Toys we love

Sure, toys are to be loved: regardless of the social, cultural or economic environment one grows up in, toys, even improvised, appear throughout history. They foster the mental, physical, emotional and social development of kids. There is even a declaration around that! Funny, when I read about their educational function, such as fantasy, thoughts and creativity, I cannot help but think how it actually is fairly similar for adults. The only difference, however, comes to the price we pay for it, and sometimes, how our patience skills are tested too.

Now think of one that matches your interest and passion for fun, no matter how you define fun: you will likely project it as a device, a tool, anything that fits your preferences, and even adds some surprises to expand your world. Similarly to toddlers, adults require space to stock out their thoughts and emotions. And toys are just an ideal source on which they can easily bank upon: they can play with them, get angry, or throw them around as they like (ok, maybe not that far).

Olivier Borgognon PhotographySo, as a customer, what is being done for you? Who are the rock star marketers who keep creating genius in your eyes, heart and soul, and make you want one of their creations so bad? And are the said-marketers backed up by a strong supply chain team to keep your desires fulfilled? I ran a quick survey within my professional environment, and, 50% of the responses came back with Apple products. Yes, the Cupertino, CA-based marketing team has been shining and copied by many hopeful companies by creating sexy devices, addictive to aficionados, and investing in screen technology, so far unmatched (or somewhat matched, yet cornered in different niche markets). That is not all: understanding the customer and teasing him for months before releasing the product of desire requires an exceptional supply chain, and considering customer’s dissatisfaction not an option. Planning “valuedness”, optimising and investing in a long term performance are skills Steve Jobs and his team developed throughout the years, learning about and sticking to his “stay hungry, and stay foolish” motto.

Responding to a demand the company creates, from a logistical point of view, is just brilliant. Even after the earthquake in Japan, the company’s contingency plans have kicked in and its Japanese suppliers have shown extreme resilience to stay in the game: outperformance all the way. The struggle exists, and Apple seems to overcome them with inventing new solutions the aficionado rarely gets to see: that is the smart part I love to see (and be part of!).

Whether it is for your next parts and tools to make your own toy(s), your next 3D BluRay disc player, your next carbon fibre bike or your next top-of-the-line kitchen gear, the suppliers already have a sense of the demand. The sharp ones will get it right before thinking about teasing your pleasure nerves, and actually deliver. Unless, like Ferrari, you unexpectedly release a limited edition of a book which does not need any marketing: it is all in the name. A toy name.

Image courtesy of Olivier Borgognon Photography