NEW YORK: Ford, the automaker, is rolling out an increasingly diverse range of products from clothing to toys as it endeavours to further boost the revenues secured from licensed goods.
Its portfolio of goods beyond cars includes everything from apparel branded with the blue oval and Mustang insignias to radio-controlled cars on sale at chains like Walmart and Toys R US.
"We're trying to be the licensee of choice for all retailers," Amy Wilds, Ford's licensing marketing manager, told Forbes. "They could choose GM or Chrysler brands but if we're easier to work with and provide better service, they'll highlight our items this holiday season."
In the run up to Cyber Monday, the company used social media to raise awareness of its Ford Collection range. Its sales rose by 80% compared with the same day the previous year.
Taking a longer term view, the returns generated by this activity have grown from $1bn in 2005 to $1.5bn in 2011.
The company's dealers take 20% of the proceeds from sales originating through their websites, and are being encouraged to offer an increasingly broad range of Ford Collection products.
Indeed, Ford has recently introduced a web platform where dealers can order such items at a reduced rate, alongside receiving discounts for buying in bulk, and the chance to access "monthly specials".
"We're trying to get dealers more involved in selling our officially branded merchandise," said Wilds. "We're also focused on educating dealers about the program."
As part of this process, the organisation has created "street teams", or expert representatives, to attend dealerships and discuss the options available, as well as how best to display products on site.
"When we announced these programs at Ford Dealer Council meetings, there was a lot of excitement around them," said Wilds.
Mark Bentley, Ford's licensing manager, added that its slate of products which particularly appeal to male customers have enjoyed rising demand.
"We also have been selling a lot of ‘man cave' items through Hobby Lobby, from signs to coasters to pint beer glasses — anything a man would want," he said.
Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff