Founded in 2002, Performance Brands was developed to fill a gap in the market for a licensing company focussing on sports and fashion.
Joint MD David Ball explains: “These areas had not been exploited before as it takes a long time to build up an active portfolio and it took us three or four years to become properly established.”
Prior to setting up the company, Ball was working as new ventures director for Unilever and business partner David Barrington was running British American Racing’s licence division.
After looking at the way different business models worked, they decided to start Performance Brands as a means of combining their different experience in a common cause.
The first notable brand signed by the company was Reebok in its first year of business. Since then, many renowned properties have passed through its doors including Gola, Patrick Cox and Lamborghini.
To date, the firm has created many successful campaigns. Ball explains the standout campaigns so far:
“Three spring to mind – Tonino Lamborghini, Nintendo and PunkyFish, which are all ongoing. “All these brands have strong brand recognition and owners that want to licence. We have the talent and experience to exploit those factors and drive the brands forward into new markets and categories.”
These are a number of the factors that the firm believes makes for a successful licensed properties. Ball says: “Brands have to have longevity coupled with a clearly defined target market and some sort of unique characteristic.
“These qualities enable a brand to move into other categories. However, the brand has to remain linked to its core ethos, you can’t just move it anywhere.”
Now that the fashion and sports categories are well established, the firm is looking to move into three new areas – luxury lifestyle brands, food brands and kids’ properties and as such is hoping to expand for the third time by increasing its 16-strong workforce and its office space.
Ball believes the licensing industry is well equipped to overcome the recession. He explains: “Our business model is one that works very well during a recession because the economic downturn has caused brand owners to diversify and look for alternative sources of income. New licensees are entering the market for the same reason. It is perhaps just established licensees that are not doing so well at present.”
As such the company is about to sign two or three new clients to be announced soon and is hoping to further expand throughout Europe, possibly forming some new legal partnerships outside Europe.