Perhaps one of its strongest points is that the team behind the licensing programme look beyond the obvious, keeping the offering interesting and fresh. Iain Wakefield of Haynes Publishing expands on the approach:
“Haynes is a strong and trusted brand, but I like to think we have also adopted a creative approach to our range, helping to tailor product and design keeping the range fresh and different.
“Our licensees have also been great, we receive feedback very regularly and because we manage our own brand licensing at Haynes, we can react very quickly.”
Even the consumer is thought about carefully and while the obvious target may be male adults, but Haynes has encompassed a far wider audience with its products. Wakefield says: “We are certainly not purely male, we have already had successful products targeted at women. Cars, motorbikes and motorsport are not a male preserve, we have many female customers.”
John Haynes OBE wrote and published his first book, on building an Austin 7 Special, whilst he was still at school in 1956. The first 'proper' Haynes Owners Workshop Manual, for the Austin Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite, was published in 1965.
Based on a complete strip-down and rebuild of a car, with extensive use of step-by-step photographs, a process that has not changed to this day, this manual set the standard for many generations of manuals to follow.
Since this first manual, the evergreen brand has become a household name and a trusted source of information for car owners.
The brand is so well known that the firm now includes two publishing divisions, the original Owners Workshop Manuals and a General Publishing Division. This success so far of the General Publishing division demonstrates how the brand has established itself as a trusted source of information, not just for cars.
Wakefield comments: “The General Publishing division has enjoyed success with the likes of the Spitfire Manual, The Rugby Manual, The Formula 1 Season Review, MotoGp Season Review – to name but a few.”
The Licensing Division of Haynes was founded in 2005 and has responsibility for both licensing in and licensing out. Haynes comments: “The division has enjoyed strong growth in four years through both disciplines.”
The first licensee for the firm was Half Moon Bay, which has since become a close partner of Haynes, working across numerous projects including gifts, apparel and accessories, stationery, car accessories and homewares.
Since then, a range of strong partnerships have been formed for the brand. Wakefield says: “To be honest we have adopted a very deliberate licensing strategy, working closely with select partners and products.
"We have enjoyed long term success with Next, Trends UK, our toy licensee, and of course HMB, but we are fortunate to have a very strong list of committed licensees.”
The range of licensees shows how a strong, well-known and established brand, regardless of its area of expertise, can transfer well into the licensing industry.
Further down the line, the brand has also been received well at retail. Wakefield explains: “Haynes is a strong brand, and there has been a long history of interest in the brand from both retail and potential licensees, so when we launched Haynes merchandising, we were fortunate to receive a very positive response. However, we have listened carefully to retail in order to grow the range.”
The past year has been successful for the company and a number of new key licensees have been added to the portfolio. In order to keep the licensing programme fresh and interesting, however, the next 12 months will see the brand moving into even more unusual territory.
Wakefield comments: “We have a number of very exciting co-brand merchandising projects planned. Watch out for Haynes/Star Wars, Haynes/Star Trek and October sees the publication of the Haynes Thomas the Tank Manual, supported by a range of merchandising.
“We have enjoyed linking our own book publishing with our licensing programme. It makes perfect sense, and all partners benefit.”
Also new will be a Haynes/Airfix range for autumn 2009 and the Haynes/Star Wars T-shirts are starting to hit shelves at Next outlets and are so far selling very well.
Each partnership benefits from the joint marketing expertise of both the licensee and Haynes as a manufacturer in its own right.
Wakefield comments: “Because Haynes has its own manufacturing business and distribution, I think we are well placed to work closely with licensees on both retail and consumer marketing initiatives. We sit down early to make sure we are making the most of all available resources.”
It seems there is no stopping the Haynes brand, with endless opportunities available.
Wakefield concludes: “We have many other discussions in the pipeline however our acquisition policy is relatively stringent and we pride ourselves on high quality publishing. Our Official Formula 1 Season Review and Official MotoGP Series are great examples of such high quality titles.”