CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Make an Exhibition of Yourself – Museums as Brand Partners
Abigail Ratcliffe, Group Head of Licensing at the Science Museum, Helena Jensen. Head of Commercial Intellectual Property at the Natural History Museum and Lauren Sizeland, Head of Business Development & Licensing at the V&A, are three people who sit between the commercial world and the institutions they represent. Moderator, Tim Collins, from The Brand Director, wanted to know how these two very different worlds can work together.
It seems there’s an increasing willingness for publicly-funded institutions to engage with the commercial sector – the popularity of characters and brands is valuable. Abigail thought that year-on-year reduction in funding has driven commercial cooperation. It has made the museums more outward looking. The example of Clarkes sponsoring an exhibition of shoes at the V&A was a good example of partnerships, thought Lauren. ‘We are asset rich and cash poor,’ said Helena, ‘so we don’t have the funding or skillset to develop IP. What we can do is to work with an idea from outside”.
Not every idea that comes to them is acceptable to the curators of course. The Science Museum owns the rights to The Flying Scotsman and they rejected a pitch to make it into a Transformers style toy.
The museums all work with publishers, but also print their own books. “It’s about products and experiences that are memorable,” said Lauren, ‘”buying into something that is authentic. It’s about storytelling, and quality – the weight and feel of it –we are concerned about the deatails.’
The Brand Director
Natural History Museum
Head of Commercial Intellectual Property
Science Museum Group
Group Head of Licensing
Head of Business Development & Licensing
The Brand Director
Marketing & Operations Manager