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Building a winning Licensing Strategy in a fragmented Italian market

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Exploring the Success of LEGO and Mickey Mouse to Drive Growth and Relevance
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Exploring the Success of LEGO and Mickey Mouse to Drive Growth and Relevance

BrandTrends has released its first quarterly report for 2023, which reveals the most popular and preferred brands among children. This information is valuable in developing effective strategies for succeeding in the Italian market.

The Italian licensing market for children aged 3 to 9 years old is highly fragmented, which can make it difficult for any promotional action to have a significant impact. However, by understanding which brands are resonating with kids and why, companies can develop targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to be successful.

Deep diving into the structure of the Top 30 Favorite brands ranking allows to identify 3 key reasons to define the Italian market as fragmented:

· The top Favorite brands are highly spread across age and gender, illustrating the difficulty for brands to generate interest among multiple targets and reducing their potential of sales

· While 4 brands among the Top 30 reach high level of spontaneous mentions as favorite, other players meet definitely lower preference, which limits the opportunity for new comers to go through the clutter

· There is a dichotomy between preference and appeal. Super-heroes, TV shows and Video Games trust the preference, while appeal is mostly driven by TV shows and movies: loving a brand is not the only reason why purchasing and multiple factors impact the buying intent

Source: Top 30 Favorite Brands (spontaneous mentions) – 3 to 9 years old – Italy – January’23. Bubble size represents the number of mentions

Deep diving into the BrandTrends brand matrix allows to have a clear view on brand’s performance and define relevant and efficient priorities.

The Brand Popularity Index (BPI) is a unique and exclusive composite index developed by BrandTrends that serves as a predictor of purchase intent. As shown in the brand matrix presented below, there is a strong correlation between the BPI and consumers’ intentions to purchase a licensed product in the near future.

However, it’s worth noting that some brands may have higher popularity ratings than purchase intent scores. In such cases, it’s important for these brands to actively communicate new and relevant information to consumers in order to maintain their brand presence and appeal. This is particularly relevant for a brand like Harry Potter.

On the other hand, brands that have higher popularity ratings than purchase intent scores may benefit from expanding their product offerings in order to better connect with consumers and strengthen their brand positioning. This is the case for Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Another way to look at results is by focusing on brand appeal for a specific category. By looking at publishing, it is clear that TV shows and super-heroes confirm their relevance among 3 to 9 years old.

The top 10 ranking includes 3 TV shows (Adventure Time – #1, Mickey Mouse and We Bare Bears) and 5 super-heroes (Teen Titans Go, Spider-Man, Power Rangers, The Flash and Avengers), movies (Frozen and Harry Potter) complete the list.

‘This highlights the importance to properly identify the most powerful license among the full list for reaching the brand’s objectives and maximize growth.’ comments Philippe Guinaudeau, CEO at BrandTrends Group. ‘Probably Adventure Time wouldn’t have been the preferred choice of marketers. But looking at smaller brands may have a bigger impact, reduce the costs and drive differentiation for building a stronger brand’ continues Guinaudeau.

Of course, there is still some exception and LEGO is that one among this market.

LEGO brand meets a great success among 3 to 9 years old in Italy. It reaches the highest levels of both popularity and purchase intent and also ranks #2 as favorite brand. This success is driven by a well-balanced profile on age. On top, if LEGO is slightly preferred among boys vs girls, the building blocks are strong across genders.

Multiply the licensing opportunities, by offering editions on both its own range but also by developing partnerships on apparels or other categories support the presence and the relevance of LEGO. It makes the brand hot despite it is 74 years old!

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