License Global speaks to Laura Freedman-Dagg ahead of Licensing for Retail Day in London.

License Global

March 1, 2024

4 Min Read
Laura Freedman-Dagg, Licensing for Retail, Global Licensing Group
Laura Freedman-Dagg, Licensing for RetailGlobal Licensing Group

I’m writing this exactly two years since moving into the head of retail role at Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group. The second edition of Licensing for Retail Day in London, which takes place Mar. 7, is rapidly approaching, so it feels like a good time for some reflection and a check-in on where we are with our retail-specific ambitions.

It won’t surprise anyone in the licensing industry that retail attendance and satisfaction are fundamental to both Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe’s success and, in turn, that of our customers. Retailers – along with major licensees – are our VIP audience. We saw some incredible results in 2023, with double-digit retail growth across both shows and significantly improved satisfaction scores. Retailers, though, are also the audience group that can be hardest to engage with. So, the work doesn’t stop, and we’re certainly not resting on our laurels.  

The world of retail is surrounded by uncertainty. Pretty much the only sure thing is that it will continue to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. The diverse group of retail businesses we work with are grappling with supply chain issues, unstable economies, shifting customer expectations, sustainability demands, workforce turnover, inflation and emerging competition from unexpected places, to name just a few. 

Related:What’s Happening in U.K. Retail?

The great news for us is that licensed consumer products continue to outperform their own-label equivalents, and enthusiasm for fandom shows no sign of abating, so licensing and our shows play a crucial role in helping retailers find that point of difference for their customers. It’s rare for a retailer to tell me they’re not interested in our shows. The barriers for them are more nuanced. They are time-poor and often so overwhelmed with their day-to-day activities that it’s hard to take a minute to consider what might be possible from a sophisticated, unique brand partnership. That’s not to say we’re not seeing some incredible examples of licensing out in the wild, and not just with entertainment IP (I’m trying my best not to mention Barbie here! My 2023 go-to example for new contacts curious about licensing). PacSun and The Met come to mind, as do Abercrombie & Fitch’s Formula 1 lines. In Europe, we’ve seen HMV reemerge onto the high street in a big way, and Primark, a store on everybody’s licensing watch list, is expanding internationally apace. It’s also exciting to see brands collaborate. The Care Bears x Hello Kitty collaboration coming to Hot Topic, Claire’s and Target this year is my recent favorite. There’s plenty to be positive about.

Related:Licensing for Retail Day 2024 Announces Updated Agenda

So, as we work to engage retailers pre-show, we’ve introduced several new initiatives to help them prepare ahead of facing hundreds of IP owners, each with their own compelling story to tell. We’ve worked in partnership with many of our exhibiting customers to identify which retailers should be at the shows. This work, and market research, build priority targets for the marketing team and me to attract. Once we are in a dialog with them, we offer much-increased concierge support than we’ve been able to before. I make personal introductions, help with scheduling, recommend brands of interest and even help them to sell in their trip to colleagues internally. Then, on-site at Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe, we host retailers in lounges where they can take a moment to assess everything they’ve seen, host meetings and get info on the show.

On a local level, we work closely with Licensing International and have launched Licensing for Retail Day in London and France Licensing Day & Awards in Paris. The London event complements the Retail Mentoring Programme, which already thrives in the U.K., thanks to the proclivity to meet in person. France Licensing Day is a domestic event created in direct response to feedback from that market. Both of these events work as engagement pieces and audience drivers for Brand Licensing Europe.

As I said earlier, the work never stops. If you have an idea about retail engagement that will drive value for Licensing Expo or Brand Licensing Europe, please do reach out at [email protected].

Read more retail news and trends from License Global.

The article was taken from March's issue of License Global. Read the issue in full here.

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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