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Licensing Another Brand's Name Could Help Your Company Grow Brand licensing benefits small to midsize companies looking for their customer.

By Pete Canalichio Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Gary John Norman | Getty Images

Have you ever felt as though you exhausted all possible ways to grow your business and have hit an impenetrable ceiling? If you answered, Yes, then you are not alone. Many small to midsize companies have no idea where to turn or what to do in order to bust through that ceiling. While the Internet and social media is where many turn, that can be both a blessing and a curse.

On one side, it is a great place to increase awareness that can drive potential growth; however, it also can become an obstacle to growth, as it is such a diluted arena. With so many using social media as a forum for recognition, the mindshare and attention of consumers can become occupied and saturated. This is where partnering with a recognizable brand can be hugely beneficial.

A name that's already out there.

Brand licensing is an option that many do not consider or have never considered because of a general lack of knowledge about it. Brand licensing takes a product or service that has growth dynamics and enables it to go to places where it is further welcomed.

Related: The 8 Laws of Branding

It does all of this without taking the power away from the owner. The technique simply allows the product to be sold under a well-known brand. Think of a strong brand as a powerful influencer that can take a less noticeable product to another level.

The fit is key.

When pursuing a brand licensor, it is important to make sure the product aligns well with the overall brand. Decide whether or not the product is the right fit and will be a good representation of the brand. Put yourself in the shoes of the brand owner and ask yourself, "Would an extension into this product category make sense for our brand and our company?"

The newly branded product has to add value to consumers and must trigger sharing in order to activate significant interest. It also has to be framed in a form that resembles the brand. It must be tangible enough to be recognized, and it must be engaging and alluring enough for people to desire more of it.

Related: Brands that Make Products Come Alive

One of my favorite examples of a successful brand licensing program for dozens of manufacturers is The Busted Knuckle Garage, a brand that appeals to guys that love cars, garages and grease. It is a relatively unknown brand outside of its core audience, but that is what makes its story so compelling.

A strong identity to bond with.

Warren G. Tracy, head wrench of the Busted Knuckle Garage, founded the company in the early 2000s. Tracy looks for companies to extend The Busted Knuckle Garage brand into everything from clothing to man-cave stuff like signs, clocks, and thermometers. The Busted Knuckle Garage brand licensing program started back in the day with lip balm and hand salve.

As the program grows Tracy plans to expand into services like car washes, restaurants, themed coffee shops and the like. Thirty-six independent garages carry Busted Knuckle products. The Busted Knuckle Garage products help garage owners connect with their customers in a unique and differentiated way.

"We partner with companies that can leverage all of what we do," says Tracy. "They can take my brand idea and make it a brand reality." By doing so, these companies, in turn, benefit from the strong appeal of the Busted Knuckle Garage brand.

The brand has your niche covered.

Over the past 16 years Tracy discovered that a lot of companies do not have time to create product lines or in-house brands. They work hard on developing new products, but don't know what to do with them or what to call them. Choosing to license The Busted Knuckle Garage brand turned out to be the solution.

Related: Brand Licensing Provides More Outlets for Profit and Exposure

This type of relationship is mutually beneficial as it allows the licensor, or brand, to extend its presence into another market while allowing the licensee to gain awareness of their product and grow their business. A well thought-out brand licensing partnership can be exactly what a company needs in order to bust (no pun intended) through the growth ceiling. Knowing the plan you will implement to achieve growth and scalability, as those licensees who chose to license The Busted Knuckle Garage did, could make all the difference.

Pete Canalichio

Managing Partner, BrandAlive

Pete Canalichio, the global authority on brand expansion, is on a mission to help brands become more alive in the hearts of those that experience them. He does that by helping them write a better story through compelling content, inspiring platform talks, in-depth consulting and workshops, and practical tools. Pete considers it a privilege to use his experience in global brand licensing and expansion at admired organizations such as Coca-Cola and Newell Rubbermaid to help his clients and their organizations reach their full potential.

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