Toy Group Rebrands to Better Reflect Its Mission and Members

To better focus on the dynamic needs of its members, The Toy Association announced not only a new name but also a new headquarters, new mission, new look, new tagline, and new strategic plan.

The shiny new thing at The Toy Association, formerly the Toy Industry Association, is itself.

On April 24, the trade group sent out a press release from its new Manhattan headquarters about its new name and tagline—The Toy Association: Inspiring Generations of Play. It also announced a new look and new mission.

President and CEO Steve Pasierb said that even though the association was “wildly successful” and celebrated its centennial in 2016, there was also a feeling that it was time to shake things up. The board encouraged staff to really give some thought to the organization’s strategic goals, which is exactly what they did during countless meetings and a retreat.

The reinvention is a result of not only a board and staff who were open to change but also a desire to more accurately reflect its innovative membership.

“So, we created a new strategy, and in the process of doing that, we had to update our mission statement because it was not syncing with where we were heading,” Pasierb said. “None of us loved our branding … none of us liked the word ‘industry’ in our name, because ‘industry’ from a consumer standpoint really means smokestacks and factories—not kids laughing and playing.”

The rebrand also better reflects the group’s new member-focused programs and events. PlayFair, a business-to-consumer event that launched in early 2016 and sold out with 20,000 attendees, is an example of how the association is responding to its members’ desire to directly connect with consumers. Then there’s ShopToys365, a business-to-business online marketplace. Although the association hosts some of the world’s largest toy fairs, “our members need to be selling year-round, so we created that platform,” Pasierb said.

Another recent initiative—the Genius of Play—is directed toward consumers and educates them about how play is critical to a child’s development. While Pasierb said the association has carried out this aim in “fits and starts” throughout its history, it is now one of the key objectives of the new strategy.

“It’s one of the day-in, day-out things that that we’re going to do as an association,” Pasierb said.

During the rebrand process, the association also did away with the acronym. “We are going to try and force people to say, ‘The Toy Association,’” Pasierb said, especially after years of being referred to as TMA. (The association was founded as the Toy Manufacturers of America, Inc.)

“This is not your father’s Toy Association, because this is not your father’s toy industry nor marketplace,” said David Hargreaves, board chair of The Toy Association, in a press release. “The global toy and play landscape has transformed dramatically over the last few years. Our team is effectively overhauling every aspect of the association with an eye to the future to make certain we continue to provide members with best-in-class resources, business insight, and support to help them grow and thrive.”


Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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