Panel to be moderated by InPark’s Judith Rubin on December 2, 2021
by Amanda Cioletti, Content Director at License Global magazine
The world rebounding and society transitioning from a “material” to “experience economy” has catalyzed IP-based store and venue initiatives to engage with consumers in a wholly new way – location-based experiences (LBE).
While the fundamental concept of experiential retail was taking off well before the pandemic, that was derailed for apparent reasons. Yet, location-based experiences and the retail that can be derived from it are back, and, one could argue, in more demand than ever. In fact, 2021 has produced more cross-category pilots than ever before, from Vogue Café Shanghai opening its doors as Condé Nast’s second venture in China to CoComelon LIVE! JJ’s Journey, a musical produced by EMC and Moonbug Entertainment that will take fans of the popular children’s show on a real-life adventure.
Hasbro, for example, recently announced plans to open a unique branded entertainment venue in 2022, revealing “The Game Room powered by Hasbro,” which features iconic brands Monopoly, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Clue, Connect 4 and Candy Land.
IP-based experiences draw consumers in with the promise of a brand authentic experience and a like-minded community. Addressing this trend in the upcoming License Global webinar, Location-based Events and Experiences, taking place December 2 and moderated by Judith Rubin, editor of InPark Magazine who has been chronicling brands’ adoption of LBE platforms over the past decade, are:
- Matt Proulx, Vice President, Location Based Entertainment at Hasbro, Inc.
- Warren Schorr, Vice President, Business Development & Global Licensing at Crayola
- George Wade, Founder and President of Bay Laurel Advisors
The panel is set to explore what motivates consumers to show up to themed pop-up experiences, immersive restaurants and resorts, what the new generation of location-based experiences look like.
Register here to learn from the industry’s most prominent players and garner insights into “Location-Based Events and Experiences,” airing December 2 at 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET.
Webinar preview – Interview with George Wade of Bay Laurel Advisors
You are participating in a License Global webinar that explores location-based experiences. What can webinar attendees look forward to learning about?
Many brands have not yet grasped the opportunities and yet the complexities of the LBE industry; how LBE experiences offer a brand a unique opportunity to touch consumers and create long-lasting emotional relationships, which cannot be easily done at retail. I hope we can answer questions that help attendees better understand this ever-evolving market, to identify if they have a place in LBE and, if so, how best to take advantage of the opportunity.
What are the primary challenges IP owners face when rolling out an LBE initiative?
One of the biggest challenges is brand protection. Not all licensees are as capable at quality control. Most IP owners are focused on the design and production process to assure great execution for the IP. However, many brands are less prepared for ongoing Quality Assurance post-opening. IPs need to have programs for at least yearly Brand site reviews to assure that the LBE project continues to provide guests with a long-term excellent guest experience.
Could you share a standout example of an LBE and how it brought the IP to life?
There are many standout projects, some on a large scale, such as the Harry Potter worlds at Universal theme parks, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, or on a smaller scale, the Crayola Experience family entertainment centers, which have opened in five locations across the US. The keys to success are many, starting with: Meeting the promise that the brand offers. Guests will have a certain expectation that must be met!
Great storytelling is the essence! Guests desire stories and experiences that touch their heart. Interactive experiences that allow the guest to participate in the experience. Today’s consumers do not want to be passive viewers; they want to be part of the adventure.
What is the most significant trend or industry disruption that you see impacting the licensing or retail landscape in the coming years?
Content, especially proven entertainment content, is king, especially in our core industry of Location Based Entertainment. Consumers respond to well-known stories and characters, which helps operators attract their attention and deliver meaningful experiences. Over the past five years, we have seen “Experiences” become more important to consumers, especially since the onset of the pandemic. They can shop for goods online, but they still desire to get out of the house to enjoy experiences. This has a major effect on the real estate industry as many locations evolve from retail-based destinations to more mixed-use destinations where Experiences are the anchors.
What is an industry trend that not enough people talk about, in your opinion?
What allows the consumer, the guest, to become a part of the overall experience. Too many times, we focus on “telling” our guests our story without letting them actually participate in the story. Involve the guest! Let them be a part of the story, which leads to more significant revenue generation.
How has new technology impacted our industry?
Technology is a tool, a fantastic tool that allows us to create interactive experiences. And Technology continues to involve becoming more user friendly, more reliable (easy to maintain) and provides great flexibility. But it is critical to remember that technology itself isn’t of interest to the consumer; it does not create an emotional connection either! It’s about good storytelling and incredible experiences that eventually lead to sales and revenue generation.
Location-based Experience is the Licensing Expo 2022 theme, complementing the changing way in which consumers engage with brands. Visit the event’s website – www.LicensingExpo.com – to save the date and be notified of registration opening.