License to PR's Louise O’Shea reveals her top tips for securing great coverage around this year's Brand Licensing Europe show.

Five top tips for great BLE PR

The dust has just about settled on Licensing Expo but on planet PR we are already thinking about October and you know what, the highlight of the European licensing calendar, Brand Licensing Europe 2016.

Mad? Not really, there are a hundred other things to get through before BLE. But the point is that it’s never too soon to start.

For sure, the best PR opportunities of the year happen around BLE – there will be hundreds of press and media people from the trade and the consumer press on site, as well as hundreds of inches online and in print dedicated to the choicest trends and news.

Tip one – It pays to be well prepared.

Nothing to say yet? That’s no excuse – Our second tip for BLE success is to think beyond the news agenda.

For example, we’re been talking to the Licensing Academy team for months about speaking slots for clients and about the jewel in the crown – the keynote address. Making time to think this one through could result in the sort of incredible TV and media coverage The Moomins got last year. And if you can’t clinch the keynote spot this year, you probably have someone in your team or company that could contribute to a debate or feature, a case study or a profile – even if there is no ‘news.’

You’re too small for PR? That’s no excuse either. The press is interested in the industry itself, in opinion, in trends and the most interesting of these often come from smaller, disrupter companies. So tip three is to embrace the opportunity and recognise that a great story is a great story and in our experience, great stories can be found in the most unlikely places.

You’ve no time to think about PR yet? Tip four – Make time.

I know it’s tricky. But it’s good to hard wire promotional opportunities into your BLE plan. I’ll bet BLE is your biggest single investment of the year. Good to underpin that investment with activity that raises the profile of what you are doing in the lead up to the event, during the show and afterwards.

You want to be on the lists of retail buyers’ must-sees before BLE even opens its doors. Do you remember the Chupa Chups Lolly Grabber Machine? Did one of your contacts skip down the aisles with a Moschino Powerpuff Girls handbag? Did Bart and Homer Simpson serve you a sweet treat during D’ohnut Hour?

It’s not all luck and lollies you know.

Clients we work with often say it’s good to have someone with a foot in the media camp to help identify the most appealing messages as well as to deliver them with maximum impact and work with the sister agencies who play a key role in making the show a success. Tip five – Speak to the experts.

It pays to take control of the conversation and make sure your company and brands are part of it. It’s never too soon to start thinking about how you’re going to shape and then broadcast your message.

Louise O’Shea is the director of leading specialist licensing PR agency, License to PR. She can be contacted on 020 7637 4660 or via

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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