The Central and Eastern European region has been one to watch for a while now. One of those firms watching was Advanstar, which launches its first show in Budapest on March 8th and 9th.
“Licensors had been approaching us to run an event in this region since 2007,” explains event director Jessica Blue. “We didn’t rush in at that point as we wanted to do it properly and professionally. We needed time to research the market, devise the marketing strategy, build our databases, approach local partners, etc. We held a presentation at Licensing International Expo in June 2008 to present our initial findings and ideas for our event and received feedback from the licensors, and here we are.”
22 exhibitors will take space in the Corinthia Grand Hotel, representing around 200-250 properties including Bakugan, Bang on the Door, Hello Kitty, Batman, Chuggington, Gormiti, Jimi Hendrix, Peppa Pig, Pingu, Waybuloo and The X Factor.
“The reaction has been very positive and we have had good support from the big agents operating in the territory,” Blue continues. “Most of the major brands and characters that are successfully licensed in Western Europe will be represented and 80 per cent of the visitors that have registered to attend are from the CEE region. This is exactly where we want to be and is what our research told us to expect.
“Interestingly, 30 per cent of the manufacturers and retailers that have registered to attend aren’t currently involved in licensing but want to be. It’s important that the visitors are decision makers and it is encouraging that 89 per cent of those registered to date can recommend or specify a purchasing decision.”
A number of the successful elements from Brand Licensing Europe have also been added to the show, although with slight tweaks to suit the format and the market, Blue explains.
“The Licensing Academy is making its debut and all the sessions are focused on the CEE market, with two of the four sessions being delivered by Hungarian business professionals with vast experience in retail and licensing markets. The sessions run in the morning only. Visitors and exhibitors can relax and discuss the day’s events in an informal environment at the networking reception at the end of the first day. The Screening Suite may be introduced in the future.”
Advanstar has also got on board with a number of local partners to help market BLCEE to their members and subscribers. These include PMR, which reaches 60,000 business professionals per month via its Russian, Polish and Hungarian news and retail portals; The Hungarian Textile Society and The Bulgarian Association of Apparel and Textiles Producers Exporters. Advanstar is also working with local publications such as Textiles for Home, Divat Marketing, Uno Publishing and Mai Piac (HVG Publishing).
It seems like a solid start for the event, and that the initial key elements are place, and Advanstar is confident there is scope for it to grow. “Right now we are focused on making the launch a success and delivering the right business opportunities for all our attendees,” concludes Blue. “The response from the business community in Hungary has been really positive for this event and we will canvas opinion from the industry on the location of future BLC&EE events.”