Brand Licensing Team originated in 2009 when The Coca-Cola Company championed and supported an outsource to Management Agency Model allowing Cindy Birdsong and John Shero to form their own agency, the Brand Licensing Team (BLT).
With a vision and goal to be the kind of agency that the founders desired to work with on the licensor side of the business, the journey began. BLT was established and today we have purposefully maintained the strongest agency headcount to client ratio in the industry.
Our team is comprised of Senior Level Licensing and Brand Managers with deep experience. We are unique in that we are an Agency with Licensor Experience. We embrace your Brand as our own. We are entrepreneurial, love to explore new spaces, are committed to a design focused approach and approach partnerships to ensure that we have a Non-Competing client base as we add new clients.
Our experience at Coca-Cola transforming their licensing business to be a marketing asset was the foundation for many our beliefs.
While at Coca-Cola, the strategy was to upgrade design, extend the consumer base, support the brand's environmental focus, and rebuild the business in the mass channel. Design was upgraded supported by rich consumer research to appeal to a broad range of consumers with a shared aspirational lifestyle. Product categories were deepen with an emphasis on teens and young adults and building out coordinated programs and stories at retail.The mass channel business was strengthened through design and more .
strategic products that were authentic to the brand values. Over 80% of the licensed merchandise was redesigned.
Of specific note, to inspire action for sustainable living for brand Coca-Cola, John and Cindy led the development of a branded reclaimed, repurposed and recycled line of products. The strategy was to demonstrate environmental leadership by diverting waste from landfills and converting it into inspiring products. The goal was to change the perception of packaging from waste to value, to inspire action, to communicate the impact on the environment and to provide an element of "only Coke can do".
A range of products was developed that included items made from reclaimed
Coca-Cola billboards, misprinted bottle labels, soda cans and pull tabs, repurposed wood veneer, previously enjoyed glass Coca-Cola bottles and recycled post consumer PET bottles. A labeling and identity system was developed that supports the recycled PET product line and communicated to consumers the number of bottles inside each product. Beverage packaging that would normally be waste and end up in a landfill are now diverted and made into products consumers can enjoy for many years. Product development work now extends across both softline and hardline categories.
The Coca-Cola Licensing business experienced double digit growth in 2008 with increased market penetration through Cindy and John's leadership and efforts. Coca-Cola was awarded the Corporate License of the Year and nominated for Best Overall Licensing Program by LIMA in 2008.
Cindy Birdsong brings 20+ years of business and marketing leadership and vision to BLT. In her role as Vice-President of Worldwide Licensing and Retail Operations at The Coca-Cola Company, she also managed the four Coca-Cola owned retail stores with oversight for the New World of Coca-Cola and Coca-Colastore.com businesses. Cindy earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Mercer University. Cindy, her husband, and three children reside in Marietta, Georgia.
John Shero as one of the Founding and Managing Partners of BLT, John is a Senior Global Marketing Executive with demonstrated leadership skills and a history of delivering both quick wins and strategic long-term growth for companies.
He has built, partnered and led iconic, image-based CPG brands in the highly competitive Beverage, Food, Electronics, Home, Apparel & Pet categories; where building strong emotional connections with consumers is critical to growing brand equity and revenue.
John is a proven deal maker and negotiator. His areas of expertise are in developing and implementing strategic brand partnerships / branded growth opportunities thru new product categories, channels of distribution, brand extensions and emerging markets.
John’s key strengths are excellent strategic planning skills; strong implementation capabilities; recruiting, motivating, and leading world-class teams; driving profitable growth, great organizational skills, business development, and a proven innovative and creative mindset.
Outside of the offices, John fancies himself a gardener and is active in his church and several local mentoring programs.