Macy's, Microsoft, Funko, Xbox Confirmed to Speak at Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit North America

Companies confirmed to address the future of licensing and retail at Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit North America.

License Global

August 4, 2021

4 Min Read

Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit North America (B&LIS), a two-day conference bringing together more than 200 delegates to deliver thought-providing content and networking opportunities, has revealed the first wave of speakers confirmed for the in-person Summit set for October 27-28 at Convene New York. Following the conference series' inaugural launch in Europe this past June, B&LIS North America is reconnecting U.S.-based industry leaders and decision-makers face-to-face to propel the industry forward and address critical topics on the future of licensing and retail. Register here for the event.

Bay Laurel Advisors, Funko, Macy's, Microsoft, and Xbox are among the more than 40 companies represented at the conference confirmed to take the stage and impart sought-after insights on leveraging brands to transcend a category with licensing.

The executive-level conference comprises four themes – Market Trends, Retail Disruption, Digital Transformation and Product Sustainability – broken down into two days of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, breakout sessions and networking opportunities designed to drill down into long-lasting and emergent themes that play an active role in driving consumer purchasing decisions.

"We are thrilled to launch B&LIS in the North American market in partnership with Licensing International, serving as the region's meeting place for thought leaders to connect, collaborate and influence the future of brand licensing and consumer product innovation," says Anna Knight, vice president, licensing, Informa Markets. “The industry is in the midst of a transformative era as consumers emerge from lockdown and carry with them behaviors formed during the pandemic, such as a strengthened familiarity with digital retail experiences and emerging interests such as self-expression and sustainability. These themes carry immense opportunity for retailers and licensors alike, thus underpin the educational and forward-looking conference. What’s more, B&LIS will serve as a reunion for the industry as the first in-person event for the North American licensing community in almost two years. Mark this event on your calendar as a must-attend to garner much-needed insight and to reconnect and network with the industry’s leading decision makers.”

Among the notable speaker lineup includes John Friend, head, Halo and Xbox Consumer Products, Microsoft, who is confirmed to speak on a panel entitled “Level Up: How eSports & Gaming are Dominating Entertainment Licensing.”

“Gaming is the biggest entertainment market in the world today, both in number of consumers and revenue generated. The potential to extend your brand reach and influence this growing segment of consumers is here,” says Friend. “I look forward to sharing examples and learnings from past licensing campaigns, including the recent Xbox Series X|S console launch and upcoming release of Halo Infinite, as well as helping attendees understand how to navigate this expansive and rich part of the entertainment sector.”     

Featured sessions confirmed to date include:

Day 1 – October 27 | Trends, Retail & Sustainability

  • A Live Look into Sector and Brand Landscape Trends

  • Digital Disruption in Retail: The Balancing Act Between Bricks and Mortar versus eCommerce

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

  • Sustainable Development Goals in Licensing

  • Sustainability in Toy Games

  • Diversity & Inclusion: Best Practices from the Experts

Day 2 – October 28 | Content & Digital Transformation

  • The Power of the Past: Why Brand Management Companies are Snapping Up Heritage Brands

  • Odd Couple: Macy's x Funko

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

  • Level Up: How eSports & Gaming are Dominating Entertainment Licensing

  • It is Now a Data Game Rather Than Just About Selling Product  

Speakers confirmed to date include:

  • George Wade, founder and president, Bay Laurel Advisors – Session: Location-Based Events and Experiences: Are They Back to Help Bolster Retail Sales?

  • John Friend, head, Halo and Xbox Consumer Products, Microsoft – Session: Level Up: How eSports & Gaming are Dominating Entertainment Licensing

  • Dave Beré, senior marketing director, Funko and Macy’s Executive to be Announced – Session: Odd Couple: Macy’s x Funko

"Held in New York, a city synonymous with the world's biggest brands that light up Times Square and pioneer the intersection of retail and licensing, B&LIS is designed to serve as a beacon for those navigating the fast-growing intersection of retail and licensing," says Knight. "We could not be happier with the caliber of speakers confirmed to date that will deliver practical, actionable insights for attendees to then turn into practice." 

Buy your pass now for the North American Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit at

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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