Lil’ Ledy / The one to watch
While the consumer is on the look out for something new on a daily basis, it’s not that easy to come up with new products, ideas and concepts to live up to those expectations at the same pace. Everyone is looking for the best new thing, for the great idea that will keep on moving the economy on and on. Each season asks for hot new items, the word ‘new’ being the magical word of retail and our culture these days. It even beats the word ‘for free’. New, new, new. How does one build a brand in such an ever-changing environment, when we all know that it takes time to build a brand, to establish an emotional connection with the target market. One season just isn’t enough. And we are not talking about one seasonal, usually character based, brands that merely function as a decoration on a product. We are talking about brands that are here to stay, to evolve and grow with time. Brands with a strong brand concept and clear brand signals, backed up with a unique brand message. In the last few years we are witnessing the revivals of many popular brands from the past that are given a new polished face and placed on products. Sometimes not even developing new content, just building on the positive emotions from the past. This is another proof of how challenging it is to develop a new brand. Even big industry players find it easier to plot up a revival or a co-branding project than to build something new from scratch.
On the constant look out for new brands we spotted the Lil’ Ledy brand during the Brand Licensing Europe show in London last year. It caught our eye and attention with its unique style and strong visuals, as well as positive vibe. We’ve got even more interested after meeting up with Antonija, the creative director of the company Manu standing behind the Lil’ Ledy character based lifestyle brand. She showed us how passion and know-how are the perfect combination for getting things done and dreams turned into reality. The company Manu has been working in the branding and marketing world for 20 years building and developing brands for international corporate clients. So, why did they decide to build their own brand and bring it to the licensing arena? “We were looking for a new challenge, something to be excited about, to make our hearts beat louder and faces smile wider” was her prompt reply. Of course, that was only the spark that started a new adventure. After all, the company built all their know-how and brand expertise into the Lil’ Ledy brand. Yet this statement also reflects the brand’s concept/strategy – to bring positive messages and experiences to girls and women all over the world. The target market being the female consumer, the most competitive market in the licensing business, asks for clear and recognizable brand signals that stand out in the crowd. That’s where the brand’s unique brand style comes into place. Lil’ Ledy is a contemporary styled brand created in a designy way. Asia meets Sweden. Kawaii cuteness merging with modern design. Two opposite elements creating a new unique style. A natural style extension of the award winning design team at Manu incorporating their personal love for cute and loveable characters. The sophisticated cute style clearly reflects the essence of the Lil’ Ledy brand – a rebel with style. With its cuteness it fits the younger female market while being desirable for young women with its sophisticated design filing a gap in the market for urban women who never let go of that little girl inside of them while pursuing their dreams and careers.
O.k., the brand has style, what about the brand message? What new and relevant does it have to say? This brings us back to why Manu has chosen the female market for its brand’s target. It’s personal. They wanted to create a legacy for their own daughters filled with warm characters and positive messages. The Lil’ Ledy brand is all about empowering girls and women, showing them the beauty of life as well as the beauty each of them carries inside. It’s all about taking on the right attitude, accepting yourself with all your strong sides and little flaws. That’s what makes each person unique. Lil’ Ledy was created and developed to build a strong positive resource for girls and women giving them a character they can relate to. Positive, fun, vibrating. Not perfect, just special.
By now we established that the Lil’ Ledy brand has a clear brand concept, unique brand signals and strong brand messages. All tailored to the female target market. Still, how can the brand stand the test of time and keep on delivering new content over and over again? The question that started this article. We were surprised by how Manu managed to integrate the “new” factor into Lil’ Ledy’s brand structure. The Lil’ Ledy brand consists of various collections, each carrying its unique message, vibe and style. Each collection is built on a strong idea and sets of icons, evolving into illustrations and patterns. Each collection is created to cover a specific age range with its name and story, look and feel, unique color palette, characters and accessories. There isn’t a set number of collections. It’s an ever evolving storyline. New collections are added on a regular basis to the Lil’ Ledy brand portfolio, and existing ones updated. Not only did they achieve to reinvent the character through each collection presenting her in a new setting and story, they even managed to cover a wide age range within the female market. On top of that, each collection is rounded up with a set of patterns broadening the product range the brand can be applied on (fashion, cosmetics, home décor, gift products, stationary, etc.), as well as giving the whole brand appearance a superior look.
Lil’ Ledy is a brand with a huge storytelling potential and we’re sure it’s destined to go places. The brand, launched last October in London (BLE2014), already has licensing deals set in Europe and the US and won the One To Watch award at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this June for being the best new brand. “Most people will say that they don’t work or create for awards, but for what makes them happy. That’s true. But we really appreciate the One To Watch award, for it confirmed and reassured us, as well as our partners, that the Lil’ Ledy brand stands on firm grounds and that we can keep on dreaming even bigger. And we do have big dreams. That pushes us forward. Dreams and love for what we’re doing. Call us idealists, but we truly believe that everything is possible once you set your mind on it and invest lots of time and hard work into it. We’re here to stay. The Lil’ Ledy brand is a long term project and we have much more to show and say. That love for creating something new is what we’re looking for in our business partners as well. We have the passion and persistence to take make it happen, for we believe in Lil’ Ledy. She brings a smile on our face each time we create a new collection. That smile is what we want to see on everybody’s face.” With these words Antonija closed her presentation and opened a new chapter for Lil’ Ledy.