Why LBE is the consumer experience of the future
InPark Magazine Interview with Anna Knight, SVP of Global Licensing Group, Licensing Expo
Over the past two years, almost everything has gone virtual to some degree. Whether it’s hosting meetings through online platforms, using grocery delivery apps, or participating in the evolving world of the metaverse, consumers around the world are craving something more tangible then. that the world returns to “normal”.
Realizing the immense opportunity that experiential marketing presents, brands across all product categories are exploring location-based experiences (LBEs) as a way to change and improve the way people interact with products, stories and characters they consume on a daily basis. Although LBE is not a new idea and has been gaining momentum for years, experiential deployments and IP-based brand extension strategies are taking the commercial and licensing world by storm. They are the next frontier for consumers looking to engage, interact and show their love for the brands they love. Consumers are looking for in-person and authentic experiences, which is evident by the way globally recognized brands such as Hasbro and Crayola are address current and future consumerism via LBE, both of which will be exhibiting at Licensing Expo in May and bringing exciting LBE activations.
InPark Magazine has closely followed the LBE boom and how related industry trends are shaping how IP-based experiences that bring consumers’ favorite characters and brands to life and the company’s transition from a “material” economy to an “experience-based” economy.
This year, Licensing Fair dive deep into the LBE world as dozens of businesses will participate to view, learn and grow through LBE. Taking place May 24-26 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Licensing Expo offers retailers, licensees and manufacturers the best opportunity to obtain the rights to thousands of consumer brands, entertainment icons and more for your products or stores. Click here to register for free.
InPark Magazine recently had the pleasure of speaking with Anna Knight, Senior Vice President, Global Licensing Group, who broke down what LBE means, not just for the future of consumerism, but how there are many untapped avenues just waiting to be explored.
Why did you choose LBE as your theme this year?
Anna: We’re seeing more and more brands invest in long-standing pop-up experiences and IP experiences as they look for meaningful ways to connect with their audiences and bring new fans into their fold. LBEs have become more common over the years, with landmark examples such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios leading the way to Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty launching a pop-up store in SoHo, where attendees can be part of the brand experience. Not only do we want to explore how organizations can optimize LBE not only for their consumers, but also use it as a strategic tool in their marketing arsenal. LBE is leveraged to go viral, reach new consumers, reposition a brand, and much more.
We asked ourselves, “How can we engage with our attendee and exhibitor audiences on a deeper level and at a larger scale and showcase the emerging trends that are shaping the industry? LBE fits the bill perfectly as one of the hottest trends brands across all categories are looking to explore at this year’s Licensing Expo.
Are there any on-site activations that illustrate the power of LBE?
Anna: Absolutely. Most booths will have some sort of interactive experience that will allow attendees to fully understand the power LBE has over attendees and really feel what it’s all about. Brands such as Beyond the Falcon will have tangible experiences through its X-Lab, which will offer a 20-minute demonstration of a handful of Falcon’s breakthrough products by appointment. Those interested can view themed attraction systems that use real-time game technologies through the Metaverse. the The Hasbro Experience aura Transformers: VR Battle Arena with Meta4 Interactive, which allows participants to play as a TRANSFORMERS robot in virtual reality. Experiences like this will show just how integral LBE is becoming to how consumers experience their products. These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg. A few other exciting IP-based activations attendees can expect to include:
- Sports bar: Major League Baseball Players, Inc., NFL Players Inc., NASCAR, WWE and Motul
- Toy cafe: Hasbro, Inc., Mattel, Inc., MGA Entertainment, Spin Master, WildBrain CPLG, Jazwares, Brand Activation Consulting & Build-A-Bear Workshop.
- Art & Design Fair: Art Brand Studios, Giordano Studios, Jewel Branding & Licensing, Inc., Mitchell Black Wallpaper, Tate & Co Licensing and Artestar
What type of LBE education will be available to interested participants?
Anna: There will be dozens of keynote speakers, panels and demos throughout the three-day event, both at the show and as part of Licensing U. Including Falcon’s Beyond, Robert L. Ward, Moonbug, NBA, and Bay Laurel Advisors Confirmed to Discuss LBE as the Latest Brand Extension Trend at an Expert Panel on Wednesday, May 25 at the Licensing U Theater from 12:00-12:45 p.m.
Not only will attendees be able to hear about the importance of LBE and how these interactions will be integrated into consumer experiences, but, as we’ve seen previously, there will be hands-on interactive floor-to-ceiling activations that serve as education in a different meaning. For many booths, attendees can hop right in and sign up for a personal meet-and-greet or watch the action unfold right in front of them. Apart Hasbro and Beyond the Falconother big brands are showcasing their foray into LBE like NAFTOS, LAI Games, SEGA, Cronus Global, and BuzzFeed, Inc. will be on hand with their own personalized offers. Overall, more than 200 exhibitors will be displaying their licensed IP, all ripe for LBE.
How can our readers participate in Licensing Expo?
Anna: By simply showing up! With our more than 200 brands on the floor of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center covering nearly every major product category, attendees can go from booth to booth and see how each brand is harnessing the power of brand extension strategies in creative ways. that portray who their brand is. Registration for the event is free. Once there, brands will have executive-level speakers and presentations to highlight their IP and paint a picture of how they are harnessing the full potential that LBE brings. The Mandalay Bay Convention Center will be filled to the brim with interactive experiences for all types of consumers. Register here today – we hope to see you there!