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“Securing a keynote on this level was my dream”

Following yesterday’s (14 October) news that Team GB is to present the day one keynote at Brand Licensing Europe, Informa Market’s vp of licensing Anna Knight has told LicensingSource that it was her dream to secure a keynote of this level for this year’s show.

Taking place on Wednesday 17 November at 4pm in the Platinum Suite of ExCeL London, the keynote will feature live conversations with four time Olympic medal winner Tom Daley (via video link from Canada) and BMX Freestyle gold medallist Charlotte Worthington.

It will open with the Olympians’ personal accounts of their experiences before, during and following their gold medal winning performances at this summer’s Games.

A panel session will follow, also including Tim Ellerton, commercial director of Team GB, and Will Stewart, md of The Point.1888 (one of Team GB’s brand licensing partners).

We caught up with Anna to find out more:

What was your first feeling when you found out BLE had managed to secure such top class Olympic talent for the day one keynote?

A loud YES accompanied by a bit of a fist pump. Securing a keynote on this level was my dream since planning for this year’s BLE started and it still feels a bit surreal that it’s actually happening, especially with two Olympic gold medallists.

Charlotte is amazing with a really powerful and inspirational story behind her success. If ever anyone was going to drive you to not give up, it would be Charlotte.

Of course, this never would have happened without the support of Team GB and The Point.1888 – they are a brilliant team and we’re massively thankful for their help and support in bringing this Team GB panel to life.

What benefits do you think licensees/retailers will gain from the keynote?

What’s fascinating about a Team GB brand licensing campaign is the number of moving parts involved. Even during a normal Olympics cycle when you know how much time you have to plan, when products need to be designed, manufactured and into retail, there is still the uncertainty around the athletes – will they make it to the event, will they perform as expected, will they win a medal – all of that obviously impacts their star power, value as a brand and the window of opportunity available to Team GB.

But this cycle really threw the cat amongst the pigeons when the four-year plan suddenly became a five-year plan and – for a while – was even rumoured it may have to extend to six, so the flexibility and spontaneity that required must have been challenging to all involved.

The next challenge, of course, is how Team GB will plan its brand licensing programme around the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with it being just three years away.

Charlotte won gold in the BMX Freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.
Charlotte won gold in the BMX Freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.

How does the keynote further underline the growth of BLE when it comes to covering all the touch points for CP and brands?

I think it’s testament to our commitment to represent the whole of the licensing industry, and to really shine a spotlight on the brands & lifestyle category.

The number of sports brands exhibiting at BLE has grown steadily over the last few years, and this year we’ve got a dedicated area on the show floor marked out with astro turf. I think it’s also testament to the growing international focus of BLE and how it is truly a European show now.

What’s the one question you would most like to ask Tom and Charlotte?

For Tom, I’d like to ask him if he’d knit my cockapoo Luna a dog jumper for winter! And I’d like to ask Charlotte, following her own experiences getting to the top of her sport, what advice would she give to other young women athletes who are finding it tough to get support to compete in traditionally male-dominated sports.

Brand Licensing Europe 2021 will take place in-person at London’s ExCeL from 17-19 November, followed by an online event on 30 November and 1 December. Visitors can now register for free at www.brandlicensing.eu.

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