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Reaching New Audiences with Brand Central

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Anna Knight, vice president, licensing, Informa Markets, sits down with Ross Misher, chief executive officer, Brand Central, to discuss all things Licensing Expo.

While the COVID-19 pandemic placed tremendous strains on brands as they navigated changing consumer habits, many took this transformative time to establish better relationships with fans through innovative product extensions and merchandise partnerships.

Consumer product goods (CPG) trailblazers such as Tapatio and Takis led by renowned licensing agency Brand Central, differentiated themselves and successfully executed some of the most genius licensing campaigns to date, thus cementing and expanding brand loyalty by reaching their fans in a new ‘aisle.’ Excitingly, the masterminds at Brand Central will be exhibiting at Licensing Expo Virtual for the 20th consecutive year, as a part of the event’s fully digital experience slated for Aug. 24-26.

With Licensing Expo Virtual swiftly approaching, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ross Misher, chief executive officer, Brand Central, where we discussed what attendees can look forward to learning about at their booth. Ross also shared sought-after insights into licensing trends impacting the CPG space.

Anna Knight: Are there any exciting product announcements that attendees can look forward to learning about at Licensing Expo Virtual? 

Ross Misher: We have announced some exciting new products at the event, from Puma x Kool-Aid to Sonic Hard Seltzer to several new clients that have joined our client portfolio, such as Takis. We have a new major CPG company coming on board which we will be announcing closer to the show.

Can you speak to the trends you expect to see at the event in the CPG space?  

There are so many exciting trends happening in the CPG space. As a licensing agency, we have specialized in building programs for CPG companies and our trend intelligence service, Brand Central Insights has been invaluable in keeping our team, clients and partners ahead of the trends.

Influencer and QSR/food collaborations are taking the food and beverage space by storm right now and are continuing to trend in this space. We are tracking all of the new partnerships that are popping up like Mcdonald’s x FaZe Clan, Travis Scott x Reese’s Puffs, Wendy’s x Rick and Morty and others. CPG brands partner with influencers to build affinity with Gen Z, such as Takis and Charli D’Amelio. Loungewear and streetwear collabs are still going strong, too — both Pizza Hut and Papa John’s just launched streetwear capsule collections. Brand mashups are not stopping since every new collab needs to be more buzzworthy than the last to break through the clutter. A few great recent examples include: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ice cream, Kraft Mac and Cheese x Van Leeuwen and Lay’s Funyun and Cool Ranch Dorito flavored chips. This year, we are seeing a return to heritage brands. Consumers are still really loving these comfort brands right now with the ongoing pandemic. These iconic favorites remind consumers of simpler times. Ghost kitchens will also be a big trend into next year as home delivery becomes a more permanent way of meal consumption. These are just a few examples, but we continue to monitor all the exciting changes happening in the CPG space. 

Why are you excited about being part of the event this year, and what do you hope to achieve?

This year, Brand Central is celebrating our 20th Anniversary and our 20th Licensing Expo! With a slate of new clients and a strong current portfolio, we are looking forward to connecting with retailers, licensees, international partners to create collaborations and partnerships. In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, Brand Central is running a special Licensing Expo promotion for our trend intelligence service, Brand Central Insights, so this is the perfect time for licensees, licensors and retailers to join the service. 

To schedule a meeting with Brand Central, register for the free-to-attend Licensing Expo Virtual here.   

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