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How to make sure your licensing event is a hit

Kati Pauk from KP Events on how to get that golden ‘yes’ on the RSVP card.

There’s always a buzz around Brand Licensing Europe. Property owners introducing new characters, licensors shouting about newly struck deals and licensees parading their latest merchandise.

They’re all vying for your attention and have just three or four days in which to grab it.

MDs, ceos, directors and indeed all senior movers and shakers are continually bombarded by invitations to attend industry events. The threat of a breakfast meeting with greasy Full English thrown in or another numbingly dull product launch complete with vacuous gimmick, is always looming large on their desks. And as the invites stack up, the desire to attend any of them diminishes.

So, what can you do to entice these people into giving up some of their precious time to come along to your event?

Getting that golden “YES” on the RSVP card is no easy task, but it can be done…

Within the BLE context, there’s the obvious dilemma between the ‘safe’ option (drinks reception in a private room within walking distance of Olympia immediately after show hours) and the ‘risky’ option (a secret venue just outside of London with a strict dress code – can only wear green – starting at midnight on the last day of the show.

The safe option might possibly secure a decent smattering of attendees, who are there for a free glass of fizz. The risky option could become the talk of the town right through the show.

So, where do you pitch it?

Creativity is the key. That doesn’t necessarily mean expensive; it just means that you need to come up with something that excites, inspires and arouses curiosity… and that can be achieved in a variety of ways.

An invitation must contain the right information. In making their decision, guests will want to know the following:

  • Where is it?
  • Who’s going to be there?
  • What’s going to happen?
  • What am I going to get to eat and drink?


And so, the areas to focus on are venue, hosts and guests, entertainment and catering.


Pick a venue that guests are unlikely to have been to before – perhaps one that they weren’t even aware was a venue. These days, so many places that one wouldn’t automatically associate with events are opening their doors. The Bank of England, for example, or a disused London Underground Station. These are the kinds of venues that might just elicit a “now that might be interesting” response.

Hosts and Guests

You need to ensure that the right people will be there. Draw attention to the fact that your guests will have fantastic networking opportunities with precisely the kind of people that they would want to meet, or alternatively to the fact that all their principal competitors will be there (and that their absence would create a void).

It may be that a specific guest speaker could clinch it as the pull to see or hear them ‘live, in the flesh’ is just too much to turn down. Either way, get some reference to this on to the invite.



There are no guarantees with entertainment as it always boils down to a matter of taste. One man’s nirvana can be another’s hell (think karaoke). But if you consider the profile of your target audience, you can pretty much guess what kinds of thing are likely to go down well and what aren’t. Should it be modern, uber-cool and tech-driven; should it be retro and sophisticated; or should it be loud and drunken? And again, remember to get it onto the invite.



A way to a person’s heart has always been, and still is, through their stomach. With a little forethought, you can get those gastric juices going the moment they open the invite. Pictures of canapes, the name of the chef who’ll be preparing their dinner, the food and drink theme that you may have chosen… these can all whet the appetite and ultimately draw people in. Mention the sea urchin sushi or the liquid nitrogen canapes or the Borough Market produce that will be on offer on the night.

And of course, unless you’re going for the secret location, green toting midnight option, don’t forget basic rules:

  • Pick a sensible time and day (for example one should generally discount Mondays and Fridays
  • Ensure the venue is easily accessible by car and by public transport
  • If you can, work up an additional incentive for people to show such as an on-the-spot giveaway


Of course, it’s hard getting the right people and getting them in numbers, but it can be done. Stick to the rules above and see attendance rise before your eyes. Or call us at KP Events and we’ll guide you through the process!

Kati Pauk is a director of KP Events, a boutique London events agency, established in 1998. The company handles product launches, award ceremonies, staff parties, conferences or incentive events, while it is also able to sort every other event detail, be it photography, transport, accommodation, AV and security. Kati can be contacted on 020 8883 7411 or

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