Growing the business by licensing their brands is tricky business for many firms. On the one hand, if the brand is not that well-known, there will be a few takers for the license. On the other hand, if the brand becomes too well-known and too many licensees want to be part of the game, quality control is difficult to accomplish. Compounding the dilemma is the stability of the target audience’s preferences and tastes.

Take a brand like Hello Kitty. While people may have liked it when they were kids, do they still retain their preferences when they grow up? Typically not. Therefore, most marketers of kids’ products face the challenge of targeting a moving audience. Companies like Disney, MTV, and Mattel toys have constantly faced this challenge. One brand, Hello Kitty, seems to have retained many of its customers by marketing to them over different life stages. Is that the key to its profitable growth? There are interesting lessons from Sanrio, the Japanese parent company of Hello Kitty. It seems making money by licensing its brand is child’s play for Hello Kitty