Licensing Expo 2023 Highlights and Trends: Corporate Brands Take the Global Spotlight
The Licensing Expo, held in Las Vegas last month, unveiled a world of opportunities in the global licensing industry. While expected that the licensing industry’s largest expo would garner widespread global interest, this year’s show proved to be a highly fertile place for deal making, relationship-building, and deepening industry connections. Here are some of LMCA’s highlights and observations from the show!
Connection is Key
With License Global recording nearly 12,000 attendees, an increase of 13% over last year,
there is no doubt that the demand for face-to-face collaboration is returning to pre-covid levels. LMCA had a record number of meetings scheduled prior to Expo, ranging from examining brand partnership opportunities with our clients to discussing our agency’s global capabilities, and robust traffic during the 3 days of the show with over 300 attendees stopping by for meetings with team members about brand opportunities.
This face-to-face setting allowed our team to further negotiations with partners, answer any questions about our brand clients all under one roof. Meetings were focused, the show energy was positive and the enthusiasm for the potential of brand licensing was palpable!
The Power of Brands
From fashion to automotive to consumer electronics brands, the authority of brand influence was on full display at this year’s Expo. With a shrinking retail landscape and competition for shelf space growing, now more than ever we are seeing the power that brands hold in influencing purchase decisions and delivering products that consumers prefer and trust. In a climate where consumers can be overwhelmed with options, having a brand name with a steady track record of quality and consumer commitment can be that unique competitive advantage in the market and that was reinforced by the level of interest we had for our brands across categories, industries, and markets at the show. It is no surprise that in every corner of Expo we saw similar interest from companies looking to leverage the power of brands to build their businesses.
The Eco-Conscious Era
The growing importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness in the licensing industry was also prominent at this year’s Expo. It is evident that sustainability requirements are not solely driven by brands but are also strongly influenced by the discerning demands of consumers. Licensing agencies, licensors, and licensees are keen to demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices in enhancing the value and authenticity of licensed products.
The licensing industry is increasingly recognizing the significance of addressing environmental, social, and ethical considerations, which highlights the need for comprehensive standards, certifications, monitoring, and even responsible sourcing practices for potential partners. By aligning their brand’s values with those of the conscious consumer, brand owners are demonstrating their dedication to creating a more sustainable future not only for the industry, but also for the world.
The Expo also unveiled opportunities to leverage emerging technologies, including virtual reality (VR), to engage and enhance consumer experiences and brand interactions. One of the key applications of VR is its ability to create immersive shopping environments where consumers can virtually explore and engage with products. For example, retail brands are leveraging VR technology to offer virtual showrooms, allowing customers to browse and visualize products in a simulated space and engage with brands in new ways. By putting on a VR headset, consumers can walk through virtual aisles, examine merchandise up close, and even try out brand products virtually, enhancing their shopping experience to make more informed purchase decisions.
From entertainment brands, that are leveraging VR to offer virtual concerts, film screenings, and immersive storytelling experiences, to the educational realm, where VR is being utilized to create educational simulations and virtual field trips, the potential for brand licensing collaborations across sectors is tremendous. We expect a growing number of brands and their partners to utilize these technologies to showcase their products, increase touchpoints with consumers, and create new brand experiences.
The world is smaller, but brand needs are bigger.
Globalization, social media, and the growth of e-commerce means brands can now reach consumers all over the world with just a few clicks of a button. This accessibility means untapped opportunities for companies to leverage the recognition and local appeal for American brands in international markets.
While North America continues to be a global licensing powerhouse, setting benchmarks for licensing strategies, brand collaborations, and product innovations, we witnessed a much larger percentage of international participants at this year’s show, including strong interest from countries like China, Poland, Turkey, and Argentina, highlighting the growing global appeal for exploring licensing as a profitable business model. Our MD, Latin America, Ximena Duque, had numerous meetings with prospects wanting to take one of our American brand clients into an untapped market in LATAM, where new avenues for growth and engagement could be built out because of the global recognition and regional appeal for an American brand.
With the growing global reach of brands also comes the need for brands to have comprehensive solutions for their brand licensing initiatives. From understanding local consumer behavior and market dynamics to the synergies necessary to develop and manage a global program successfully, we are seeing more and more companies looking for licensing agencies that can help support, manage, and protect their brand globally in a strategic and integrated way.
The Bottom Line
As the licensing industry moves forward, this year’s Licensing Expo emphasized the power and strategic importance of brands in driving revenue and attracting and influencing consumer purchase. More and more established brands are recognizing the need to view licensing through a global lens and the importance of understanding local markets and consumer behavior. Additionally, by harnessing emerging technologies, embracing sustainability, and forging strategic collaborations, businesses and brands are poised to unlock new horizons and shape the future of the global licensing industry.
Overall, it is an exciting time to be in the licensing industry. We can’t wait to see how the trends and learning from this year’s Licensing Expo influence and impact the consumer product landscape for brands in 2024 and beyond!
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