Rachel Griffin, co-founder of PlayWise Partners, talks about the company’s interactions with its audience and the impact of hybrid trade shows on the toy book Annual questions and answers on the state of the industry.
The Toy Book: What are some simple ways toy companies can cultivate a meaningful presence with their audiences?
Rachel Griffin: The best way for businesses to cultivate a meaningful presence with their audience is to be human: don’t be a robot or act fully like a business. Communicate clearly and concisely and, of course, with fun and creative content and products. Stay active on social media and with customer service – that’s key. If a consumer has a question or complaint, address it immediately before it becomes more important. Along the same lines, connecting with your audience where they are is a must to amplify their support or creative content feedback.
Additionally, consider giving back to the local community and relevant causes. Increasingly, consumers are buying from brands that demonstrate core values that align with their own. The same goes for employees and potential new hires. Examples include a volunteer day, meaningful donations, corporate matchmaking or sponsorship, and even team events. Support your audience (customers, employees, fans, etc.) and they will continue to support you in return. Remember the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.
TB: How do you think a hybrid living room model will affect the toy industry in 2022?
RG: If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past two years, it’s that the toy industry is adaptable. Technology is advancing daily, which will make hybrid living rooms all the more accessible and reliable. Companies will have the ability to offer in-person, live and on-demand content, giving their customers and media more opportunities to interact with their products on a more flexible schedule. Depending on budgets, as well as health and safety measures, companies will opt for what is best for their business.
From a public relations perspective, a hybrid trade show allows us to virtually connect with media contacts and influencers, independent of on-site presence at a trade show. However, the value of face-to-face meetings, relationship building and product demonstrations cannot be replaced.
While I wholeheartedly appreciate the virtual meetings and how we’ve adapted, I’m open to hosting in-person events again. Toys are meant to be played; playing with these toys and games at events is literally good for the mind, body and soul!
This article originally appeared in the February 2022 edition of the toy book. Click here to read the full issue!