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Behind the scenes of Brand Licensing Europe

It’s the turn of the marketing team as Source delves into the inner workings of the show.

Firstly, can you recap on what your role/department covers and your main responsibilities when it comes to BLE?

With a mixture of youthful exuberance and hellish dad jokes, the marketing team can often be seen as chalk and cheese, but somehow, we make it work. Looking after everything from show email communications to the ‘store front’ that is our website, there’s not much you see about the show we haven’t had a hand in.

We’re very fortunate in that our role allows us to delve into the behaviour of our customers (BLE’s exhibitors and visitors), find out the challenges they face and the goals they set themselves, then neatly package up the vision laid out by the brand team into a coherent message that resonates with the audience.

How soon does your planning start for the show? How is the ‘to-do’ list broken down?

As soon as the show ends. Once the doors shut, we run through all the numbers to start planning for the next year’s event, build our plans and get started again. November through to February is usually spent on the strategy, deciding on our objectives and how to achieve them. Between now and the show is when the fun really starts as everything has a tight deadline, but it’s also exciting to watch the registrations come in. It can get stressful at times, but it’s all worthwhile when you get to the show and see your hard work come to life.

What is the first thing you do?

I would love to say we contemplate the meaning of the universe over a flat white, but the truth is we grab a cuppa, set up our desks and watch as our inboxes update and go from empty to full in ten seconds flat.

In the world of events it’s constantly go. In the licensing world of events it’s a weird and wonderful playground for adults where interesting collaborations hit headlines, spark the imagination and fuel discussions across the tables.

Rommon Thompson (left) with Greg and Josh from the BLE sales team, and Tilly Le Borgne.

How important is it for your team to liaise with the rest of the BLE gang – do you have weekly update meetings, etc?

Don’t hate us for the cringiness of this statement, but communication is key. We have weekly catch-ups with the sales team to see how we can help them to achieve their targets and find out about new exhibitors for us to promote. We meet Anna and Laura on the brand team for updates on the show including everything from the seminar programme to key experiential activations and narratives to help us with our messaging. They also give us insight into the industry. We regularly check in with the rest of the Global Licensing Group – we’re lucky to be part of a wider team that organises Licensing Expo in Vegas, Licensing Expo China and Licensing Expo Japan as well as publishing License Global. We’re always keen to learn from each other’s successes, share insights across The Pond, find out about upcoming plans and ensure we’re aligned – we’re all one big family after all.

Best bit about your team’s role?

By far the best bit about our team’s role is the ability to put plans into action. Having worked on the marketing plans, collaborated on the customer insight projects and joined forces with the brand team to decide on the messaging, we’re then able to launch it all and use all the different partnerships and marketing channels available to us to communicate to as wide and varied a reach as possible.

Then, as we see the industry react and say they’ll be there, the buzz on social media increases and the inbounds about what people are excited about seeing always make us smile.

Favourite thing about working on BLE?

Tilly: For me, the excitement of being onsite. The high that you get from seeing all the hard work come together is hard to put into words. This will be my third BLE and the excitement doesn’t get old.

Rommon: For me, it’s all the brands. I’m a geek about this anyway, but it’s incredible to now understand how the licensing agreement actually works. Plus, every single pair of socks I own is licensed with Minions, superheroes and Mr. Men.

What is your team’s main role once on site?

Onsite, it’s all hands on deck and it’s a phenomenal feeling to see everything we’ve worked on come together. In terms of our main roles, it’s everything from covering social media and highlighting the cool things happening on stands throughout the three days, to email reminders, meeting with partners and making sure our customers are getting the most they can from the show.

What is the last thing you do before the doors open?

Pray that people show up! Our entire year gears towards getting visitors through those doors, so it feels like the moment of truth at that point. In all seriousness, though, we’re usually running around to finalise the last details before doors open, like checking that Show Directories are where they should be, putting media partner magazines on literature racks, posting on social media, the list goes on…

Fun Facts:

Turns out that we aren’t as fun as we thought so we’d thought we’d give you some random facts about animals instead:

  • Horses can’t vomit
  • Wombats have cube-shaped poo
  • Cows can go upstairs but not down
  • A shrimp’s heart is in its head
  • Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump
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