Licensing Management International, a specialist in the heritage brands sector, has posted a more than 20 per cent growth over the last 12 months.
A quick look at the firm’s portfolio and you could easily conclude that LMI’s business strategy for expansion lies in its penchant for eclecticism. Here, for example, UK brewer Hobgoblin sits alongside HBO’s Game of Thrones, which in turn sits next British Motor Heritage, which sits alongside Zorro.
Together, they all sit next to the International Space Archives. If you’re looking for a single narrative that draws them all together, you could be doing so for some time.
On the other hand, it could be quite simple. Each, after all, offers a rich history of cultural heritage for audiences across the globe. And if LMI’s recent profit growth were to reflect anything of this audience, it’s that its demand for heritage brands is on the rise.
“We find that the Heritage licensing programmes, whether for classic British cars, motorcycles or heritage brands such as Zorro – celebrating its 100 anniversary in 2019 – are thriving,” Andrew Maconie, CEO of Licensing Management International tells Licensing.biz.
“LMI has enjoyed over 20 per cent growth over the last 12 months with considerable interest in the International Space Archives programme which will celebrate the 50 anniversary of the moon landing of Apollo 11 in 2019.
“Meanwhile, the video games category is an expanding one for British Motor Heritage with companies such as Microsoft, Codemasters and Hutch Games expanding their Heritage licensing programmes.”
In fact, LMI is seeing continued development in the digital arena having recently overseen the launch of a Zorro online gambling site from PlayTech and even taking the British Motor Heritage into a partnership with the lottery in the US, UK and Ireland.
And all this is just to whet the appetite. Licensing.biz talks to LMI CEO Andrew Maconie to find uncover the richness of the heritage sector and his company’s plans to continue to break boundaries within it
How has business been for Licensing Management International over the last year? What have been some of the biggest signings for you?
Licensing Management International has enjoyed over 20 per cent growth over the last 12 months, with considerable interest in the International Space Archives programme which will celebrate the 50 anniversary of the moon landing of Apollo 11 in 2019.
Recent signings include an international deal with leading headwear company New Era Cap Co, Hall & Associates for personal care and Westminster Collection for collector medals celebrating the entire Apollo Space Programme.
New property signings include the spectacularly unique children’s show Odd Squad, which has been airing for three years now on CBBC in the UK, as well as PBS in the USA and most international markets, Ring Warriors and PGA of America.
LMI’s affiliate company, Bradford License Europe has seen a considerable increase in licensee and retail interest in HBO’s award-winning series Game of Thrones.
With the programmes around BSA and British Motor Heritage going international, what growth are you seeing for this year and beyond?
The computer games category is an expanding one for British Motor Heritage with companies such as Micriosoft, Codemasters and Hutch Games expanding their heritage licensing programmes.
Apparel remains an important category with Sicem, a division of Li and Fung, renewing their licenses for both BMH and BSA apparel.
With the launch of a range of BSA Superbikes on the horizon there is growing interest in the BSA heritage brand with a hundred years of motorcycling to call on. Recent apparel deals include Vision 11 in the US and Canada, BioWorld in Canada, GTO in Japan and Mitch Dowd in Australia.
A further means of enhancing the heritage artwork available for BSA and British Motor Heritage marques (Austin, Morris, Wolseley, Rover, MG and Austin-Healey) is an association with Haynes Publishing, which can grant licensees access to the extensive Haynes Workshop Manuals for these classic British cars.
For anyone who may not know, can you give us a brief history of the BSA brand?
BSA has a long history dating back to 1692 when King William III’s Board of Ordinance drew up a new contract with a guild of five Birmingham gunsmiths to supply guns. This continued for 150 years until just after the Crimean War when, in 1861, the guild was formed into the Birmingham Small Arms company.
20 years later, BSA, celebrated for its ability to diversify at the right time, produced its first bicycle and in 1903 the first 233cc motorbike was built.
It’s gone on to become one of the most iconic motorbike brands since that moment.
So how about the re-launch of the international licensing programme for BSA, what markets are you focusing on? What are your key categories?
With BSA, the impending launch of a range of superbikes by Mahindra has increased interest in the classic heritage brand with expanding sales of apparel from key UK licensee Poetic Brands.
The new range of BSA licensed apparel also includes the feature of technical artwork developed by Haynes for motorcycle maintenance. This has given an additional angle in presenting the heritage brand.
The BSA brand is attracting licensees for memorabilia items including metal signs, lunchboxes and gift items including ceramics and our key target audience categories include apparel, travel goods and backpacks, leather goods and wallets and giftware.
We are also targeting key BSA markets to include United States, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, plus the brand has a strong following in France.
What is the message of the BSA brand and how is that reflected in the licensing programme?
BSA is a classic British brand which stands for quality and was once the biggest selling motorcycle in the world. The British heritage is built on by British designs for a new range of BSA bikes to be launched at a future date with investment and technology from Mahindra Technologies in India who has now acquired the brand.
And what further plans have you got for the British Motor Heritage brand? Why is now the right time to expand its licensing programme?
British Motor Heritage celebrates some landmark anniversaries over the next two years for some of its classic car models with 2018 marking the 70th anniversary of the Morris Minor, the 60 anniversary of the Austin-Healey ‘Frog Eye’ Sprite and Austin A40 Farina, while 2019 sees the Austin-Healey 30000 and the Austin Cambridge celebrates 60 years also.
Sales of British Motor Heritage merchandise remain popular with a new range of fabrics with Michael Miller Inc in North America and there has been continuous growth in Japan with apparel companies getting on board with the Rover marque.
Video game licensees continue to feature strongly for BMH bringing this heritage brand into the digital age.