The Pink Lady® brand has been so successful partly due to its unique peer to peer licensing structure. This structure requires that all traders in Pink Lady® branded apples (exporters and importers, or ‘peers’) must be licensed or authorised by Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) or one of its Master Licensees.
Under the Pink Lady® model, APAL has appointed Master Licensees in six key territories, including the European Union, and has engaged managers in three territories, including the Gulf and South East Asia.
These Master Licensees and managers are tasked with licensing exporters and importers to become part of the Pink Lady® network. Licensees then have the right to trade in one of the world’s most enduring and recognisable fresh produce brands.
The peer to peer licensing system is so effective for the following reasons:
- All licensees must contractually comply with international quality specifications. A consumer is more likely to purchase a Pink Lady® branded apple which meets their expectations – meeting expectations is critical in achieving customer satisfaction and repeat purchases. Apples which do not have the same strict quality specifications are much more variable and less likely to be able to command a premium.
- All licensees are asked to report their exported volumes, and the final destination of exported Pink Lady® This enables APAL to plan promotions and marketing to maximise sales in different markets. APAL reinvests a percentage of its volume fees in marketing to grow consumer awareness, which in some instances rivals the big retail grocery brands.
- It supports protection of the trademark and brand internationally, starting at the local market level. Members of the network are active in their territories and alert APAL to any trademark infringement or the sale of counterfeit products. APAL can then rely on its network of lawyers and trademark attorneys around the world to take action to protect the Pink Lady® brand in local markets.
- Internationally, licensees adopt uniform branding guidelines for the design and use of the brand. This consistency in branding builds market awareness and promotes recognition of the premium Pink Lady®
The peer to peer licensing structure helps explain why Pink Lady® is the most successful brand of apples on the global market.