By: Tiffanie Lane, Product Manager, OpSec Security
The covid-19 pandemic has seen industries forced to pivot to virtual to keep afloat and the fashion industry is no exception. Unable to showcase their designs on the catwalk, high profile fashion brands have turned to the thriving video game industry for inspiration. This has seen designer brands such as Gucci partner with gaming providers in a bid to increase exposure and revenue.
While the pandemic may now be easing, this trend is continuing to gain momentum, with brands and gaming providers finding new and innovative ways to partner up. For instance, in recent weeks, Balenciaga joined forces with the video game Fortnite to launch an immersive 3D billboard in major cities around the world, advertising both brands at once. So, how exactly have these unlikely partnerships between luxury brands and computer games come about and what’s next?
The appeal of partnering with gaming giants
Over the course of the pandemic, huge numbers turned to video games to pass the time, escape reality, and connect with others. In other words, the gaming industry has gone from strength to strength. In fact, according to Accenture, its value now exceeds $300 billion.
Further to this, half a billion more people have begun to play video games over the last three years, taking the total to 2.7 billion people globally. With this, the old stereotypes of who a gamer is no longer ring true – 70% of gamers are aged 18 or over and the average gamer is 34 years old, owns a house and has children. Therefore, not only does the gaming industry have an extremely captive and lucrative audience, but it is also diverse, helping brands to reach a broader audience, such as Gen-Z, who are typically not watching commercials or reading magazines and consequently are less likely to be exposed to the brand through traditional marketing.
In a similar vein, this approach can also help brands to develop consumer loyalty beyond what can be achieved through traditional marketing, with products featured in much-loved video games able to be bought in real life.
Put this way, it becomes clearer to see why partnering with gaming companies and licensing out their IP has become so appealing to fashion brands.
A strategic approach to increasing exposure
For any brand, leveraging opportunities to license their IP can be a real gamechanger, opening up new revenue streams in a way that is strategic and relatively risk-free. The key is to effectively manage these new partnerships in a way that enables these agreements to run seamlessly in the background. A big part of this in ensuring that licensing programs are not run in silo to the organization’s core brand protection operations, ensuring no nefarious actors can infiltrate and cause harm. This could be through the misuse of a company’s IP that results in their products or branding being featured in unauthorized material could cause reputational harm and damage trust in the brand.
The best way to achieve this is through leveraging a licensing management system, which has integrated brand protection elements. This kind of solution frees up employees from the laborious day-to-day administrative demands of licensing management. Typically, without a purpose-built solution in place, licensing management can be a painstaking and disorganized process involving back and forth emails and phone calls with different parties involved in the process. Without one single point of access to all partnerships underway, it can become easy to lose track, and this is where bad actors can step in.
A license management system transforms this into a highly organized end-to-end process, from onboarding new licensees all the way through to reporting sales and royalties, whilst also flagging any suspicious behavior. This is crucial, as by having this integrated as a core part of an organization’s approach to licensing management, brands are better placed to quickly progress opportunities with third parties as they arise without opening themselves up to unnecessary risk in a new threat landscape.
Capitalizing on a growing trend
Ultimately, although collaborations between fashion brands and gaming companies were brought about by a need to innovate and maintain a presence (albeit virtual) during the pandemic, this evolving trend looks set to stay.
By licensing out their IP to licensees in the video game industry, fashion brands can make their IP work harder for them, reaching new audiences and bringing in more revenue. While brands may be fearful about relinquishing control of their IP, taking a strategic approach to license management and leveraging the right solutions to ensure end-to-end visibility throughout the process will help to ensure their IP is used in ways that align with their brand values.
With brands like Balenciaga and Gucci having seen great success by partnering with gaming companies, it is likely to only be a matter of time before this trend catches on and major brands in other sectors follow suit.