Andy Oddie: What makes the company so successful is we adopt a unique sales and marketing style, which appeals to our core demographic. In what we believe are the most persuasive methods of interaction - much of this is based around social media linked to new and exclusive content. We also pride ourselves on our speed to market on new licences, breadth of IPs and brand strategy
Everyone has a different favourite superhero or character, but Funko has them all, or so it seems. How many licences does Funko already have and which are the most successful?
A. O.: We have over 1,200 license contracts, but unusually, Funko doesn’t have great concentration on any particular license, but recent successes include Fortnite, Avengers: Endgame and Harry Potter. We are always on the lookout for the latest trends, TV shows, video games and the moment we see consumer interest in something special that will turn on the Funko fan.
How do you know which new licences you just have to have in your assortment and where do you get inspiration for new characters from?
A. O.: We aim to be current, cutting edge and aligned with our ‘always on’ audience. In addition, we work with IP owners to make sure we are a key partner as soon as their content arrives on screens. We spend a lot of time talking to our fans and indeed many of our employees are super pop culture fans, this drives a consistent view on what we believe is cool and available to monetise.
Which marketing measures does your company rely on to keep up the hype about Funko?
A. O.: We are heavily present on social media through multiple platforms and we use this not only to accelerate interest in Funko, but also individual items. Social media also gives us the opportunity to react instantly to one of our lines. In addition, we attend many fan events around the world, probably over 100 per year, where we bring the message directly to our consumer prospects and existing fans. Recently we have adapted to the environment that COVID has brought upon us, by creating virtual events online likened to special Comic Cons.
Funko not only has licences from the entertainment sector, but also sets great store on entertainment itself, with videos and podcasts to bring the products closer to the customers. What added value do these content formats actually have for the company?
A. O.: Animation in all forms generates added value as people browse our universe. They can do this online, and instore where it is possible to see our stylised products come to life in a way very few manufactures are able.
It’s not only children but also adults that play and collect action figures. What potential do you see in this target group?
A. O.: The average age of our customer is 34, and from this metric, one can understand the opportunity within the adult demographic is one of our strongest. Many of the licences and IP we exploit lean towards this age group and are typically gender neutral. Meaning we are appealing to the widest addressable audience possible for our form factors.
COVID-19 has presented the toy industry with some major challenges. What impact is the pandemic having on Funko and how are you dealing with it?
A. O.: We’ve seen a huge uplift in sales through our e-comm partners, and a material increase in retail sales year on year for those customers who have been able to trade during the pandemic, most notably hypermarket partners. Since non-essential stores began to reopen in June we have seen a material uplift in sales in many instances compared with the same weeks in 2019. This is encouraging as it speaks to pent up consumer demand that is being released to our key customers as the retail landscape reopens for business.
Thank you very much for the interview, Andy Oddie.