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Desk Details: Alexandre Volpi, CEO and Co-Founder of Vertical Licensing image

Desk Details: Alexandre Volpi, CEO and Co-Founder of Vertical Licensing

The global licensing community is guided by an incredible group of senior executives whose diverse backgrounds and creative energy drive innovation and excellence. Each month, we’re profiling one of these professionals in this ongoing series.

How do you start your day?
By grabbing a cup of coffee and taking my 14-year-old daughter to school. We’ve been doing this since she was two. At the time, my eldest son also joined us. Now, he is at college and doesn’t need my ride anymore. On the way, we talk about planning the day, life issues, the latest news, music, politics, etc. I drop her off at school and, before I get to the office, I stop at the bakery to have my breakfast. And then I start my working day.

What’s one item you always need on your desk?
My notebook and rollerball pen are always on my desk. I have my meetings scheduled digitally, but I like to take notes on everything. Writing with a pen gives me more control over the tasks I have on a daily basis. I always check my notebook to see if I’m accomplishing my to-do list for the day. 

What unique skill or characteristic do you bring to your team?
Customer relations. It’s more than service—respect and devotion to our clients is the essence of any business. This drives us to create lasting bonds with people.

What is your favorite aspect of your current role?
My favorite aspect of my role is having the privilege of being part of this tireless global movement that brings people and brands together through emotional connection. It’s an honor to represent brands that are recognized and loved in Brazil and Latin America. To analyze the brand and its possibilities, we try to look at each of them through the eyes of a fan. What kind of experiences, collaborations, products, or services fit into each intellectual property universe? What are the priorities? How can we promote entertainment, fun, and engagement? That’s what motivates me.

What is one thing you would change about the licensing industry?
I don’t think there’s anything I’d like to change. I work in an area where we can change everything, as long as we’re on the side of common sense. Increasingly, we are earning the trust of our IP owners when we recommend some strategic partnerships that, although they don’t meet the minimum criteria for advances and guarantees, are beneficial to the ultimate purpose of the brand extension. This is something that would have been impossible to accept a while ago. Some IP owners wouldn’t even listen to proposals that didn’t meet the absolute minimum numbers for the deal. And we still see this happening to some extent today. The world is changing, and the baton of our industry is no longer in the hands of one conductor. We are in the era of partnerships. They must be analyzed with different rules than those used in the past. The only ruler that hasn’t changed is the one that measures the relevance of the business and the contribution to the brands, which ultimately seek to tell stories and thus remain captive in the minds and hearts of their fans. 

If you had an extra hour in your workday, how would you use it?
I really don’t know. Our working hours and our leisure hours are so mixed up that maybe it doesn’t make sense to think like that anymore. I try to organize my time better, trying to devote myself to my work, my family, my friends, and myself in a balanced way. Sometimes I wish I had fewer hours in my working day to have more time to go out with my family, meet up with friends, and play tennis.

Are you a carry-on or checked bag traveler?
I am definitely a checked bag traveler. I am Brazilian and I am always on long trips. Even when I travel for business, I take the opportunity to see the sights, walk around, and go shopping, which adds to the weight of my luggage.

What do you always have in your suitcase on a work trip?
I always take my books, but I hardly ever have time to read them, to be honest. The important thing is that they are there, if necessary.

If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing?
I have no idea because I’ve never planned anything in my life. I started my professional career as a musician, then a journalist, and today I’m in licensing because one day I accepted an invitation from a great friend called José da Rocha Neto, who was commercial director at ITC. He opened the doors to this world for me and here I am. If I wasn’t in licensing, I’d be doing whatever life invited me to do.

What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
The challenges aren’t as big as they seem. Don’t worry. Trust in yourself, do what’s right and true, follow your instincts, and move forward. Knowing that would make my life easier.

What are you most excited about moving forward?
I am excited about the continuity of our journey and the new opportunities that have opened up for Vertical Licensing. After seven years of existence, our agency has already established itself as one of the most relevant in Brazil and we are strengthening our presence in Latin America. We have important brands in our select portfolio and a team committed to doing more—achieving more, growing more, delivering more, and going further. Since 2016, I’ve been doing this alongside my partner and wife Claudia and the great friends who walk with us. It’s been an enjoyable journey.

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