“We don’t want to be limited by the lineage of the brand” BCCL’s Sandeep Dahiya in conversation with Jiggy George

On Friday, 20th March, we were lucky to have the man in the hot seat behind extending evergreen brands like Femina, Filmfare & Miss India, brand licensing veteran Sandeep Dahiya, CEO – Times Lifestyle Enterprise Director & business head – Brand Extension, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd. who was in conversation with Jiggy George, Country MD, Licensing International India and Founder & CEO, Dream Theatre Group

They had a free-wheeling chat on how to extend & monetise one’s company name, logo, trademarks  via brand licensing – a genre worth  $58 billion* globally.

Here are some of the key excerpts from the discussion:

  • Fundamentals of corporate and brand licensing are the same.
  • Awareness has reached a point where consumers are willing to pay a price to own a piece of the brand
  • Bennet Coleman Company Limited – is one of the largest media companies in India. Has one of the largest news daily, largest financial daily, largest network of movie channels, largest chain of radio stations, largest outdoor company – a few brands which have been around for 6-7 decades like Femina, Filmfare & Miss India
  • Brand extensions help unlock a lot of value for the company
  • Step 1 is to look at your brand portfolio and do a risk profiling
  • We decided to start with Femina – and do something around Fashion and Beauty. First partner was Shoppers Stop. 
  • They also looked at the services side and decided to launch Femina Flaunt late 2019.
  • Brand licensing done well. – Sandeep named Coca Cola, Kylie Jenner and Victoria Beckham
  • Objectives are different for different brands:
    1. How to stay relevant?
    2. How to jumpstart a new category? E.g. JVC, Discovery.
    3. Speed – finding someone else who can do it faster.


  • In the brand extensions model, we decided to do it ourself since we didn’t want to do co-branded. For the moment it will be a combination of COCO – Company Owned Company Operated and FOFO – Franchise Owned Franchise Operated which could lead to other models like Shared partnership.
  • Not everyone extends a brand into every market
  • If you are a media company licensees tend to expect you to bundle it into the deliverables and we do try to help if that’s our core competitive strength, but that shouldn’t be the reason for signing up
  • For Filmfare we are keen to sign up with the right hospitality players, Miss India is for a much younger audience
  • When you are planning a licensing foray you get inputs from the brand team but the ultimate blessings have to come from the management.
  • When you have 10 brands in the same category in the marketplace, they all need to have a unique aesthetic, and value proposition.
  • We don’t want to be limited by the lineage of the brand
  • What if we want to just launch a brand called Flaunt 3 years from now? Maybe it could be Unisex.
  • When we looked at the sales data from Shoppers Stop, a large number of sales were coming in from young millennials who had not read the magazine, but their first interaction was through fashion.
  • Femina Flaunt is currently available in 64 stores.
  • Licensing services are more difficult than licensing products since there are far more examples and case studies.
  • We’ve locked the brand in relevant categories in high Indian diaspora markets like Singapore, UAE, US, UK, Canada, Australia


The road ahead –

  • Femina Flaunt – 3-5 years 150-200 stores in the next year or so
  • Starting up in UAE
  • Fashion going online
  • Cafes in India and overseas


More about Sandeep:

With an experience of over 2 decades that spans across categories, Sandeep currently heads the brand extension business of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), one of India’s largest multimedia conglomerate. With some of the legacy brands such as Filmfare, Femina and Miss India in its portfolio, Sandeep’s mandate is to extend these brands into the consumer space, outside their existing core businesses.

Under his leadership, Femina has extended into the multiple consumer product categories over the last 5 years – apparel, eyewear, footwear, accessories, and fragrances. The brand is today available in more than 60 Shoppers Stop stores, across India and in over 600 eyewear stores. Within 48 months of launch, Femina FLAUNT range of products have already had a cumulative MRP sales of over Rs. 400 million. In late 2019, Femina forayed into beauty services with the launch of      Femina FLAUNT Studio Salon in Mumbai. Situated at Khar Linking Road and spread over 3000 sq feet, the studio salon is a ‘statement-making’, contemporary hotspot, serving global beauty services and trends in hair, make-up, nails & skin. Over the next 5 years, the company plans to launch a robust franchise program, to create a footprint of over 100 salons in the first 5 years

Prior to BCCL, Sandeep spent 8 years at Viacom18, heading their Consumer Products division to create sustainable licensing model around their brands & IPs such as MTV, Vh1, Spongebob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Southpark, amongst others.

Before Viacom18, he spent over 10 years as a consultant with Marketing & Communications agencies – working on hyperactive consumer-driven brands such as Seagram’s, Lakme, Pepsodent, indya.com, Carrier, Sony Entertainment Television, Louis Vuitton and South African Tourism, amongst others.

He firmly believes that the best business decisions are the ones that are driven partly by insights, and partly by instincts.