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Jeff Lotman
Founder and CEO
Global Icons
Los Angeles

More than a decade ago Jeff Lotman launched Global Icons, a licensing agency specializing in developing and extending corporate brands and trademarks. Its mission: To increase brand awareness and create new revenue streams for clients by establishing new products and distribution channels.

Lotman previously spent 15 years in top management at Keystone Foods, a major supplier to McDonald’s restaurants. He’s been a featured speaker at leading industry events including the Entertainment Marketing Conference, Young Presidents’ Organization, the Licensing Show and the LA Roadshow. Lotman is a member of the Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association and the Licensing Executives Society.

What’s the idea behind Global Icons licensed product strategies?
Licensed products can effectively enhance retailers’ revenue streams when those products are designed exclusively for certain retailers that share the demographic or appeal of the original brand. For example, the two big home improvement centers each have a completely different customer base: Lowe’s targets women who like to garden and decorate their homes, while Home Depot targets men in construction trades.

Home Depot would be an ideal environment to introduce branded goods from Ford with products [that embody a] tough, masculine image with a reputation for durability. Ford-branded products like power tools and hardware would reinforce Home Depot’s value proposition and allow them to charge premium prices for these exclusive products. For Lowe’s, we would want to nuance the Ford brand in a different way.

We recently arranged a licensing deal between BMW, known for the intensity of the driving experience, and Swiss watchmaker Ball Watch — the first official watch of the early railroad companies to help keep trains running on time. A co-branded BMW/Ball watch is a very appropriate fit for both brands, which will be sold through a network of select retailers.

Why, and how, does brand licensing instill customer loyalty more than other forms of promotion?
Other forms of promotion merely deliver impressions. Branded products are used and engaged [with] on an ongoing basis. This process delivers an entirely different level of awareness and brand loyalty; a much deeper connection occurs when you’re using a branded product compared with, say, the brief exposure from a TV commercial.

We came up with a distinct form of measurement that is simple and irrefutable ... HUBs [Households Using Brand] and PUBs [People Using Brand]. If 400,000 units of a branded product are sold, that equals 400,000 HUBs. ... there are, on average, three people per U.S. household, so 400,000 HUBs equals 1.2 million PUBs. These metrics tend to make brand owners think of licensing in a whole new way.

How can licensed products help brands gain traction in emerging markets?
Branded-merchandise deals, such as the Ford-branded power tools that we are introducing in Brazil this summer, enable companies to expose their brands in emerging markets incrementally through related but less-expensive product areas.

Other advice?
Brands shouldn’t stray too far from their core offering. For example, a Ferrari razor blade would make no sense at all and it would be a mistake [to take it] in such an obtuse direction. Successful branded products must be congruent with the essence of the original brand.