It's been almost a month since the Licensing Expo 2017 ended. For us, this has been a period full follow-ups, catch-ups, and meetings with new partners and clients. As our team takes the first breath since Vegas, we're ruminating on what we learned during the licensing week this year and how it has influenced our vision. Inspired, we decided to put our thoughts on the key Licensing17's milestones in writing. In this article, we're looking back at how the Licensing Expo presented itself, what lies ahead for the brand licensing industry, and how this has affected our team.
It was the second time that we attended the Licensing Expo. This year, again, we were astonished by what a dynamic, insightful, and excellently organized event it turned out to be. It’s no secret that one of its biggest advantages was, undoubtedly, the matchmaking option that helps businesses to connect with each other and discuss partnership opportunities. Our team was certainly not the only one to appreciate it: this year, the Expo hosted 3,800 one-on-one meetings, which is almost 32% more compared to 2016.
Licensing week is the busiest period in the brand licensing world. Everyone is occupied with pre-scheduled appointments, thus wandering around isn’t the most effective approach. While in the past we went with short notices, this year our team took strategic scheduling seriously. Therefore, we've had the honor to meet with the brands that we always admired.
Furthermore, half of the magic during the Licensing week happened outside the meetings on the expo’s premises. As the exhibition itself was full of formal “buzz,” the after-hours events and parties served as a great possibility for licensing professionals to network and casually chat with partners and clients. Needless to say, it was also another way to land new business opportunities in a casual environment.
As the licensing industry is extremely dynamic, there's only so much that its players can learn overnight. Yet, if there’s one period when the largest number of industry’s milestones occur, it’s certainly the Licensing week. This year’s Expo covered completely new trends, some of which had previously seemed unimaginable even to the industry's old stagers. Those are:
- Female superhero characters, such as Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman and Disney’s Elena of Avalor, are leading the entertainment game.
- Asian players are growing stronger, with the number of Japanese and Korean players among the Expo’s attendees increasing by 23% and 87% respectively.
- The retail grounds are changing, too: India has now officially overtaken China in retail potential.
- Modern technologies, including VR and AR, will continue to gain traction in the brand licensing universe; brands like Playstation are already leading in the race.
- Dead celebrities, or “delebrities,” prove their significance in the industry: their combined share in licensing amounts for $3 bn.
The industry’s overall growth prospect is continuing to improve. New players are dashingly breaking into the industry - alike in the case of Asian countries. Meanwhile, the old-timers such as China are increasing their market shares and attracting new partners. Legacy businesses that ignore the industry advancements, on the contrary, are losing their positions. New property types are coming to the fore, which is also the case with product categories. Most importantly, as the Licensing Expo has shown, the best for the brand licensing industry is yet ahead.
Always a thrilling event, Licensing Expo 2017 has been a unique experience for us. Taken our excitement about heading to Las Vagas a month ago, the reality has much exceeded our expectations.
Having once again observed the industry's evergreen dynamics, we realized how vital it is for its players to remain flexible and apt to the changes.
Thanks to networking at the Expo, we understood that to create magic, one needs to go far beyond the scopes of being the most progressive brand licensing solution. Our team has become eager to know more than just the technical challenges that brands encounter in the licensing workflows. In the long run, it’s also our biggest interest to find what are their other operational challenges, long-term missions, and inspiration sources.
Thereby, we're proud to call ourselves a B4B business that offers a solution, not a service.
Today, we're looking forward to this year's next big event, the Brand Licensing Expo 2017. There are no doubts this exhibition will broaden the industry's horizons and introduce new hot trends coming to the market.
But if you want to learn about the industry's most intuitive CRM already now, we are glad to get in touch!