What’s ahead in licensed consumer products? A question that all the licensing business community wish to be answered, especially those who attended Milano Licensing Day last September. As the organizer of the event, we had the pleasure to collaborate with creative agency Tela, whose business is to bring macrotrends into actionable creative advise to creative directors, product developers and brand owners. Tela summarized the most i)ndispensable trends shaping the future of consumer products in the “Innovative Trend Cube” (click here to see a video extract) , an activation included in Milano Licensing Day content dedicated to innovation, and we are pleased to host a conversation on the subject we had with to Gabrielle Drew, founder and creative director, and Veronica Franzoni, senior designer of Tela.

Brand Jam: What is the objective of the INNOVATIVE TREND CUBE?

Gabrielle Drew: The Innovative Trend Cube is the sharing of a concept, a vision. We strongly believe that the analysis and understanding of the market and of social, economic and cultural dynamics that characterize the world around us are the basis of creative projects and a proactive business model. Over the years the consumer, and consequently the market, have gone through moments of strong change, thus opening new conversations and scenarios that require innovation. In this current context we see consumers with an increased attention and awareness towards purchases and choices. The goal of the Innovative Trend Cube is to inspire through the presentation and definition of 3 global trends. Each trend includes different creative ideas (including color charts, textures and materials) and input for development of an effective licensing strategy and innovative consumer products aligned with market trends.

Brand Jam: what process you have possibly applied to synthetize the next future of consumer products in 3 trends only?

Veronica Franzoni: The process is similar to the one we adopt in the initial development phase of any new project for our clients: in-depth research using a wide range of tools including online, key trend reports, participation in talks, fairs, events, conferences and retail checks. The analysis output allows us to understand and define trend preferences and market directions. Three major macro-trends are identified, they are then examined during an internal brainstorming session, allowing us to the highlight which aspects of these features and development opportunities can be translated across Consumer Products. Each trend is presented through inspirational visuals with a strong emotional impact.

Brand Jam: an harder exercise now – can you explain the 3 trends “Global Well Being“, “Digital” and “Neo Nostalgic” in 280 characters, like on Twitter?

Gabrielle Drew: “Global Well-Being” analyzes the meaning of well-being today, a complex and defused theme, in constant evolution. We are approach sustainability in a broad sense, therefore not only environmental but social, also thanks brands that embrace this philosophy.
“Digital” investigates the infinite possibilities erupting by this fascinating world in constant expansion. We are facing new languages, aesthetics, visibility and experimentation opportunities for brands such as gaming, augmented reality, metaverse and NFT.
“Neo Nostalgic” celebrates the reassuring power of the past and positive memories thanks to the trend that reinterprets the DNA and shines a new light on the iconic values of brands. A great opportunity for evergreen brands characterized by success stories and a deep bond with consumers.

Brand Jam: we believe that these directions are more than useful for the licensing business. What was the reaction of the visitors attending Milano Licensing Day about it?

Veronica Franzoni: We recorded a great interest and enthusiasm, since receiving numerous requests for further information. We believe that Milano Licensing Day visitors are increasingly aware of the importance of being “up with the times” and that they are looking for a different point of view and for creative and commercial content that enriches this experience. This reaction is inspiring the project for Milano Licensing Day next year with further opportunities and spaces for trends!

Brand Jam: in your experience, how much are creative directors, buyers, and product developers able to harmonize macro style trends, mainly coming from the fashion scene, with the entertainment content and branding constructs which influence the mainstream consumer products?

Gabrielle Drew: We see any kind of understanding and contamination of trends across Consumer Products as an important part of reaching consumers. Depending on corporate strategy and focus, licensed brands are increasingly taking on macro trends as vital information in conveying solid brand stories and effectively reaching their audiences. Within our creative agency we have seen a 40% increase in trend based projects requested over the last 12 months, hence the idea to bring this vision and know-how to Milano Licensing Day!