tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Answers Questions about Interns, Awards and Toy Game NPD Data

by Tim Kilpin | 07 Jul 2021

The Bloom Report

Q: Can you please keep the questions coming? Thanks!


I recently received a wonderful download of dozens of questions from readers. Some are pretty straightforward, so I’ll take a shot at answering a few here today. Others require a deeper dive (and in some cases, maybe a doctoral thesis). So those will wait for another day.

Here goes!


Q: Are interns a valuable asset to a company or do you consider them a give-back?


I realize that not every company approaches internships the same way. At my old company, the approach was (and, I assume, still is) strategic, thoughtful, thorough, and well-supported across the organization. Their internship program was designed first and foremost to highlight new talent and help identify the next generation of toy industry leaders. I can think of several extremely promising people who continued their careers with us, and then moved on to even greater success elsewhere. 


Other companies have tended to think of the interns as just extra hands – helping fill gaps for a desperately overworked staff. Of course, this approach works – just not for the interns. My recommendation would be to treat internships as a learning opportunity – for both the interns and the companies. Interns will gain incredibly valuable exposure to the industry, while the companies will be able to identify new talent. Win-win.


Q: Do awards help sales? Which ones? There are so many and almost all require a fee.


Start here by thinking like a consumer. Where have awards influenced you and impacted a purchase decision? American Choice Awards? CES Innovation Awards? JD Power Awards? Some have equity and cache beyond just a fancy badge, and unquestionably add value to any brand’s marketing story. For the toy industry, the Toy Association’s TOTY (Toy of the Year) awards are well-recognized and considered by many (myself included) as worthy of the effort to get nominated. The Oppenheim Awards are also well-regarded by consumers. Parent’s Choice and Good Housekeeping both consistently manage highly-sought-after awards programs. And of course, the People of Play annually award their TAGIEs (Toy and Game Inventor Awards), which are prestigious and highly coveted within the industry.


But…if you do win an award, make it work for you across your marketing messaging. Think beyond your packaging.


For what it’s worth, we launched a new game several years ago (Bounce Off, for those who might remember). Our packaging team presented the initial concept complete with an awards badge in the upper right corner. I stopped short, wondering how that might be possible…until I read the copy: “Winner of Absolutely No Awards!” Of course, we kept it on the package.


Q: Anything you can talk about regarding the NPD info that came out recently from the TA?


The Toy Association did indeed make available to its members a Global Toys Report for 2020, which included a significant amount of very helpful data about size of the global market, growth trends by region, and information about annual spend per child per region. As both a member of the Toy Association and a longtime fan of the NPD folks who study and report on the toy industry, I highly recommend you find ways to work with both organizations. Neither is a charity, of course; but what you will have access to in return will help you better understand the industry…and help you make more informed decisions on a daily basis.


Meanwhile, keep the questions coming!

toy and game awards toy industry data toy and game industry interns

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!