Introducing The First System That Scores Your Brand’s Potential For Licensing
Having analyzed dozens of examples, we narrowed the critical elements of a successful brand empire building down to five key factors: the five first letters of which form the acronym LASSO. Lateral, Addictive, Storied, Scalable, and Own-able.
The LASSO model helps take what could be a very daunting task and makes it easy to do and even more importantly, easy to understand. Each element in the LASSO acronym is required in order to assess where your brand currently is positioned; each one has a scoring card that makes determining where your brand currently stands straightforward.
Once you rate each element and collect your score you will have a clear idea of whether or not your brand is ready to stretch into new categories and what the next steps are in order to get in the most optimal position. In my guide, How To Tell If Your Brand Is Ready To Stretch Into New Categories, I break down each element of the LASSO model. I’ll give you the central tenets here:
Criteria #1 A Brand Must Meet For Licensing: Lateral Movement
“Lateral” is the first critical variable in the LASSO Model needed to build a successful brand licensing program. The challenge or goal of lateral expansion is to strike the right balance between surprise and alignment. This occurs when the brand appears where it was not expected, and the appearance of the brand in this sector makes sense because it mirrors what the brand already means. If the association is too “lateral,” or if the brand isn’t convincing enough, the whole arrangement appears wanting. It won’t pass the smell test. Consumers will sense this as quickly as a predator picks up the foul scent of a skunk, and steer clear.
The decision on how to move laterally is critical because it helps define not just where the brand is seen, but also where it is most profitable. Expand ambitiously and, with the right brand, you have a brand that can take on new meaning and new revenues. If your brand displays lateral attributes, it may be ready to stretch into new categories. Expanding a brand beyond its operating sector into wider life categories encourages customers to think of “their” brand in new ways.
Bulgari has expanded into resorts selectively scattered across the globe over the past decade; Better Homes and Gardens has extended into a home textiles and decor program that is exclusive to Walmart; Pantone, a color chart service, now can be found on mugs and tabletop products and in books, taking advantage of the brand’s color equity to shift the brand into entirely new channels of distribution.
And while there have been expansion success stories there are many examples of brand expansions that have gone terribly wrong: Bic’s 1998 venture into perfume in the United States; or disposable pantyhose in Greece, Austria and Ireland. Consumers didn’t get it and the extensions ultimately failed.
In a nutshell, this means there needs to be clear line of sight between what the brand says and stands for, and everywhere that it is seen. These associations can be literal or emotive, but they need to be well thought out. They must stem from a brand’s expansion point.
Considering the Lateral Aspects of your Brand
As you consider the Lateral aspect of your brand, having clarity in your mind about what your brand is most linked to – a specific product set or a general idea – and what qualifies your brand to take ownership, will enable you to choose those categories that are bested suited to your brand. Make sure you also understand the problem consumers are trying to solve and why they would choose your brand to solve it.
The best way to assess the lateral aspects of your brand is through my 7-question assessment tool that scores your brand’s lateral potential. You can see them here.. You’ll also find case studies that illustrate how brands move laterally: Newell-Rubbermaid, Turner Classic Movies, Better Homes & Gardens, Disney and Paper Mate. How To Tell If Your Brand Is Ready To Stretch Into New Categories, is only $29.99 and it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.