Events Licensing News

B&LIS 2021 Unveils First Wave of Speakers

B&LIS 2021

Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit (B&LIS) North America unveiled its first wave of speakers confirmed for the two-day conference, taking place in-person October 27-28 at Convene New York.

Among more than 40 companies represented at the conference confirmed to take the stage are Funko, Xbox, Microsoft, Macy’s, and Bay Laurel Advisors.

“We are thrilled to launch B&LIS in the North American market in partnership with Licensing International, serving as the region’s meeting place for thought leaders to connect, collaborate, and influence the future of brand licensing and consumer product innovation,” said Global Licensing Group VP Anna Knight. “The industry is in the midst of a transformative era as consumers emerge from lockdown and carry with them behaviors formed during the pandemic, such as a strengthened familiarity with digital retail experiences and emerging interests such as self-expression and sustainability. These themes carry immense opportunity for retailers and licensors alike, thus underpin the educational and forward-looking conference.”

The conference covers four themes — market trends, retail disruption, digital transformation, and product sustainability — broken down into two days of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities.

Confirmed speakers include David Beré, senior marketing director of Funko, along with a to-be-announced Macy’s executive for the session “Odd Couple: Macy’s x Funko”; George Wade, founder and president of Bay Laurel Advisors, for the session “Location-Based Events and Experiences: Are They Back to Help Bolster Retail Sales?”; and John Friend, head of Halo and Xbox consumer products at Microsoft for the session “Level Up: How eSports & Gaming are Dominating Entertainment Licensing.”

Friend said he plans to share examples and learnings from past licensing campaigns, including the recent Xbox Series X|S console launch and upcoming release of Halo Infinite.

“Gaming is the biggest entertainment market in the world today, both in number of consumers and revenue generated,” said Friend. “The potential to extend your brand reach and influence this growing segment of consumers is here.”

Knight noted that B&LIS will reunite the licensing industry as the first in-person event for the community in nearly two years.

“Held in New York, a city synonymous with the world’s biggest brands that light up Times Square and pioneer the intersection of retail and licensing, B&LIS is designed to serve as a beacon for those navigating the fast-growing intersection of retail and licensing, she said. “We could not be happier with the caliber of speakers confirmed to date that will deliver practical, actionable insights for attendees to then turn into practice.”

More information and registration for the summit can be found here.

B&LIS follows Licensing Expo Virtual, taking place this month from August 24-26 in an entirely online format.