LM interviewed Joachim Knödler, Head of Licensing at Studio 100 Media from September 2020, to learn more about the future plans of one of Europe’s leading animation companies.
Joachim Knödler became Head of Licensing at Studio 100 in September 2020. LM interviewed him to learn more about his new role and the company’s 2021 plans.
Tell us about the actions done during the first 100 days at Studio 100, in your role as Licensing Director.
I found a fantastic team at Studio 100, with great brands and a strong marketing base. For me it was an easy path to start the licensing plan and activities. From the first day of joining the company, together with the team I extended the platform to grow our business in the international markets. Key territories to establish our brands started in Eastern Europe – mainly Poland where we want to expand significantly with Maya the Bee. Here it is a very classical IP, and we plan to extend its digital presence and then the food and apparel categories. Just in a couple of months we initiated deals for apparel, food and gift accessories for Maya with PEPCO, Stovit and Powergift together with our local licensing agency Planeta Junior.
For our other brand Mia and me for example Asia, China and Brazil offer perfect scenarios.
These are the focus territories where we pushed our business on international markets. In Germany, we developed our brands in different categories, and then we extend our initiatives to grow internationally in these markets.
What is new in 2021 and what will you focus on most as IPs and/or projects?
JK. For 2021 we added greater support for our licensing team, so we will have more resources for developing international and fashion licensing in Europe. Many of our classical IPs, will become iconic brands in fashion. This will help us not only on the general turnover on licensing but also in widening the presence of the target and brand, appealing to kids and adults.
In terms of territories, in 2021, we will cultivate the complete sustainability that is connected with Maya the Bee and then with non-profit organizations for nature protection over the next couple of years. We will strengthen these co-operations in 2021 and, also roll out in Poland and internationally.
We have a collaboration with Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union – NABU in Germany and its sister organizations in other territories. If the model works in Germany, it will be translated elsewhere.
The bees are more and more a symbol for mankind to be more responsible and to care for sustainability.
Also, we are preparing a re-launch of Mia and me. We are working on season 4 and preparing a successful licensing plan, marketing initiatives, and style guides. We aim to continue to be more international in China and Brazil and, also on digital channels.
Another classic brand we have is Heidi. We will transfer her world as inspiration for products related to outdoor activities and in contact with nature. It’s something that we discussed a lot with our main partners. After all the Covid19 restrictions, we all need to link with nature and freedom, to go out on a picnic, or a promenade, etc. Heidi is totally related to the outdoors, as she’s very much connected to nature and a part of it. We are also planning “mini-me” collections for children, parents, and grandparents for apparel which will also be always related to the outdoors.
For the Heidi brand this is not a new choice, it’s so relevant to its identity.
How are you facing this troubling period and which will be your main challenges for the (next) future to re-launch the post-pandemic industry (as Industry Expert)?
Actually, we are currently looking at possible movie releases as theatres are not yet open, trying to find good solutions together with all the distributors to set dates that also support our licensing partners.
We think consumers cannot wait to go shopping again. We’re thinking that retail would be a good way to return to having ‘live experiences’ – for example combining a licensing activity for kids during a movie release. We want to work with licensees for building new exciting business models in retail and entertainment for the consumers. Having a non-virtual experience is a really nice opportunity as we can support retail and we can also give more value to retailers and entertain parents. We are working towards Retail-tainment – a new generation of retail that consumers will look for.
How different do you see the future, if compared to the past pre-Covid (as Industry Expert)?
I think there will be a larger concentration in some areas, – for example we have all recognised how important the online retail sector is – not only in retail but also in the industry in general.
We as licensors need to be ready to deliver trust and continuity with our IPs through new products and experiences in licensing. Studio 100 is totally ready for that.