Mastering the market: The power of character Licensing in India

Insights from a leading expert

BrandTrends Group, shared vital insights into the unique characteristics and emerging opportunities within the Inidian licensing market for children’s entertainment brands. Amidst increasing market fragmentation and the rise of digital media platforms, BrandTrends Group offers a roadmap for businesses looking to navigate this dynamic environment successfully.

India, renowned for its colorful festivals and deep-rooted storytelling traditions, presents a fertile ground for the children’s entertainment and licensing market. It’s a place where ancient epics meet contemporary narratives, creating a fertile ground for characters and tales that capture the imagination of millions. This rich cultural backdrop not only celebrates ancient epics and contemporary narratives but also shapes a diverse and dynamic arena for entertainment brands to capture the imaginations of tens of millions.

A deep dive into the Licensing market

Recent data from October 2023 reveals that individual aged 0-14 in India recognize approximately 190 different brands, demonstrating their growing familiarity with not only local but also international entertainment brands, which are expanding rapidly in the country. This broad recognition, marking a slight increase from previous years, is a testament to the strong interest in entertainment among Indian consumers and opens substantial opportunities for licensing these brands.

With adults recognizing only 112 brands, this focused brand awareness indicates a highly competitive market where strong character stories and identities hold significant sway, emphasizing the importance of distinct and appealing brand narratives in capturing consumer interest.

Key trends emerge when analyzing popular brands by gender and age. For instance, while Tom & Jerry retains universal appeal, brands such as Spider-Man and Barbie exhibit distinct gender preferences, with Spider-Man favored by boys and Barbie by girls. Interestingly, the preferences shift with age; younger children gravitate towards characters like Cocomelon, while older kids prefer action-oriented superheroes from Marvel.

In addition, international brands are rapidly gaining traction among individuals up to 14 years old in India. While there remains a robust interest in national brands like Chhota Bheem, the appeal of international franchises continues to expand significantly among the Indian audience. This growing popularity does not diminish the strong connection that local brands have established but rather highlights the diverse preferences of the Indian market.

Character-based entertainment dominates, with iconic figures from cartoons and superhero genres leading the pack. Platforms like YouTube play a pivotal role, serving as the primary medium for video content consumption, highlighting the importance of digital engagement in this sector.

Strategic recommendations for market players

Navigating India’s licensing market demands nuanced strategies that effectively cater to both local and international audiences, with a strong focus on character recognition and loyalty.

For local brands such as Chhota Bheem, it is crucial to emphasize culturally resonant stories, themes, and characters that reflect both traditional and contemporary Indian life. These brands should also utilize regional media channels, festivals, and community events to maintain high visibility and remain top-of-mind among consumers.

Collaborating with local celebrities or influencers to voice characters or serve as brand ambassadors can enhance consumer connection, making the brands more relatable and appealing. Additionally, developing merchandise that aligns with local tastes, incorporating traditional designs and local storytelling elements, can significantly boost consumer interest and loyalty.

For international brands like Marvel and Cocomelon, adapting content and products to include Indian languages (and believe me, there are several hundreds of them!) and culturally relevant themes is essential. These adaptations help bridge cultural gaps and make international brands more accessible to the Indian audience.

Marketing campaigns should be specifically crafted for the Indian market, using local languages and aligning with Indian cultural events to enhance relevance and engagement. Moreover, leveraging digital platforms extensively to deliver content in dubbed or subtitled versions can expand reach and engagement. Forming partnerships with Indian companies for co-producing content or merchandise can also boost local acceptance and deepen market penetration.

General strategies applicable to all brands in this diverse market include designing products and content that cater to gender-specific preferences and age-specific demographics. Products designed specifically for boys or girls, such as action figures for boys and role-play sets for girls, tend to perform better now. Brands should also focus on tailoring content and products to different age groups, from educational themes for younger children to more complex, adventure-oriented themes for older children.

Establishing a robust online presence on platforms like YouTube for content delivery and interactive engagement is crucial.

The Indian licensing market for children’s entertainment is not just surviving; it’s flourishing. By gaining a deep understanding of character loyalty, gender-specific needs, age-related interests, and the significant role of digital platforms, companies can craft targeted strategies that resonate with their audiences.

In the world of licensing, knowing your audience and continuously innovating are crucial to staying competitive and achieving long-term success. India offers a vast landscape of opportunities for those ready to embrace its cultural richness and navigate its complex market dynamics. With the right approach, brands can harness the full potential of this dynamic and growing market, creating lasting engagements and building memorable experiences for young consumers across the nation; consumers who will evolve, that is sure, towards a formidable purchasing power.

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