Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit North America Reveals Conference Headliners

Early Bird Discount for the two-day event in October has been extended to Wednesday, Sept. 15.

License Global

September 9, 2021

7 Min Read
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Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit North America (B&LIS) today revealed the event’s world-class lineup of keynote speakers set to open each day of the Summit. On Day 1, hear from Jason Badal, Head of Multinationals at Shopify, as he discusses trends in retail and, more specifically, the ecommerce space, and on Day 2, former Mondelez executive Bonin Bough, current Chief Growth Officer at Triller, will share insights on how he has helped brands reach a new level of growth and success. Bough represents world-renowned clients including Angry Orchard, Cîroc, Dr. Pepper, Essence, Grub Hub, HBO Max, L’Oreal – NYX, LiteBoxer, Maybelline, McDonald's, Popeyes, Safe Bitcoin, Space Jam Cast Party, Two Faced, Urban Decay, and Verizon.



Kicking off the first day of the Summit is Badal with his presentation, “Trend Talk: Ecommerce and the Future of Brands at Retail.” Opening the second day of B&LIS, Bough will speak to the power and growth strategies for brands in his conversation, “Bringing Brands to Life in Innovative Ways.” Beyond the keynotes, B&LIS speakers are set to tackle the changes in licensed consumer products, from shifts at retail to the digital transformation of content, the proliferation of brand management companies, the importance and feasibility driving sustainability and diversity initiatives and much more.


Following the immensely successful wrap of Licensing Expo Virtual, which connected the global licensing community on a digital platform that saw more than 6,000 meetings over three days, B&LIS will reunite the licensing community's US-based industry leaders and decision-makers in person for the first time in nearly two years.


The two-day conference, slated for October 27-28 in New York City at Convene New York, is strategically designed to facilitate thought-provoking conversation and debate, one-on-one networking opportunities and spotlight upcoming trends.


The informative and trend-forward sessions, fireside chats and workshops are broken down into three themes: Trends, Retail and Sustainability; Content and Digital Transformation; and Entertainment Trends. Confirmed to address an assortment of topical subjects include speakers from Authentic Brands Group, Funko, Global Brand Advisors, IT'SUGAR, JRA, Macy's, Microsoft, McBride Company, NPD, Products of Change, RECUR and WHP Global.


The latest speaker addition to the Macy's x Funko session titled "Odd Couple" is Jordan Dabby, vice president, partnership marketing, Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group. Macy's Branded Entertainment. Jordan manages the brand partnerships and promotional efforts that bring to life the world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. He leads a strategic team responsible for identifying, securing and managing new brand partnerships from conception through execution—details on the session can be found below.


"B&LIS is such a unique and exciting Summit, as it provides the opportunity to gather with the visionaries that are leading change, driving the most creative partnerships, and fueling the introduction of new trends," said Anna Knight, Vice President of Licensing for the Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets, organizers of the event. "This year's keynote and full conference lineup, produced in partnership with Licensing International, is gearing up to be our best yet. We are thrilled to share that

attendees will have the chance to learn from the creative team behind the iconic Friends Pop-up, the visionary behind the world’s most sought-after IPs, the brand that is restoring instore footfall and so many more."


Knight continued: "Additionally, we understand the importance of reconnecting face-to-face in order to exchange trends on the latest opportunities and challenges. Thus, we have implemented compulsory proof-of-vaccination, limited the number of attendees, and have heightened health and safety measures enacted onsite, ensuring attendees can join in person with confidence. We look forward to safely gathering the North American licensing and retail community in October."


Full details on the keynote addresses:

Trend Talk: Ecommerce and the Future of Brands at Retail

Jason Badal, Head of Multinationals, Shopify

Drawing from his experience at Shopify, where he is tasked with transforming and bringing mass adoption of ecommerce to the largest and most complex companies in the world, Badal will discuss the importance of ecommerce within the future of retail and share insights into the latest industry trends.


Bringing Brands to Life in Innovative Ways

Bonin Bough, Chief Growth Officer, Triller

In this high energy keynote, Bonin Bough will share insights and stories on how he has helped brands reach a new level of growth and success. Bough will dive deep into areas such as branding, retail, licensing, merchandising, and e-commerce, drawing from his experience as one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in the world. As one of the youngest-c-suite executives at a Fortune 50 company, he has worked for billion-dollar CPG brands including Mondelez and PepsiCo before starting Bonin Ventures – a growth accelerator.


New speaker sessions confirmed to date include:

Odd Couple: Macy's x Funko

Speakers: Jordan Dabby, Senior Director of Partnership Marketing and Advertising, Macy’s; and Dave Beré, Senior Marketing Director, Funko

Currently maintaining the largest portfolio of licenses of any other company in the world, Funko serves as a leader in the consumer products landscape, generating traction amongst pop culture-centric audiences from every generation. And this year, Funko is taking center stage with a Funko Pop!-inspired Grogu balloon that will fly over New York City at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thrilled with this new and exciting partnership with Macy’s, Funko is always exploring fresh opportunities to reach pop culture fans.


Pushing the retail landscape and shifting the competition, representatives from both Macy’s and Funko will discuss their newfound partnership, highly curated retail collection, and how they are joining forces to appeal creatively to younger consumers.


Digital Disruption in Retail: The Balancing Act Between Bricks and Mortar vs Ecommerce

Speakers: Natasha Fishman, Chief Communications Officer and Executive Vice President, Marketing, Authentic Brands Group (ABG)

Hear what is happening to the retail business model, including:

· How retailers are diversifying their streams of distribution

· The impact of the direct-to-consumer channel

· How business strategies have been shifted during the pandemic


The Power of the Brands We Love: Why Brand Management Companies are Snapping Up Legacy Brands

Speakers: Stanley Silverstein, Chief Commercial Officer, WHP Global

In this session, learn from WHP Global’s Chief Commercial Officer Stanley Silverstein as he discusses the breadth and scope of brand management companies and the increasing drive to acquire powerful heritage brands for growth.


Retail and Brand Partnerships: Driving Online Traffic and Restoring Instore Footfall

Speaker: Ashley Mady, Vice President, Brand Development, IT'SUGAR

Hear how brands are creating an in-store experience that reinvigorates the appeal to current and future consumers, including:

· Bringing the in-store experience to life and reinvigorates the appeal to customers

· Developing collaborative partnerships with manufacturers and licensees

· Connecting online and in-store


NFTs for IP: Gamification and Ecommerce Converge

Speaker: Trevor George, Co-founder and Co-CEO, RECUR

Metaverse advertising and commerce will collide with gamification in the emerging open metaverse. In this session, Trevor George, Co-CEO of RECUR, will discuss the following:

· What the early days of e-commerce and gaming can teach us about the evolution of NFT and metaverse asset class demand creation and selling

· How Licensed IP can use historical and emerging learnings from these spaces to create long- term NFT strategy


Sustainability in Toy Games

Speaker: Helena Mansell-Stopher, Founder, Products of Change

Learn how the toy industry is doing its part in reducing waste, including:

· Using biodegradable plastic for toys and using recyclable packaging

· Analyzing the data behind one of the highest volumes of waste


Location-Based Events and Experiences: Are They Back to Help Bolster Retail Sales?

Speakers: George Wade, Founder and President, Bay Laurel Advisors; Patrick McBride, CEO, McBride Company; and Shawn McCoy, Vice President, JRA

The desire to have firsthand experience motivates consumers to show up, engage and share. Learn how location-based events can help retail sales in their comeback, including:

· Designing your experiences to match your business objectives

· Creating a valuable and unforgettable experience that consumers want to share


Setting the Scene: SVOD Consumer Engagement

Speaker: Sheryl Harkins, Director of Business Development, US Media Entertainment, NPD

As consumers return to experiential entertainment activities, retaining your audience will be increasingly challenging – the hyper-growth streaming era is transitioning into a competition for a share of viewers' time. During this presentation, you'll learn about the reasons consumers' habits are changing so you can understand which TV services viewers are switching to, why, and how switching behavior differs among your consumers.

About the Author(s)

License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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