Sweta Pal : Kindly share your perspective on the broader brand licensing industry and the growth opportunities. Neeta Lulla : I would like to highlight that brand licensing industry here is still at a very nascent stage and not yet at par with global standards. Clearly, licensing helps brands to interact with their target audience across emerging media like the internet and social media, as well as facilitates entry into several other product categories. And, brand owners here are only slowly realising the growth opportunities from licensing, but we have seen increased activity in movie and celebrity merchandising, amongst other categories. However, a critical element related to the growth of the licensing industry, namely organised retailing, is still rather small and accounts for only about seven per cent of the broader sector’s revenues. I am optimistic that with the government wooing foreign retailers with easier FDI norms, it shall also help to expand the scope of the licensing industry in our country. Sweta Pal : How do you select your licensees? Neeta Lulla : There are several factors we consider while selecting a licensing partner and they include brand positioning, consumer or end-user, distribution network, and promotional strategy. We have worked only with key industry leaders in different categories, and also currently exploring opportunities in real estate, accessories and cosmetics, amongst others. Sweta Pal : Kindly highlight your licensing activities. Neeta Lulla : We have focused on brand licensing over the past decade across lifestyle categories including luggage, jewellery, education, home textiles and ‘mass’ retail. In the luggage segment, we created a bridal range with VIP and it was retailed via this well established brand’s pan India store network. In addition, for jewellery, we collaborated with Gitanjali and Kiah, and even had a licensing agreement with Forever Jewels for our Lakme Autumn / Winter ‘12 range. I have also been involved in education for over a decade, and it includes a licensing arrangement with Hamstech Institute in Hyderabad, while in the home textiles segment, I had recently initiated a licensing arrangement with Portico for a luxury upholstery range.
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