Licensing Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Maura Regan, President of Licensing International.
On the occasion of the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, Licensing Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Maura Regan, President of Licensing International, and learn more about how this important association, which provides important services to the licensing industry, is structured, as well as getting the point of view of a senior industry expert like Maura on the main current industry issues.
Licensing International will have a major presence at the Licensing Expo with a dedicated area for its members. In addition, the US event will be also the opportunity for the association to celebrate the much-anticipated Licensing Excellence Awards. The ceremony will be held on 12 June.
Can you tell us what is Licensing International in a few words? Where are you based and some figures about the association.
The licensing industry is all about creating connections between brands and consumers. Licensing International’s mission is to support licensing practitioners around the world in every aspect of that work, and to help those outside of our industry understand the incredible power of intellectual properties.
Licensing International’s more than 1,500 member companies hail from over 40 countries. Members include executives from all sides of the business, including brand owners, manufacturers, retailers, agents, lawyers, approval software companies, and accounting firms.
While Licensing International is based in New York City, it is a truly global organization. Team members live and work in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Additionally, representatives are located in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Nordics to connect directly with members all around the world.
What do you offer to international companies interested in becoming your members?
In addition to providing exclusive research and in-depth analysis of the trends, opportunities, and obstacles facing the global brand licensing industry, Licensing International also organizes local events in partnership with its representatives and member companies to create opportunities for licensing practitioners to network and gain insights.
In your opinion, what is the state of health of the US Licensing industry today? How are retail and licensees changing their approach through brands and IPs? Are they more demanding?
Developing, and strengthening, this relationship is more important than ever. Consumer habits have shifted significantly, which means the licensing industry is adjusting in response. And while there is concern about declines in consumer spending and inflation, it’s clear that brand loyalty is a major differentiator. Consumers are willing to spend on the brands they love, especially when their purchase reaffirms the connection they feel for that property.
As a result, categories like location-based entertainment, sports, and music (with a specific focus on concerts and related consumer products) are showing significant strength despite shrinking discretionary spending.
And across the U.S., sales of licensed merchandise and services continued to grow throughout 2022. The industry displayed so much innovation in the past year, managing to maintain consumer interest despite the fact that lockdowns have ended and families are spending much more time outside of the home and away from the screens they use to shop online.
This creates a significant opportunity for retailers to continue to grow brick-and-mortar experiences that bring brands to life and increase engagement. Because online shopping is so convenient, consumers now have a different set of expectations for their in-person shopping experiences. In fact, a number of the expectations developed by consumers in recent years are expected to carry on throughout 2023 and into 2024. Sustainability, for example, continues to be a priority—especially for Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
Which are your expectations about the upcoming Licensing Expo?
The entire Licensing International team looks forward to examining these trends and many others at the 2023 Licensing Expo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Taking place from June 13 – 15, this event is an opportunity for licensing professionals from around the world to gather together to share insights and best practices, network, form partnerships, and launch upcoming consumer product offerings. This year’s Expo is focused on fashion, and will showcase the incredible innovation taking place in that category.
Which are the international key events where you are actively present?
Other key upcoming events include Future Megatrends (July), Brand Licensing Europe (October), and Sports Licensing Summit (January). We hope to see you there!