With the Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit approaching in June, License Global is chatting with speakers about the event, the licensing industry, life after lockdown and more.
We spoke with Scott Macrae, brands, license, new business and partnerships mission lead, George at Asda, to discuss Asda's gaming focus, its plans for 2021 and beyond, his upcoming talk at B&LIS and more.
License Global: There's a fantastic focus on gaming at Asda. What are the gaming trends you're leaning into as a retailer?
Scott Macrae: We see how gaming is about building communities, which is when we initially leaned in. It was about the tribes of formats and platforms, but extensions into that are around the game properties and the more agile mobile gaming market and gaming influencers. It's a fast-changing landscape that the platforms create a strong foundation that new conversations can build around. The most successful are the most inclusive conversations, where a family and friends can enjoy that gaming moment and gender and age views on gaming are no longer relevant. It's a social experience.
What are the key focus points for the Asda licensing team in 2021?
We are focused on our core first and foremost and then building into relevant conversations. We are reacting to how our customer is consuming media and popular culture differently. Trends we identified three to four years ago are now accelerating. Our long-standing relationships have deepened, and growth comes through with new ideas and layering in fashion-relevant execution.
What do you see for the future of retail and how people engage with licensed products?
Licensing, now more than ever, is a reflection of popular culture. There was a time that it was just for kids and a character was slapped on a pair of pajamas. We are also seeing that, as the creator economy heats up, DTC models are evolving rapidly. Some could see this as an issue. We see many industries start to build a DTC model. Interestingly, some who began that way are moving to a wholesale or license extension, and others who were 100 percent external sales are bringing more in-house. What is at the core is brand identity and control. The market and consumer demand both models – call it channels of choice – created by good adjacency, user experience, trust and location. It would help if you were agile with your approach and creative to remain relevant to a customer or a partner. Essentially, everything can be available everywhere. How you deliver the experience is critical, and how you understand your customer is the most important thing.
What topics will you address during B&LIS?
We will be evaluating trends that are growing and how we play a part in that change. For example, the DTC landscape that is forming: what is the place that traditional retailers play in the future landscape?
Why is B&LIS an important event for the licensing industry this year?
Following a year of transformation, change and challenge, I will be wanting to hear the strategies that brands and licenses are applying to maintain consumer relevance and how the storytelling, audience and content are changing. With the fundamental change we have seen in customers' likes and habits, we will be looking at how the landscape has evolved and what new relevant partners we want to explore. We will want to gain intel on brands that align our values and thoughts and amplify new customer conversations that we will be beginning this year as we transform our proposition.