Spotlight on Licensing: Q&A with Maura Regan, President of Licensing International

Maura Regan, Licensing InternationalMay 28, 2019 | Toy News Tuesday editors sat down with Maura Regan, president of Licensing International (formerly LIMA – the International Licensing Industry’s Merchandisers Association), who shared details on the organization’s rebranding initiative and the outlook for licensed toys. Here’s what she had to say …

Where do toys stand as part of the broader licensing industry and how can Licensing International help toy companies?

Maura Regan: Toys are the second-largest product category in the global licensing business, accounting for about 13 percent of worldwide retail sales of licensed goods. (Results of our annual Licensing Business Survey will be released next week at Licensing Expo; global retail sales of licensed toys reached $36.1 billion in 2017.)

One of the dynamic aspects of the licensing business is that you never know where the next license is going to come from. Video games? Influencers? eSports? We offer toy companies access to our latest research and trend analysis, as well as exposure to best practices in leveraging licensing to maximize their business.

Based on changes that are happening within the global toy industry, where do you see the licensing part of the toy business heading over the next five or 10 years?

Maura Regan: Licensing will always play a central role in the toy business. Both businesses are built on emotion, such as the fun of playing with a toy or the identification with a favorite character, personality or sports team. That’s a constant.

However, both industries are constantly evolving. New technologies (whether in manufacturing or in the products themselves) will make themselves felt in the toy business. Licenses might come from areas we’re not aware of now – who knew about influencers and unboxing a decade ago! – but they’ll serve the same function they served for more than a century: to establish that emotional connection between product and consumer.  

What brought about the rebranding of Licensing International?

Maura Regan: When I became president of LIMA last July, it presented a natural opportunity for the
Association to evaluate all aspects of the organization, and how we could most effectively serve our members and the licensing industry at large. As we initially looked at merely refreshing the Association’s identity, it became apparent based on feedback from our members and key industry stakeholders that a total rebranding was in order. Our new identity as Licensing International is symbolic both of the changes that have occurred in the licensing business over the past three decades. For example, the rise of experiential and location-based licensing means that we’ve gone well beyond the word “merchandising” that was in our former name  – and of the future path the Association will forge.  

How did you decide on the new name?

Maura Regan: We decided on Licensing International after feedback on what our members believed we stood for and expected from us. We reviewed various options with our Board of Directors and agreed to the new name.

Licensing has grown in so many ways during the 30+ years of the Association’s existence, passing the $270 billion mark in 2017. What was once a business in which the vast majority of products were bought in North America is now a more global enterprise, so the “International” aspect of Licensing International acknowledges and celebrates the reality of that expansion, and looks forward to its continuation.

What are some aspects of the “new” organization?

Maura Regan: In most respects, our core goals remain the same: to foster the growth and expansion of licensing globally; raise the level of professionalism of licensing practitioners; give our members tools and information that will help them succeed; and generate greater awareness of the benefits of licensing in the business community at large.

Toy companies interested in learning more about Licensing International may contact Marty Brochstein, senior vice president of industry relations and information.