New IP – The stages to climb, conquer and celebrate
Making Things Studio’s Fi Murray takes us on a journey up the licensing mountain… But a word of warning for intrepid adventures – please read the small print!
BASE CAMP: THE PITCH!
Yeehaw! Weeks, months – and in some cases years – of work have gone into creating something that’s commercially pitch ready, so let’s all give each other a high five… Making it here’s an achievement in itself.
The small print: This is where our thermal thick skins need to start layering up… The rejections can come thick and fast at this stage. Pitching’s not a guaranteed ticket up the mountain. It comes down to showing the right product to the right company – at the right time. Timing, execution and the relationship is as critical as the likeability of the IP.
CAMP 1: LET’S REVIEW IT
The pitch was successful, the recipient loves it and wants to share it with their wider team. Being at this altitude is critical to a concept’s survival. Teams will join together to carry the concept upwards while getting wider stakeholder buy-in across the business.
The small print: Expect some turbulent weather! There’s a high chance we won’t be able to keep climbing! We might have to head back down if – after reviewing with the wider team and stakeholders – the recipient doesn’t want to move forward. There can be a million different reasons for this: strategy shift, commerciality, another preferred concept, the brand team working on something similar… Or maybe the concept just didn’t take hold of people as hoped.
CAMP 2: CONTRACT SIGNED
A pivotal moment in our journey: the recipient wants to move forward under contract. The IP gripped everyone’s commercial hearts. It’s time to lock in the deal terms and get the lawyers engaged. This is worthy of a whole hip flask to celebrate!
The small print: We could be stuck at this camp for a while depending on how many points of negotiation there are. Have no fear, though: both parties want to move as swiftly and smoothly as possible – speed to market is critical!
CAMP 3: SUCCESSFUL PREVIEWS
After months of development, it’s time for the IP to be shown in all its completed glory to further internal stakeholders at line reviews and external stakeholders at previews and trade shows. Okay, phew! Previews went great – global mass distribution here we come!
The small print: Retailers are like the Sherpas here. They know their land better than anyone and you’re not getting up successfully without them. So we need to be open and flexible to their feedback. Additionally, a competitor could be previewing something similar that a key retailer’s already decided to list. This can put a halt to the expedition.
CAMP 4: LAUNCH
We can’t stay here for long, we’re running out of oxygen and we need to make it to the peak before the competition starts clogging up the path. There’ll be an optimum window we have to calculate to make the climb.
The small print: A launch may be delayed, put on hold or in some rare cases not happen at all. This can be for strategic reasons within a business, a shift in market climate and also for reasons outside of either party’s control.
Phew, we made it! This is when we officially celebrate and enjoy the moment with our team. The IP resonates with consumers, and is growing in popularity through product sales, impressions online, word of mouth and marketing engagement – all while getting five-star reviews!
If sales exceed forecasts, we’ll get to hang out on the peak for a long time, absorbing that epic view while discussing what’s next for this IP. What other peaks are in the distance to take on? How can we climb higher?!
The small print: We’ve made it all the way up here, but heavy cloud cover may mean we can’t see anything! Maybe the new IP hasn’t resonated to the level required. If it can’t be saved, we might find ourselves heading down the mountain by sliding on our butts!
There’s a wonderful thing with all these stages – whether it’s a studio’s invention or a toy company’s portfolio… Having a constant flow of new IP and concepts means there can be multiple attempts at the peak, with opportunities at every stage.
To stay in the loop with the latest news, interviews and features from the world of toy and game design, sign up to our weekly newsletter here