By establishing mutually beneficial licensing agreements, retailers can create unique product assortments, compelling marketing campaigns and extend the reach of their brands to new audiences.
Life is good and Hallmark are teaming up to release exclusive co-branded products such as greeting cards that will be available throughout Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean. This new venture with Hallmark is part of a “Best-in-Class partnership strategy” from Life is Good, which was created to help the brand “dip into new verticals, and reach out to get an audience from leaders across industries,” Bert Jacobs, Chief Executive Optimist for Life is good, told Retail TouchPoints.
Regarding the “Best-in-Class partnership strategy,” Jacobs added: “We’re looking at a broad array of categories to fuel these efforts because we want to add some surprise to our brand. We want to add some new products and offerings our customers might not expect from us.”
The new collaboration with Hallmark will be a key vehicle for Life is good to increase greeting card sales, which currently rests at $1 million, Jacobs reported. Moreover, he noted that Hallmark will help Life is good “elevate and extend the brand, and create more communication touch points to help grow our community.”
New co-branded products will be featured in various Hallmark and Life is good distribution channels, including Hallmark Gold Crown stores, Hallmark.com, Lifeisgood.com, Life is good company-owned stores and Life is good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppes.
Moving The Life Is Good Brand Forward
During the Life is good brand’s 18-year lifetime, company executives have worked to establish products that promote optimism and encourage social good and collaboration, Jacobs explained. However, once the recession of 2008 hit, Jacobs and other executives recognized business weaknesses, as well as potential opportunities.
“We were a bit conservative with our business, however, our message of optimism was something that was timeless and always remained powerful,” Jacobs said. “It’s our message that is helping us create new opportunities. We’re just using new products as vehicles to deliver that message.”
To continually create optimal licensing deals, Life is good must connect with organizations that follow similar principles and promote the same causes, according to Jacobs. Hallmark was an ideal first candidate for the partnership initiative, due to the extensive history, values and reputation of the greeting card company.
“With Hallmark being our very first deal, it’s very clear that the company is going to be central to our Best-in-Class initiative,” Jacobs said. “Hallmark promotes ‘special moments,’ which we call ‘life’s simple pleasures.’ It’s a really great fit because we both focus on what’s right in the world, and emphasize opportunity and love. We’re both family-owned companies and are very family friendly. These innate similarities play a key role in our relationship.”
While the new partnership will help Life is good expand brand awareness and education, Hallmark also expects to see great results, according to Cindy Mahoney, VP of Licensing for Hallmark.
“Our target customers are what we call ‘relationship believers,’” Mahoney told Retail TouchPoints. “They are people who have an affinity for relationships and constantly are seeking new ways to connect with the people they care about. Hallmark strives to create products that are optimistic and life affirming, and that’s an area where we and Life is good are very compatible.”
Together, Life is good and Hallmark will be creating “compelling new approaches to greeting cards, which we are very excited about,” Mahoney added. Hallmark also plans to create a full-service experience for customers by offering Life is good apparel online and in stores.
Hallmark will promote the availability of Life is good products via an in-store merchandising program and strong product placement, Mahoney reported. “We also will be supplementing this promotion with catalog mailers and significant social media buzz,” she added. “Our customer already lives on social sites, so it will be a great avenue for us to increase awareness and generate buzz.”
Similarly, Life is good will be targeting campaigns and conversations to its digitally-savvy consumers, including 1.5 million Facebook fans and 200,000 Twitter followers in order to increase awareness of the new products.