Licensing and Brand extension are the key to growth

In conversation with Mr Bhupendra Nagpal, CEO Carlton London talks about why Carlton London enjoys so much popularity in India and its future plans with licensing.
Image of Carlton London Store

The first Carlton London store was launched in India in 2002 with the aim of having a global appeal to the audience. What has led to its immense popularity is the way the brand has been portrayed and perceived as a London high street fashion brand with its belief in top quality products.

Below we discuss how the brand has expanded in recent years and their future plans.

  1. What have been the developments in the brand in recent years?

BN: Carlton London has developed like a true British lifestyle brand and has added to it various categories such as handbags, wallets, belts, luggage, watches, and jewellery. The brand has worked on its logo which is used on its handbags and shoes. This has led to an increase in the brand popularity. The button logo works exceptionally well for the handbags and accessories. One of the successful examples of our licensing deals is for belts and wallets. Bradford has a big role to play in this successful partnership.

Post a lot of research and attention to detail, a licensee was identified for Jewellery as well which has led to a positive response from our clients. It becomes very important for a brand to look for brand extension opportunities if they truly want to expand their brand.

Carlton London has been mentioned as CL, using this abbreviation Carlton London has created 2 brands- Miss CL and Mr CL. Carlton Flex is another one of our Brand extension projects which introduces flexibility to the footwear and provides for a relaxed product for its client. Carlton Kids, as the name suggests is a new line for children.

  1. Do you plan on any more licensing partnerships?

BN: Fragrances and cosmetics is a big category for us and we are looking for partners to help us with brand expansion of the same. The current packaging of our fragrances has received a very positive response. But we are certain we would be licensing this category with some experts in the field.

 We are also on the look out to partner with a licensee on our menswear category which is our top priority. Also with the Carlton London kids brand extension we feel there will be extraordinary potential to identify and specialise in kids category in terms of licensing deals. Since the brand has a good presence in the market we are open to explore licensing with a Salon.

Apart from India we are also selling in UK, Dubai, China, Mexico, Brazil, Russia and Philippines. In the time to come, either through licensing or direct presence of the brand, we plan on expanding our footprint in the rest of the world.

  1. What are a few benchmarks for you when you look at a potential licensee?

BN: Licensing is like a marriage. It is not easy to identify or find a partner to tie the knot. At the same time if it goes wrong, it is difficult to salvage and rebuild. So the entire homework has to be done before finding the right licensing partner. The most important attribute or quality of a licensee is complete alignment with the brand.

The licensee should have knowledge about how to deal with brands internationally. They need to know how to listen to the brand and also share information with the licensor, train people around the brand. In today’s world post covid, we have realised a licensee must have an online infrastructure of his own.

  1. Your last words on the Licensing potential in India.

BN: Licensing and brand extension are the path to growth, at the same time one has to be very careful at the time of brand extension and business expansion with a third party where the alignment has to be compatible and a long term plan. If one deal doesn’t bear fruits, there is no point looking for another partner. Licensing takes time and one must be able to think of at least 20-25 years program. All agreements must be water tight to ensure the brands remain focused.

The milestones and targets have to be very well defined. Now with the experience of such a pandemic, we realise that both parties need to be sensitive and need to adjust as per the market requirement and not push your licensee against the wall. We look at this as a commercial marriage where we need to push each other to achieve results but at the same time remain aligned hand in hand for a successful path.

 

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