Consumer Products Panel: Building Universes, Growing Revenues
By Pete Canalichio and Mark Di Somma
In the consumer products space, “universes” are the worlds that consumers inhabit with brands. As the name suggests, they are immersive, multi-dimensional and continually expanding domains with their own rules and mythologies. In the world of gaming, they are also the basis for expanded revenue models that provide consumers with new ways to experience the brand. They are how companies like Microsoft convert engagement into spend.
After 15 years, the popular video game Halo is now a $1.5 billion business, with an active consumer products program that sees the brand engaging with consumers across a full range of categories, underpinned by long-standing activity in toys and collectibles. One of the reasons Halo has been able to grow its category program so well is that its core idea is shared and inspiring. Halo is all about heroism. In this universe, the players are charged with saving humanity from an onslaught of aliens. Each is on a personal mission, and part of a passionate and opinionated community that demands involvement and stimulation.
The lessons from the success of Halo extend far beyond the world of gaming though. This panel discussion will include John Friend, the Head of Consumer Products of Microsoft’s 343 Industries, which oversees development of the Halo science fiction media franchise. John will provide the view from inside on what it takes to build out a universe in this fast-moving world. Pete Canalichio and Mark Di Somma will also share their findings and the experiences of others learned from talking to leading marketers and licensors from the full range of sectors as part of the research for their upcoming book, Lasso The World. The panel will discuss what it takes to build valuable assets and to generate more value from those assets against a backdrop of rising consumer expectations around experiences and what consumers get for free. The panel will also look at how Halo generates millions in revenue through long term storytelling, partnerships and the judicious use of technology, and explore through conversation what other brands can learn. The 2016 LES Annual Meeting is being held October 23 – 26 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Building Universes, Growing Revenues session is on October 25 from 4:00 – 5:15pm