Launching a Brand at Licensing Expo
Of the brand licensing stories to tell, none embodies an undeniable success more than The Emoji Company does. Find out how launching the emoji brand at Licensing Expo turned into a network of international licensees in just one year.
In 2013, Marco Hüsges founded The Emoji Company through the trademark ownership of the term “emoji.” From there, he built the company and its 2,600 icons into a visual and product representation of the term, available for licensing in all categories.
How did you launch the licensing program for The Emoji Company?
Marco Hüsges: After a significant investment in brand development, content creation, trademark and copyright protection and defining an overall market entry strategy (a process that took us close to two years), we introduced the official emoji brand to the market in 2015 at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. While there, we met most of the international agencies who represent the official emoji brand today. Since our company does not produce its own products, the entire business is based on a licensing model, which has pushed us into the market very quickly.
Have you secured any deals since the show?
MH: We have signed multiple deals since Licensing Expo with partners around the globe. We also entered into new relationships with agency partners such as Asiana Licensing in South Korea. Licensing Expo is, for sure, the most important international venue to drive your global licensing business.
How has exhibiting at Licensing Expo helped you grow your brand?
MH: In combination with trade advertisement, Licensing Expo is one elemental pillar in our business to promote our brand and to meet our customers from all over the world.
To us, Licensing Expo is a melting pot of nations; clients from all over the world are joining the show and it is a perfect chance to meet with your licensing partners face-to-face, which is so important in business.
When and how did your company discover Licensing Expo?
MH: We introduced the official emoji brand to the world of licensing and merchandising for the first time in June 2015. We started off with a pretty small booth; however, this year we increased our booth space and have already confirmed the space for next year. Licensing Expo clearly is a must for every brand owner.
How many meetings did you hold onsite?
MH: We held meetings since the Saturday prior to the show and also used a couple of days after the show to meet up with individual international clients. We took a whole week to meet existing and new partners. However, I personally had more than 40 meetings, which were efficient and effective.
Besides the regular pre-arranged meetings, we probably had another two dozen requests from interested parties that simply walked by the booth. The show could easily last two days longer from that perspective. Licensing Expoin Las Vegas was awesome for us and we are looking forward to exhibit next year.
What does The Emoji Company’s lineup of licensed merchandise look like?
MH: Within just slightly more than one year The Emoji Company has secured more than 150 international partnerships. From apparel to personal care to food and beverages, from stationery to home décor and from toys to promotions: the official emoji brand has experienced a strong acceptance in the market and enjoys a great popularity and recognition. We are very thankful for the strong support we received from our partners and we are excited about the various programs on multiple product categories that already have been executed and that will be launched in the future.