Top brand trends world over and in India saw a few patterns that will continue to be at play in 2018 as well. A quick note on a few key trends as we see it emerge and take center stage from the lens of licensing:
The growing influence of social media marketing allowing brands to connect directly and meaningfully with consumers and a trend within the ambit of social media marketing was the was of the rising importance of content – it wasn’t about pushing advertising, but creating content which was helpful to the audience. We are seeing massive numbers from India of fans engaging with brands in India, across age groups be it games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, but also for entertainment brands. Candy Crush has seen 1.94 billion downloads for its games since its launch to December 2016 alone. Take Oggy and the Cockroaches for example, another brand has 3.14 million Facebook fans of which around 1 million fans are from India.
Celebrities became a more influential force in 2017 not just in delivering brand messages, but also in launching their own brands. Celebrity licensing and merchandising is a multi billion dollar industry in advanced markets, and we are seeing the emergence of the Indian celebrity, be it in Sports with Virat Kohli or with Bollywood with Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Jacqueline Fernandez, Tiger Shroff and others.
Licensing and Merchandising in India is also coming of age with the advent of Lifestyle, Sports, Fashion and Corporate brands. FIFA, Real Madrid, The Smiley Company, NBA are a few of the many international brands that have generated interest across the cross section of business, retail and consumers. The other trend in this space is the growth of the business coming from adult segments in apparel, apparel accessories, footwear.
Infact, Candy Crush saw a jewelry collaboration with top Jewellery designer, Mrinalini Chandra, launch out of India in November. It was the first of its kind collaboration for Candy Crush worldwide and a sign of a maturing market, which is now looking at new categories in lifestyle beyond just apparel.
Retail brands are also seeing a distinct shift and growing interest in their private brands and are exploring licensing tie-ups across entertainment, lifestyle and sports brands under their private labels. This is happening across both online and offline retail and is a business that will continue to grow.
The VOD space is another emerging market in India were brands are in the big race to establish themselves as Numero Uno. Hotstar, Jio TV, VOOT, Amazon Prime are some of the top players. Sports, News, GEC, Kids are the core content components. While international content is big, it’s the regional content that is a game changer, propelling players to focus on not just international titles and series, but also local available content and the commissioning of Indian IPs and rising India brands in the content space.
The writer is founder & CEO, Dream Theatre Private Limited