Blaupunkt is a German technology brand that continues to expand its global awareness, for the quality standards it represents. LM interviewed Andrzej Cebrat, Managing Director at GIP Development SARL / Blaupunkt to learn more about the next licensing plans of the company
For almost a century, Blaupunkt and its blue dot symbol have been synonymous of the German technology, innovation, and quality. Given Blaupunkt’s history of product lines, one might think that the brand would only apply to automobile or audio products. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the same quality and care that have maintained the brand awareness throughout the decades are now reflected in a comprehensive program called the Blaupunkt Global Brand Community. LM interviewed Andrzej Cebrat, Managing Director at GIP Development SARL / Blaupunkt to learn more about their Brand Licensing strategy.
Could you tell us how Blaupunkt is born, and what is your brand licensing strategy? How your agency is structured?
We are located in Luxembourg, not very far from Germany, the country of origin of the brand. The name Blaupunkt is in fact German, it means “the blue point”. The painted blue dot was the seal of quality, which had been affixed to the first products, the headphones, in the 1920s. Since then, they have had so many requests; the people said that they love the product with a blue dot. The company takes its name and origin from that first seal of quality.
We are the global brand owner, in over 180 jurisdictions and in 25 different product and service classes. Regarding our structure, we do licensing directly, working with external individuals for networking and development. Most of our approach is done internally. We have internal divisions for portfolio management, reporting, marketing… We started the licensing development more than 10 years ago, and we want to make it the most efficient in the industry using our own resources, our own expertise, our own team giving us the advantage that we are very efficient and fast to the market.
Which are the other brands you own?
We own the Blaupunkt brand portfolio, which is composed mainly on the block of the trademark. Within it, we have sub-brands like Velocity and TravelPilot, but we have verified that they perform better together with all the others in the trademark block.
This has also been confirmed to us by our partners and licensees, who have stated that they have obtained greater time speed on the market in this way, achieving better higher price and profit margins than before not using or using non-famous brands. I want to emphasize that we are accepting only the right partners, this is one of the key successes of our brand perception.
Which is the right partner profile for you?
The most important thing is that the partners themselves can understand where the advantages of brand licensing lie for them. For example, being able to achieve better profitability and market share, and having the possibility of expanding the portfolio with new goods or completely new product categories. We manage to find national or supranational champions, even if sometimes well hidden, who generate enough business. Our fundamental objective is to extend the visibility of the brand: therefore, the entire process of selecting the right partner is linked to the product category, the area of origin, and to the specificity of the partner itself.
What is the global reach of your business?
We have more than 40 partners worldwide, representing different categories. And in some categories, we are covering the entire globe with different continents and partnerships, giving sole contract. So, there is only one partner for one product category, in every territory. There’s a global approach that we are developing starting from Europe, our core market. We are expanding to exotic markets such as Australia, China, India, Africa, South America, focusing on our core products. We would like to curate multiple categories: consumer electronics, household appliances, new technologies and digital gadgets.
We provide our website, where our new licensees can present their Blaupunkt products. It is also the ideal approach from a licensing point of view. On Blaupunkt.com you can select the categories of interest, and it is always indicated which product is available in a certain region or country. This service is free for all of our licensees and allows them to be instantly recognized as an official part of the Blaupunkt family.
In terms of product categories, do you have any goal for this year?
Naturally, Blaupunkt is very successful in consumer electronics, particularly in TV, home audio and portable audio, thanks to the origins of the brand. This category is profitable and developing for our partners in other regions, such as Europe, Australia or India. The TV market is large, and you need to differentiate yourself from the competitors. We have seen through case studies that the Blaupunkt brand, thanks to its quality and a base of very loyal end consumers, allows partners to differentiate themselves and profit.
Over the past four years, we have seen an abnormal development of home appliances due to consumer confidence in the brand: for example, small utensils for the kitchen, but also beauty and care products. We therefore want to continue to cultivate the possibilities of this market, which is also very competitive, and where a slightly higher profit can be obtained. Our partners are also achieving much better profitability.
Have you developed throughout the years, or will you have any perspective in the next future, to partner with the kind of other categories and products?
Thank you for that question, because we have found some big surprises, out of our categories. For our partners, this is something that was not initially accepted, but in contradiction, we found out that consumers have welcomed, in addition to kitchen appliances, home security products. Due to the excellent response of our consumers, we have also unexpectedly developed the fashion category. We have a very good database of historical graphics and pictures, which we are using for fashion collections, available in selected countries like the US, UK, Germany, on amazon.com.
I want to remark that we are keen on licensing and learning from the experts, because for now we have organized ourselves. We are part of licensing industry, but we don’t use many licensing agencies. We are cooperating with some of them in very selected regions, and we have individuals, very good experts, working for us for networking and bringing self-developed projects.