Brand Licensing Forecast 2024

  • Branding Goals and Strategies
  • Collaboration Opportunities
  • Spotlight on Video Games
Kevin Bahler
PR Manager, Blog contributor
As 2023 draws to a close and we gear up for 2024, we should focus on the branding trends that are poised to define the year ahead.
Recognizing these strategies empowers brands to elevate their positioning in the market.

This article dives deep into popular branding strategies, collaboration opportunities, and highlights the gaming industry's mass appeal.
Branding Goals and Strategies

Brands must establish a clear image they wish to project.

The upcoming strategies look promising for 2024:

Maya Angelou -
Maya Angelou famously said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did; they will remember how you made them feel.”

In 2024, this will continue to be true, so brands should consider the feelings they want to be associated with. Interestingly, generic emotions like “good” and “happy” are not the most effective.
Interactive Experiences

In a modern world filled with the passive entertainment of movies and podcasts, interactive experiences like games, challenges, competitions, and events are worth their weight in gold.

By engaging with audiences and giving them the opportunity to make decisions and affect outcomes, brands can associate themselves with those positive memories.

Aural Experiences

Sound is easy to overlook, but it’s the most powerful sense after vision. Connecting a brand with a sonic experience creates an association that is hard to forget.

We can see this historically through the iconic jingles and slogans of Old Spice, McDonald’s, and AOL.

In the modern day, we all know the unique sounds of Facebook Messenger’s ding or Netflix’s iconic intro.

Netflix iconic

When brands partner with educational programs, everybody wins. The people who get an education are happy to be learning, and the brands that support it gain trustworthiness in the eyes of participants and onlookers alike.

Educational programs can include:


Although people may think of activities like navigating the company’s website as a single interaction, the users are experiencing dozens of microinteractions. When they scroll through a page, click a link, or fill out a form – those are opportunities to create positive connections that increase brand affinity.

Think in terms of visual, audio, and text-based interactions. This can include something as subtle as changing the default “Your form has been successfully submitted” confirmation message to say “Thanks for reaching out to us. We’ll read your message and reply as soon as possible, within the next 3 business days.” Consider making the text dark green on a light green background to add to the positive feel, or use branded company colors for cohesive design.

Smartphone-Focused Design Enhanced by AI

People are continuing to engage the online world primarily (or exclusively) through their phones. Top companies have made it clear that their online presence is built with a mobile-first mentality. This allows brands to get creative in the ways that they can engage with their audiences. Integrating AI into smartphone-focused design takes this to the next level.

AI can analyze user interactions and behaviors on mobile apps to provide personalized experiences. For example, AI-powered chatbots can offer real-time customer service or shopping assistance, enhancing brand engagement. AI's predictive analytics can also be used to tailor marketing content to individual preferences, increasing the effectiveness of mobile campaigns.

Furthermore, AI-driven data analysis can help brands understand how consumers interact with their products on mobile platforms, leading to more effective and targeted marketing strategies. By leveraging sophisticated AI algorithms, brands can create dynamic and immersive experiences that resonate deeply with their mobile-first audience.

In 2024, we expect to see a surge in AI-enhanced mobile marketing, as brands seek to leverage the full potential of their smartphone-focused strategies. Whether it's through personalized content, improved user interfaces, or interactive AI-driven apps, the opportunities for AI in enhancing mobile user engagement are vast and promising.

Collaboration Opportunities

When brands come together, the synergy excites and expands audiences. In the coming year, expect to see more of these joint ventures:

LEGO city playsets made in collaboration with NASA
Although we usually think of the largest and most famous names, the world of online influencers is vast, occupying every industry and every vertical. There seems to be no niche too small for an influencer to fill, and this is a dream for brand licensors because it provides endless opportunities.

For product reviewers, brands can sponsor a segment or donate an item for honest public feedback. Sponsored segments or ad reads on podcasts are also expected to expand, with brand owners focusing on podcasts that share the same demographic as their target audience. For more general celebrities, there are opportunities in affiliate marketing or event partnerships.
Spotlight on Video Games

When it comes to brand licensing, every strategy for 2024 can apply to the world of video games:

Emotional Connection - Sometimes the feeling of accomplishment from a hard-won victory, or the engrossing story of well-written characters. Video games definitely get people in the feels.

Interactive Experiences - Games are definitionally interactive. This is part of the reason why people love them so much, and loyal fans will buy the sequel to their favorite game year after year.

Aural Experiences - The right soundtrack or sound effects can give a game iconic or legendary status. No matter how old people get, they will always recognize the sound of Mario jumping.

Education - For brands looking to associate with positive improvement, partnering with educational games will be a great way to benefit people who are working to improve themselves.

Microinteractions - Games are filled with cutscenes, mini games, and other consistent mini opportunities to make positive connections.

Smartphone-Focused Design - Mobile gaming is an underrated niche, of which companies are only beginning to recognize. More on this below.

Brand Licensing in Esports

The realm of gaming is continuously expanding, and bringing new branding opportunities along with it. In particular, esports and mobile gaming have seen steady growth in brand integrations and partnerships in recent years, and the trend is staying strong. With more successful high-profile collaborations, brand owners are willing to invest more in these creative endeavors.

CS:GO world championship in 2019 with a packed arena
Fans pack arenas to watch the top esports competition, like CS:GO
The basic principle of “put your branding where eyes and ears are” holds true in esports, and there are several areas to consider:
  1. Game screen
  2. Camera on the players
  3. Venue for the event
  4. Audience camera
  5. Winners podium

With these key areas in mind, there are a surprisingly large variety of branding and collaborative opportunities including:
  • Any apparel that players wear in competition
  • Computer, consoles, chairs, and any other necessary equipment
  • Screen space during broadcast, such as “lower third” placement
  • In-game brand placement
  • Shout-outs by hosts, reporters, streamers, and influencers

Sponsorships can scale to any level of investment. For example, a brand could be a patch on a player’s shirt, or could sponsor that player’s entire outfit. Sponsorships can extend to entire teams, and at the most extreme, the entire event. No matter how large or small, there is plenty of opportunity to get into esports as they grow in popularity.

Mobile Gaming Brand Integrations
Mobile gaming has become a regular part of people’s daily lives, whether they be puzzles, fighters, shooters, or sims. Certain games tend to attract particular demographic audiences, which make them ideal partners for brands interested in targeted audiences.

Businesses across industries and across the world have seen success in co-branding with popular mobile games. When McDonald’s partnered with the Cut the Rope franchise, the collaborative Om Nom Happy Meal ranked 5th best selling in Europe and 2nd best selling in LatAm in the promo year. Alfa Bank created bespoke events in the mobile games Bullet Echo and Shadow Fight 3, where players unlocked legendary in-game items after signing up for the Alfa Card.

In 2024, mobile gaming’s market share will continue to rise, with new opportunities to blend the digital and physical worlds, and integrate positive brand experiences along the way.

Brand owners who want to learn more about collaborating in the mobile gaming space should speak with industry professionals like the team at PlayMGT. This will give a holistic view of the process, and help to pair that brand with the game that best aligns with its goals, vision, and audience.
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