On the occasion of the Festival of Licensing, the LM team interviewed Anna Knight
Which is the concept behind FOL?
Festival of Licensing is a month-long virtual gathering in celebration of the global licensing community. When we organised Licensing Week Virtual in June, we quickly realised that it’s not possible to host a global event on one time zone, yet our brands have global coverage and resonance so we wanted to organise an event that would serve all of our markets with amazing content and networking opportunities.
Week one of Festival of Licensing is powered by Brand Licensing Europe and is on the same dates that BLE would have taken place in London. Week two focuses on Asia and week 3 on the Americas.
The main focus of each event is on those licensing markets. So, for example, BLE is about doing deals within the European Licensing industry. Although we have a global audience for BLE, it’s still all about European licensing taking place on the UK time zone. They’re very market specific.
The final event during Festival of Licensing is our global Licensing Leadership Summit. This is a paid-for conference, for those who want to learn more about strategic business issues – it’s less about deal-making and designed specifically for the C-suite licensing executives.
My advice is for people to attend the event or events that are relevant to them – there’s absolutely no pressure to attend for the whole month. Each regional event is live for two to three days and has been designed to give visitors in that region all of the meetings, networking, education and after hours fun they need. Pick and choose what’s best for you!
How is the industry reacting to your initiative?
The feedback from the industry has been amazing. People have spoken really positively about it and everyone is being very supportive. We are about to hit 100 exhibitors for week one – BLE – and we are expecting the majority of exhibitors you usually see at BLE to be at Festival of Licensing.
Which are your expectations in terms of fellowship for this unique event?
It’s impossible to say how many people we can expect to join us at Festival because it’s a first. Licensing Week Virtual attracted 4,477 attendees including lots of new faces, which was phenomenal. We’re also seeing registrations come in from very high quality retailers, manufacturers and brands of the level you would expect to meet at BLE in London (e.g. Asda, Calzedonia, Zara, Tesco, Ravensburger and Forbidden Planet) and the fact that Festival is free to attend, doesn’t require travel time and enjoys the flexibility of being virtual means that it’s also easier than ever before for new audiences to join.
Have you planned some special initiatives during FOL?
Yes, we have, but let me start by reassuring your readers that they can expect to find everything that they are used to seeing at BLE, where the focus will be on doing European licensing deals and we’re facilitating networking in as many ways as we possibly can. There will be daily live keynotes, live exhibitor showcases and live ‘after hours’ performances, which we’re hoping will really wow people.
There will also be tons of content to view on demand, a Community and Wellbeing offering that will include careers advice and business mentoring. And, for retailers, there will be exclusive content, too, including presentations and ‘ask the expert’ sessions.
And we are launching License to Move, which is a global charity fundraiser designed to raise funds for three really special charities: The Light Fund, Magic Wheelchair and Licensing International Small Business Global Grants Fund. We really do want to the whole industry to get behind this, and to encourage colleagues, friends and families to join in and donate. The fundraising page will be announced very soon.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes! And that’s to tell your readers to plan for Festival just like they’d plan for BLE.
Our website, which is www.festivaloflicensing.com, is the first gateway. So, go on the website, view the events being held and what content there will be at each event, and then decide which events you want to attend. That’s step one.
Step two will be registering. You’ll get access to the platform for first three events in mid- September. The sooner you register, the sooner you’ll get access.
Once you’ve registered, you can then login and really build out your profile. This is important both if you are an attendee or an exhibitor. The more information that you give the platform, the more it will give you back – in terms of recommendations, or meeting suggestions.
The last thing that I would advise doing is pre-schedule those meetings. Research who is attending, reach out and book your diary up. Also look at the live content and add the bits that interest you to your diary first. Everything else can be watched on-demand.