Behind the scenes at LIMA’s Mind Mix By Kelvyn Gardner – Licensing Source

LIMA’s UK md Kelvyn Gardner brings us a flavour of Milan with his report from the second Mind Mix.
I’m just back from LIMA’s second Mind Mix event, this year held in Milan. After a successful debut in Berlin in 2016, this new-format event, designed to bring together senior licensing executives from all parts of the world, took its second step into Italy.

This meets with part of the original concept, which is to move this ‘brainpower exchange’ around the world to be hosted in cities of importance to the licensing business.

Hosted at the city offices of the Italian operation of PWC, 2017’s Mind Mix offered a variety of keynote talks, research presentations and round-table discussions on key themes.

Opening up the two-day event was PWC themselves, for whom partner Massimo Pellegrino gave an authoritative world business climate and forecast review in keynote form. The event then split into two channels, with delegates having a free choice of which to attend.

On this first day, topics included Responding Quickly to Consumer Demand and Trends, Managing a Brand Globally, Navigating New Media Platforms, Trends in the Animation Business and Fashion licensing.

Moderators included Teri Niadna, Jean-Philippe Randisi, Naz Amarchi-Cuevas and Silvia Grilli. After lunch splendidly served on a very sunny roof terrace, the afternoon provided many more options. I attended a fascinating look into the world of famous Italian design house, Pininfarina.

Their rather unique business model, providing design services which often ‘relegate’ their own name behind that of the client (for example ‘ABC XXX by Pininfarina), with a more classic licensing approach for some deals, was a first for me, and many others in the room, I suspect.

Afterwards, we could tune into sessions including a detailed look at the Russian market, licensing of authors, creators and designers, and perspectives on China, this last moderated by LIMA’s evp, Maura Regan.

Networking is a key part of the Mind Mix offering, and a traditional Milanese dinner was enjoyed in the Al Mercante restaurant tucked away in a splendid ‘piazzale’, a stone’s throw from Milan’s famous gothic cathedral. The meal gave me a chance to practice my Italian, as the rules of Mind Mix means that all the formal sessions are conducted in English to underline the international positioning of the event. The mild weather encouraged some delegates to take a 45 minute post-prandial stroll to return to the hotel.

We returned to the fray on Friday morning with another insight session by Utku Tansel of Euromonitor, who presented some key research findings into emerging retail business models.

With other sessions covering research in to kids and brands, effective E-Commerce strategies and the protection of copyright in the digital age (with Margaret Briffa giving insights into the notorious Trunki copyright case) there was once again, much to choose from and to take in.

More than one delegate told me they’d have to think about bringing more than a single representative to future Mind Mixes in order to simply take in more of the content than a sole visitor can manage.

With around 90 delegates in 2017, Mind Mix has set a high standard for future iterations – where will we do this next year, I wonder?

On a personal note I was at Mind Mix just as my daughter, Regan released her band’s new single on all the usual channels from iTunes to Amazon. Central these days to music listening is Spotify, and Regan – no stranger to the licensing business – has offered to make a £50 donation to The Light Fund if the single, called One Time Thing and pure pop in style, gets 1,000 stream on Spotify.

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