The National Basketball Association (NBA) has always held a lot of international appeal – one of the league’s charter teams was the Toronto Huskies – but the league’s global profile has never been larger than it is right now. Thanks in part to hosting some of the greatest international players in history, the NBA has become the premier professional basketball league not only in North America, but throughout the world. The league broadcasts games in more than 200 countries and territories in 47 languages, and has offices in cities including Hong Kong, Mumbai, London, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

With this kind of global penetration, the NBA enjoys licensing opportunities greater than any of the major North American sports leagues. Senior Vice President of Licensing and Business Affairs Vicky Picca says this is thanks in large part to how relatively easy it is for people anywhere in the world to pick up a ball and imagine themselves as Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant. “I think the success comes down to accessibility, at the end of the day,” she says. “All you need is a ball to play.”

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Brand building is all about credibility and protection – mainly gaining credibility and then protecting it. So more than 20 years ago, when Greek fraternity and sorority organizations nationwide began seeing an increasing number of manufacturers using their names in unwanted and unauthorized fashion, the Greek community responded with a resounding “no more.”

And why shouldn’t they? Coca-Cola doesn’t let anyone make and sell spinoffs of its name without approval, so why wouldn’t these organizations – founded with specific missions and some more than a century old – do the same? Their credibility was built over decades and today they are using their resources to protect it – no official shirt, sweater, coffee mug or jewelry hits the retail stands that falls short of the quality benchmarks or criteria specified by the licensor. Only credible merchandise is allowed, which makes sense since credibility is one of Greek life’s main draws.

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In the entertainment world, the work involved with a film or television show does not stop with the final edit. Instead, it continues through many different avenues, including the merchandising related to the production.

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The team at Redasign Studio has a solid background in design, product development and licensing and is quietly building strong merchandising programs for its clients. Slow and steady wins the race, but in the case of this boutique agency, so does small and agile.

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An immensely popular digital property is expanding its reach into the off-line world while maintaining a strong connection to its core business. Moshi Monsters, a free online world aimed at children ages six to 12, this fall will make its second foray into video games following a record-setting console gaming debut in 2011.

Read more: Mind Candy

At Hasbro, not everything is fun and games. There are also fashion products, movies, television shows, digital apps and a variety of innovative ideas to tell the story of the company that introduced the world to iconic products such as Mr. Potato Head, the Monopoly game or one of the first action figures, G.I. Joe.

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For Joel Barnett, there’s more to licensing a brand than just placing a name on a product and putting it on store shelves. Barnett, the owner of Irvine, Calif.-based boutique licensing agency Brentwood Licensing, believes in understanding the needs of his clients and what makes their brands unique.

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The publishing business may have changed a lot over the last decade, but that doesn’t mean established companies can’t build on past success. Andrews McMeel Publishing sees great opportunities ahead that should lead to more decades of leadership.

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