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The New Face of Beanstalk

By Karina Masolova

Last week, licensing agency Beanstalk officially announced the appointment of Allison Ames as its CEO, expanding her current responsibilities as President. She succeeds Michael Stone, who will actively serve as Chairman, advising and promoting the company. Ames spoke with TLL to discuss Beanstalk’s plans for the future and the latest trends hitting the industry.

Ames had worked with Stone, who moves on from his role as Co-founder & CEO, for 18 years and for the last year has taken up her new role in all but name. As the company comes off a year of growth, Ames hinted at a breakout project to hit early 2016, with details soon to come. The company is planning bullish expansion in international reach, especially in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, as well as its portfolio.

Beanstalk’s bread and butter brands are in corporate/trademark (examples include Black & Decker, Energizer, P&G) which, as a category, grew 2% in 2014, and Ames expects greater growth for brands in the food/beverages subcategory (Got Milk?, Slim Jim, Airheads), which grew 3.5% domestically in 2014. She noted that Beanstalk’s roster of food brands are growing at a greater clip internationally, while they have historically performed better in the U.S.

The agency also represents celebrity brands (Mindy Weiss, Paris Hilton, Salma Hayek), and is expanding into a new category with six video games titles from Microsoft.

Ames identified several trends that she expects to tap into and drive brand licensing over the next year for her clients:

  • She expects electronic sports (esports), organized multiplayer video game competitions, to help video game properties get a broader reach; noting that esports have greatly increased visibility for Beanstalk’s Microsoft titles.
  • The maker movement, which is strong with millennials, has sparked a rebirth of specialty of specialty e-commerce and manufacturers that serve the space.
  • Direct-to-retail (DTR) relationships, such as retail-only partnerships, are evolving to address shrinking shelf space in brick-and-mortar and the growth of e-commerce.
  • As the wearables market is developing, consumer electronics are allowing for greater diversity and reach of brands.

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