Mattel's Lisa Weger reflects on the obstacles presented this year for the licensing sector and the absence of BLE.
With the Festival of Licensing kicking of today, Lisa Weger, head of licensing EMEA, Mattel Consumer Products, explores the opportunities presented by this year's virtual event and how the licensing community can benefit from a reset and re-focus.
"BLE is a time to get back in touch, to do new business, to see people we work with but who live elsewhere, or people we have worked with at another time, in another city." comments Lisa. "It’s a time to connect, and to check in. It’s a time to re-establish our contacts in this industry that we love. But not this year. BLE is virtual."
Lisa notes that, although many are enjoying flexible working, most will miss the special time of year when BLE takes place, noting that BLE is one of the social highlights of the licensing industry, as well as a lot of work for all involved.
She considers the state of the industry, as discussed by those that work in it: "Over the past years, I can’t count the chats, or passing comments I’ve heard about our industry; “Licensing isn’t the same as it was” “Licensing is down” “Licensing is dying.” And my response was the same: “We have done this to ourselves”, “We are not taking care.” “We are pushing too much of the risk onto our partners.”
Lisa believes that licensing is like a three legged stool, a partnership between licensor, licensee and retailer. If all parties don’t win, none win. She stresses the importance of keeping that formula top of mind, of taking risks collectively, supporting partners in new ventures and carrying the industry forward leaning into consumer insights and vast common experience.
"I don’t pretend to have all the answers," Lisa writes, "but I do know that some in our industry have raced for the revenue and forgotten our fans, our ultimate consumers. We have handed control to those who don’t know our brands like we do but who tell us “This is what sells.” “This is safe.” And all of that has put our consumer a little bit further from our reach. It has left our buyers with too much stock. Licensors and licensees have taken losses.
So as we find ourselves with a little more time this year, let’s all take a harder look at the heart of our business: our products, whether they be physical, digital, services, or entertainment.
Let’s take the extra time to re-focus, and reset on what makes this the best industry ever. And we will meet again."
Read the full article in the this month's Mattel supplement here.