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How to Make the Best Out of ToyFair with Public Relations

Toy Fair 2010 is just a month away. For many it can be a make or break proposition. Competition for that one lucky break to put your toy or game on that map is stiff.

Author: David E Johnson
Date: Jan 9, 2010 - 5:31:38 PM


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Toy Fair 2010 is just a month away.  For many it can be a make or break proposition.  Competition for that one lucky break to put your toy or game on that map is stiff.  Not only are you competing against hundreds of others who are seeking that same lucky break, you are also competing against the major players in the toy industry such as Matel and Hasbro.  What then can you do to ensure that Toy Fair is a success for you and that you get the coverage essential for success and what are some pitfalls to avoid?  The answer is to have a strategic public relations and marketing campaign just for Toy Fair like you do for your business year round.

The first mistake that many make at Toy Fair is not being ready for the demands that the media may make on you such as not having a press kit readily available.  Many in the media will not even consider covering a company unless it has a press kit.  Ideally an attendee for Toy Fair should send out their press kit to media covering Toy Fair months if not weeks ahead of time.  Secondly send out a press kit to your local news media.  Even though your local media may not be covering Toy Fair, the fact that you are exhibiting at Toy Fair is news and by notifying your local media might result in a news story about you that builds your media portfolio and reaches potential customers.  Don’t put all of your press kits in the Toy Fair media room.  Many times a reporter will be walking the show and see an exhibit that interests them and ask for a press kit then and there.  If you don’t have a press kit readily available it could result in a lost media opportunity.  In your press kit you should include company information, sales sheets, recent press releases and media coverage, biographies of key personnel, high quality photos of your key personnel and product, and frequently asked questions and answers that the media might have about your game or toy.  Also make sure that your press kit is available electronically.

All media at Toy Fair is important.  Many exhibitors think that only the major media is important at Toy Fair.  I have seen exhibitors basically snub a reporter from a local New York affiliate and say that they are only available for the networks or major dailies.  Maybe that lightening will strike but chances are that it won’t.  Many exhibitors think only the major media will ensure that they have success.  That is not true.  I have seen one small company get a major contract based on a radio interview that they did and a key store buyer happened to be listening to the radio while their network appearances did not garner any major sales.  If you are small or new company at Toy Fair much of the media coverage you get is for branding purposes remember that.  For strategic public relations to be effective requires that a company build a media portfolio that builds brand recognition.  Use all media opportunities to help leverage your marketing.  Also some of the major media will only cover a company if it has already smaller media coverage.  While not impossible for a first time exhibitor to get major coverage at Toy Fair, the odd are daunting.  Just as in sales, go after the low hanging fruit first.

Many exhibitors travel to New York for Toy Fair and then spend a few days either before Toy Fair or after the show enjoying all that the Big Apple has to offer.  These vacation days can also be turned into potential meetings with the media.  Many people overlook that they are in New York City, the media capital of the nation.  They assume the only chance to reach the media will be at Toy Fair.  Not true.  Contact some key media that you are interested in meeting with and see if you can schedule a short meeting with them at their office to introduce yourself and your company.  Very often the media will agree to a short meeting at their office and may have not even be covering Toy Fair.

Finally utilize social media at Toy Fair – particularly Twitter and Facebook.  Twitter what you are doing and what is happening around you at Toy Fair.  This is a great time opportunity to build your following on Twitter and reach consumers and even media.  Consumer polls show that many companies show a dramatic uptick in followers when tweeting from trade shows.  Remember there will be periods of down time during the show – utilize it.  During the night and slow times update your Facebook page on what is happening and show the energy you are bringing to Toy Fair.  Believe it or not media covering Toy Fair will actually take time to look at this and often do searches the night before going to the show and determine based upon Facebook searches who they intend to stop by and meet.  That is why it’s so important to be static during the show.

Toy Fair is an opportunity to build brand identification and reach a mass audience.  Like anything in business, a strategic plan and approach is critical to success.  Reaching buyers and building name identification should be the key objective of your publicity and marketing plan for Toy Fair.

David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, a public relations agency.  He may be reached at djohnson@strategicvision.biz.



View all articles by David E Johnson

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