This week we got the chance to attend Europe’s leading event dedicated to licensing and brand extension. Bringing together over 7,800 manufacturers and retailers with 260 leading brand owners and agents across numerous sectors like; entertainment, art, sports, gaming, corporate brands and more.
With an opportunity to witness so many top brands of differing industries at once, in live event scenarios was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Creating an atmosphere
With such esteemed brands making an appearance we were sure we’d see some elaborate stands. However, the level of thought that had gone into showcasing these brands exceeded our expectations.
Upon entering we were immediately greeted with a formula E racing car and the ninja turtles, so as you can imagine the inner 9-year-old in me felt right at home.
The integration of technology was a big part of the more well-known brands stands. With huge LED screens, neon-lights, arcade-machines and games consoles all being used as draws to increase stand footfall.
This level of sensory marketing was quite a spectacle to see and the volume of it going on in one space was quite overwhelming, in the best of ways.
With colossal brands like; Nintendo, Sony, Hasbro, UCLA and many more in attendance the floor space was under a war of sorts. Each stand competing to be more elaborate, more eye-catching and more enticing than their neighbour.
This meant that after turning a corner you could be met with a 10 ft tall ‘Shaun the Sheep’ then right behind you a Lamborghini Aventador with a pepper pig mascot running about next to it.
PlayStation’s stand also stood out with the signature buttons displayed in a huge neon set up. Drawing your eye into their stand which included seating areas for discussing sales opportunities and a comfortable couch with a PlayStation 4 available to play the latest God of War on.
Utilising size for accommodation
The size of some of these stands really opened the doors to attracting large numbers of attendees at once. Being able to comfortably accommodate large groups of potential clients and offering them things to do.
Meaning whilst your sales team might be dealing with other deals. The attendees waiting had things to do that kept them at that stand. Reducing attendee drop off by a great deal. And these brands were the ones increasing their ROI the most.
One of a kind message boards
Brands offering a level of interactivity seemed to be attracting a lot of footfall. With communal sketch boards allowing attendees to sign their name or right a wholesome message for everyone to see.
The angry birds stand had an interesting take on this with it being their 10th anniversary. They displayed a blank pig character from the game that was there to be signed and wish them a happy birthday which people seemed to be getting involved with.
A section aptly titled ‘The Arcade’ teleported you right back to the ’80s by mimicking the aesthetic of an old school arcade. Equipped with arcade machines featuring playable games on like original Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Pac Man.
Now obviously offering this level of interactivity saw great success. With Namco displaying their brand like this, it’s a great way to show your products roots and just why it is people have such an infatuation with their product.
A few brands, who had the characters associated with themselves to do so, had a number of mascots wandering the venue. Encouraging people to take photos and interact with a touchpoint of their brand. Mainly these consisted of characters form kids shows like; Pepper the Pig and the Teenage mutant ninja turtles ect.
This coupled with some ‘instagrammable’ backdrops gave attendees a lot of options for indirectly interacting and marketing a brand. Given the trend of social media marketing and user-generated content (UGC) being so effective. Its no wonder why brands would intentionally design aesthetic looking backdrops to encourage organic and authentic marketing opportunities for themselves.
Since this was an event focussed around the acquiring of licenses all stands were based on displaying the brand first and having a comfortable space to arrange sales with clients.
Due to the unique nature of this event, it was all about “the brand” on stands. Retailers and manufacturers are buying the brand power on show here, so hard selling and winning customers in from the event floor took a backseat to display the brand identity in full sensory glory.
This meant a less outreaching sales team as stands only wanted people interested rather than persuading prospects who had no idea who they are or what they did.
The dominating sales technique seemed to be point prospects towards any product brochures/ handouts and let them decide is they take the sales process any further. This is a pretty drastic comparison to the rest of the B2B events we’ve been attending this Summer.
However, understandable. With these types of businesses looking for retailers to acquire the licence for their brand to stock and sell merchandise. This means that most attendees will have an idea of what kind of brands they are looking to partner with as it will need to fall in line with their already established business model.
Brand Licensing Europe round up
This years ‘BLE’ was a great experience and the opportunity to witness big-budget brands and how they market their products to buyers in the event space. Being able to see enticement strategies on a scale like the this showed us what the biggest brands in the event space are doing and help us let you know how best to carry yourself and your brand at a B2B event.
Data Capture – an afterthought
Better event data capture could have helped the exhibitors here go that extra mile with lead nurturing and follow up by tracking user’s areas of interest and quickly entering this information into CRM for personalised follow up.
We did see one or two kiosk competition forms and even entered an old school business card in the pot competition. For brands at the top of their industry like we saw at BLE we’d like to see them use the best software for the job.
If you’d like to hear more about our thoughts of events we’ve attended this year, then you have a lot to choose from. Check our latest blog on the Ecommerce Expo: Online brands master face to face selling. See our other blogs for our take on events in the food/ beverage, cybersecurity, the fashion industry and more.
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