Catching Up With...

Catching Up With Suzanne Mills-Winkler, President of Dynamic Designworks

Dynamic Designworks (DDW) launched in 2001 as a design firm for the toy and consumer products industries. The company has evolved and added a division called Dynamic MarketingWorks to provide clients with a range of services for promoting their brands. Suzanne Mills-Winkler, president, uses Blip Toys’ Squinkies as an example of how DDW is mixing product development with social media for its clients.

Nancy Lombardi: Explain how DDW helped Squinkies with product development.

Suzanne Mills-Winkler: We do a lot in the girls’ arena—especially with doll lines—working with large and small clients in the toy industry. We had been working with Blip Toys on a number of projects. They came to us with a concept for a small doll collectible line. Blip Toys wanted marketing and design help. We brainstormed with them and collectively came up with the Squinkies. The vending-machine-inspired collectibles come in a small plastic ball. The squishy plastic figures can also be used as pencil toppers or played with in accompanying playsets.

N.L.: Where does the social media aspect come into the picture for Squinkies?

S.M.W.: I thought that Squinkies was the perfect line for a social media campaign. I had wanted to expand into social media campaigns as part of the marketing offering to clients. Blip Toys agreed to let us give it a try. We developed an entire social media campaign for the product line. We built Blip’s blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr accounts and tied it all to the website that they built.

What sets us apart from some other companies is we approach social media from a product point of view rather than from a public relations point of view. The reason is we are attuned to what consumers are looking for in a product.

One thing that helped us a lot was that this year’s Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards [by the Toy Industry Association] was open to a consumer vote so we started a social media campaign in December 2010 around that. We reached out to mommy bloggers and fans and told them to vote for Squinkies in the TOTYs. We won for Girl Toy of the Year for the Squinkies Cupcake Surprize Bake Shop. We ran a contest to thank the fans for voting where we randomly gave away playsets to fans who “liked” us on Facebook. Because of that we went from 6,000 fans to more than 14,000 fans in a day. At one point, we were watching as 1,000 fans per hour were “liking” us.

N.L.: How can DDW help other clients with social media?

S.M.W.: We set up the social media programs for our clients. We work with clients for six months to a year to build up their social media campaign and, at that point, we can either continue to consult on it or they can take over and run it. Social media is about building a structure and I am used to building structures for products so I just applied it to this medium. Yet we are constantly learning because it’s not a static thing and there is no one formula that works for everyone. You have to be willing to change, and learn, and enjoy it.

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