People Profile: Chris Erb, Founder of Tripleclix
The global licensing community is powered by an incredible group of professionals whose diverse backgrounds and creative energy drive innovation and excellence. Each week we’re profiling one of these professionals in this ongoing series.
How did you get into licensing (or how did licensing find you)?
My first experiences with licensing were during my time at EA Sports and Legendary Entertainment, where I got to manage the outbound side of it. Then, when I started Tripleclix, licensing became a core capability of ours along with marketing promotions. Ten years later, our licensing deals have evolved naturally with our marketing capabilities, allowing us continuity on some pretty cool campaigns with brands like OPI and Lovesac.
What’s a “typical” day in your current position?
Every day is different. From doing a photo shoot for Swarovski’s new Fortnite trophy to taste testing new beers for Voodoo Ranger, no two days are ever the same. But, on any given day, you can find me managing clients, reviewing and approving contracts, working with influencers, and even traveling cross-country for client meetings and industry conferences.
What’s your biggest personal or professional accomplishment?|
Starting an agency! Especially with no prior agency experience. Our team treats the business as a marathon, rather than a sprint, which allows us to set a high standard for quality and execution. I’m proud of that. And I’m thankful to get to work with amazing people and to have had the opportunity to build meaningful relationships. From my time at Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering, to EA Sports and Tripleclix’s current client roster, I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best in the industry.
What are the most significant trends or changes that you’ve seen in the business in recent years?
The most significant change in gaming has probably been the size, scale, and growth of the industry. 95% of the current generation are gamers. Gaming is the number one entertainment platform for consumers. Brands have started to recognize this opportunity, engaging with their consumers in more thoughtful ways than in the past. There’s far less logo-slapping, and way more engagement with the gaming audiences and consumers they hope to win over.
What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest challenge these days?
Honestly, nothing keeps me up at night. I’m able to keep a good perspective between the highs and the lows of the business—that is, the highs aren’t as high and the lows aren’t as low. As an agency, we try to stay grounded and look forward to the opportunities in front of us, rather than looking back on those that have passed. So, it’s less about losing sleep over our challenges and more so out of excitement about what’s coming next.
In your opinion, what is the top skill every licensing executive should have in order to succeed?
Every licensing executive should be passionate about the space they work in. In order to be successful in this industry, I think licensing executives need to have some sort of connection with and be empathetic to the gaming community. The best ones keep authenticity at the forefront of their work, understanding that the ability to meet consumers where they are and provide them with opportunities to interact with the games they love is what’s going to ultimately sell. Gaming execs should also think of the opportunity with licensing as less about the commoditization of games and more about the celebration of them. Licensing is a way to help celebrate a game’s fandom, and the best way to do that is through community building, knowledge of the space, and a passion for games.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, or what’s your favorite quote?
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was to ask myself, “Are we adding to the consumer experience or taking away from it?” This is the first question we think about before diving into a new deal or promotion. It’s vital to keep the integrity of the campaign and ensure that we’re being additive to the gaming community.
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (It doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you.)
My current favorites are our now back-to-back collaborations with OPI for their Spring 2022 and Summer 2023 Xbox-inspired collections. What most people don’t know is that 45% of gamers are women, but this audience is often underserved in the gaming space. With the recognition that women gamers are not few and far between, and that more male and non-binary consumers are entering the beauty space, this collaboration was designed to engage and inspire communities across the gaming and the beauty worlds, inviting everyone to play and express their creativity through nail art.
If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing now?
I’d probably have landed somewhere in the entertainment industry. Or, maybe managing a brand that I love. I could see myself at a place that drives culture, like Nike. And, if all of that didn’t work out, I’d be applying for jobs to find a way to do exactly what I’m doing now!
The last licensed product I bought was…
I chased down the Undefeated Starbucks collaboration that launched in Japan. Undefeated is my favorite streetwear brand, so I had to get the Starbucks apron and mug when it dropped. I also have stuff from the Undefeated collaboration with the Yankees. They’ve come out with some pretty cool licensing products that I had to do some searching for.