The Point.1888- From a retailers Perspective. With Samantha Pettit, Tesco

The Point 1888 is the next generation of brand licensing. Focusing on a retail first approach to brand licensing, our team prides itself on offering retailers unique points of difference from long-term sustainable licensed brands.

As the 2019 retail year drew to a close, our Head of Retail, Hannah Stevens, sat down with Samantha Pettit, lead Licensing Manager at Tesco.

Having worked together on numerous projects in 2019, Hannah and Samantha discussed the year ahead, where the licensing sector is going, and what we can do as an industry to continue to improve and create differentiation for retail!

Hannah: So I have to ask, what is your favourite brand of all time?

Samantha: I’m not sure I can name just one! I love lots of brands for lots of different reasons. Mulberry is a favourite, a British brand, with core values, leading design and impeccable quality. I really like that they still make and design many of their bags down in Somerset, supporting local craftsmanship.

Then you have Netflix which has completely overhauled the way media and content is absorbed by its users, whilst creating unique content from existing brands and partnering with the likes of Warner Brothers too. It’s even started getting recognition through awards like the Oscars!

Another personal favourite, and more a person than a brand, but they are screaming out to be licensed more, is RuPaul. So relevant at the moment with his messages of self love and support for the LGBTQ community. After exploding on to the mainstream with Drag Race in the UK late last year, we need more RuPaul and the Drag Race license in our lives. There is just so little out there here in the UK apart from a few tshirts and some Funko figures.

Hannah – What are the licensed brands you consider to be most innovative and exciting for 2020?

Samantha: Well anything which promotes sustainability will do well in 2020. H&M has started with its own brand H&M conscious built around sustainable clothing and homeware, which is really stylish and more importantly very affordable. Other retailers I’m sure will follow suit.

Hannah: Which category of licensed product do you see as being most innovative? We see lots of new FMCG movements – but we’d love to know your thoughts!

Samantha: This is tricky, but I’m going to go with technology and media… Google, it started off as a web browser, it’s now producing physical products that sit in our homes offering smart technology and increasing sales of technology. Obviously it’s a similar story for Amazon, originally an online retailer, it’s had an arm of own branded technology for a while which seems to continuously be growing.

You then have the likes of online streaming, again through Amazon, but also Netflix, both of which have a wide array of programmes which can be licensed in their own rights (if they could be a little speedier with some shows that would be great!). Disney+ launches this year and will expand on this with new content but also by opening up a whole vault of films that younger generations haven’t seen. I think 2020 will show a real build on all of this and stretch out across multiple product categories from more technology to homeware and even fashion.

Hannah: How do you feel the industry is performing at offering retailers a point of difference from licensed products? What do you look for? And how can we all do better?

Samantha: I honestly think there can be too much focus on ‘having a level playing field’. If a retailer wants to put your product on shelf but want it to be a slightly different version which they believe will draw customers in to their stores over competitors then take them up on the opportunity! A buyer wanting an exclusive or point of difference shows there is passion for your product, and will likely lead to extra orders if they feel it resonates with their customers. Customers are savvy about where they spend, so having the same product in all retailers doesn’t always necessarily benefit the licensee or supplier.

Hannah: How do you feel the Tesco shopper is consuming licensed brands? What is he/she looking for from a customer experience and product?

Samantha: Tesco customers are very brand savvy. They engage with social media a lot and they always want to be able to purchase the most popular products. If Frozen is the biggest movie then they will want to buy everything related to it, or if Teddy bedding is the next best thing according to Mrs Hinch they will expect to see it in stores. Tesco’s advantage is convenience, so being able to get hold of these must have brands and products whilst picking up their weekly shop is really advantageous. If you are on top of these trends, then putting them out of category to make that shopping journey even easier is always going to be well received.

Hannah: As you know well, we work on our brands from a retail first approach. Do you feel this is critical in coming to Tesco first on signing preferred suppliers, and seeing the brand at the early stages?

Samantha: Absolutely! There’s very little point signing brands and extending them in to products that won’t sell. Quite often licensing can become label slapping. For example, say you had a luxury fragrance brand to license out. It should be done on things like home fragrance and even hand soaps etc. It wouldn’t make sense to put the brand on mugs and fridge magnets just because you can do high volumes at a cheap cost. Working from the middle out and talking to the retail buying and licensing teams gives you a better understanding of what the best products to put the brand on are, and what will resonate most with customers. Cohesion and range building is key in retail and the retailer will know the best way to go about this, so utilise their knowledge.

Hannah: And lastly … How much have you enjoyed working with The Point 1888 team?

Samantha: It’s been an absolute treat! I love the unique way The Point 1888 works, and the enthusiasm you have for the brands you manage. I’ll be hoping to see great things from you guys in 2020 😊


To find out more about Samantha please head over to her Linked In-

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