Monday, August 22, 2011
"We really understand our customer," Stanley adds. "As long there is no quality or ethical issue, we will put our brand on anything. Most of the other bands are boring, but KISS' entertainment and iconic imagery is unbeatable. We have created super heroes with guitars."
This uncanny blend of music, spectacle and, of course, business acumen from the early days of the band in the mid-1970s (which was atypical during that era) has become the strategic essence of the band and property today.
"KISS is the only band that has adopted a persona with Starchild, Demon and other characters–along with make up and costumes–which they have had since the beginning, and that has really been the foundation of their merchandising and licensing program," explains Furano, who is a friend, neighbor and business partner of Simmons and Stanley for 20 years. "Gene and Paul have remained accessible to their fans and the momentum of the last three years has been enormous," Furano adds. "The KISS artwork and imagery are so easily translated to merchandise and the merchandising program has almost eclipsed the band."
Furano adds that Simmons and Stanley understood the real value of cross-promotional marketing and integrated marketing much more than any other band. According to Furano, they studied other iconic licensed properties, in particular Star Wars and how George Lucas and Lucas Licensing strategically built the property over the years.
"When they approve merchandise, every band thinks about their image and their fans and they all have a role they want their merchandising to play," say Furano. "Many artists want to keep their merchandising a natural extension of their concert tours and don't want to take it beyond that. KISS is just the opposite. Merchandising is an integral part of who they are as a band."
Longtime manager Doc McGhee, who has been with KISS since 1996, recalls how it was a more simple merchandising strategy back then focused on basic quality products and collectibles and how it was difficult to get major companies to partner with the band. But all that changed very quickly as more and more corporate brands joined forces with KISS. The latest deal with Hello Kitty truly exemplifies the global and consumer popularity of the band.
"The brand is bigger than the band," says McGhee. "It's not just about the next record, it's about the experience of KISS."
McGhee admits it has been both a blessing and curse.
"Some people will say they don't know if they are the best band in world, but they are the best marketers."
KISS now has its brand and various logos featuring the costumes, make up and nicknames on just about everything imaginable, boasting almost 3,000 SKUs and counting. And there is no end in sight as the brand and the band will likely garner even more publicity and gain new fans worldwide in 2012 and beyond as KISS approaches its 40th anniversary.
KISS, which just concluded its 2011 "Lost Cities" tour last month, is already working on its 2012-2013 "Monster" world tour which will take the band to numerous countries throughout Europe, South America and Asia. The first new album since 2009's "Sonic Boom," also called "Monster," is scheduled for release in January. The "KISSology IV" DVD is also scheduled for a January release. Furano points out that all new imagery is being developed that will further expand KISS' licensing efforts over the next several years.
Read the entire article here