. We started in 2009 as an advt agency and commination firm. We initially started with three co-founders, but one of us left within 15 days. So, two of us were copywriters who were clueless about running a brand communication firm without design person to execute the client work. Then we approached several mid-level agencies as copy team. Thus for one year we worked as an agency operating through a bigger agency. Then we started getting design works, which was when we hired a designer and took off as a brand communication firm. During past five years of operation, we used to send gifts to our clients which were all conceptualized by us. The feedback was amazing and the clients actually wanted to buy more of those gifts. This was when we thought of coming up with some good gift-ideas for those looking for some off-beat gift options. We decided to stick to our brand sensibilities which were brand driven, thought process driven and we would club it with the generic market thus churning out some focused gifting options. What were the challenges that you faced while launching Utpatang.com? We took good six months to understand the process of working with vendors, the printing technique etc. One fine day we decided to go for a pre-launch rather than waiting for the official launch. That time we didn’t even have the products handy. We though to announce launch and after that we came up with the orders. Brand licensing came up recently. We took time because we didn’t want to get diluted just because we have become a licensee. There is a guideline from third party and you have to make products adhering to that style guide. And we were not open to that idea, but wanted to stick to our creativities while designing merchandise. How do you differentiate yourself from other players in the market? When we were getting into licensing, we went through all the firms doing a similar thing and many of them are doing pretty goods. But there was very limited and blunt outreach to the content and design when it came to merchandise. People put all their creativity when they design their own content, but at times it becomes a mere painting of the content on product in case of licensed merchandise. Some time it works, other times it doesn’t. A coaster as a product has a look and feel different from that of a mobile cover, so the designs can’t be same just because it is convenient. So when we got brand guidelines, we put too much thought into sorting out designs as per the products. What are the average ticket size and price points? Our average ticket size has been Rs 450 to 500. The price range goes from Rs 199 to Rs 1,199. What is your take on the mobile cover market in India which is quite fragmanted? It is not about the product sometimes but the brand that is going in the market. It’s about buying a phone cover from Utpatang rather than just buying any phone cover. There is a lot of competition out there in the market but ultimately it is how you portray yourself as a brand to the consumers. If I have good designs and am trustworthy brand, customers will definitely buy my products, rather than buying from Palika or Janpath where they sell shutter stock look alike designs. What are your scale-up plans? We have already procured license for NH7 weekender and Nuclea. With NH 7 we have forged a 3 year deal. Are you planning for a physical store anytime soon? At present, we sell on Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm etc. along with our portal. The physical store is definitely on our mind, but not as of now. We are getting into too many things. We are already a part of Comic Con and have seen the humongous response offline. So next year we are looking to come up with small stores at a few high density areas. Why according to you is Brand Licensing an effective retail strategy? We are into content and design and are too much about creativity, but there is already a lot of content that people connect with in terms of grandness, grandeur, texture etc. for instance properties like Chacha Chaudhary, Shambhu Shukari, Simpson etc. If I come up with some merchandise around them, the gap between product and potential consumer reduces to a great extent thus cutting on the trial or testing period, thus forging a longer relationship with consumers.    

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