Child's Play Communications

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2013, Click to Enter The 2014 Steve Awards for Women in Business

Company: Child's Play Communications
Company Description: Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2013, award-winning Child’s Play Communications is the leading agency specializing in public relations, social media, word-of-mouth communications and online marketing for products and services targeted to moms. It was the first agency to target the mom market and has represented major brands including Disney, Warner Bros., Heinz, and Hewlett Packard.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Innovator of the Year

Nomination Title: Stephanie Azzarone, President

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated woman since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Back in 1988, Stephanie Azzarone created Child’s Play Communications, the first public relations agency to specifically target moms. In 2013, the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an intensive focus on innovation–the culmination of years of “firsts” ranging from identifying a highly influential niche to developing creative channels for reaching it. She led the way among agencies in recognizing mom bloggers as a crucial force and initiated the first agency network of social-media mom reviewers – Team Mom. For this and other social media efforts, Azzarone won the 2010 Bulldog Reporter Social Media Innovator of the Year Gold award.

In the past year alone she has launched:

• The agency’s Virtual Launch Party, a day-long online event in which bloggers repeatedly post about a product launch, extend the conversation to social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, then follow with a Twitter Party. This format provides ultimate social media exposure for brands and millions of impressions.

• An extensive Blogger Ambassador program, enabling brands such as the Wildlife Conservation Society to partner with the most elite and influential moms to repeatedly reach the greatest numbers of targeted readers with key messages.

• Content is Queen, offering strategy, content and attention-getting promotions for clients’ social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. A Facebook page launched for children’s TV program Peppa Pig zoomed from zero to 51,000 fans within 5 months. As a result, the agency was named a Finalist in the Social Media Campaign category of the Cynopsis Kids! Imagination Awards.

• An Affiliate Marketing program, providing clients a way to work with high-impact social media moms. Her program for Time Inc. boosted subscriptions to All You magazine by nearly 6,000.

• Perfect Partners, bringing different clients together in joint campaigns for their mutual benefit.

• And while mom remains the focus, Azzarone has recognized the growing involvement of dads in making decisions about what to buy for their children and in recent months hosted the first Dads at Play event for Toy State, which encouraged dads to come out and play with their kids. She also dramatically expanded the agency’s distinctive Digital Dads blogger program. This fall, she will present research at the Marketing to Moms conference about dads’ role in household purchasing decisions.

• In fact, in the past year Azzarone significantly grew the company’s research capabilities, through its Social Savvy program. A recent effort, a look at what moms really want for Mother’s Day, was featured in both The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. She also writes a monthly column for the industry publication, Engage:Moms, as well as the blog Mom Market Trends.

• This year Azzarone also developed company expertise in entirely new product categories, such as apps.

As a result of these focused innovations, it’s been an amazing year for Azzarone and Child’s Play. The agency took on major brands including Disney, Time Inc. and Heinz, suddenly became the go-to place for Canadian, British, French and German companies eager to reach the U.S. mom market, increased staff by 20% and revenues by 75%. Azzarone herself, meanwhile, received an Honorable Mention in the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated woman (up to 125 words):

Stephanie Azzarone is founder and president of Child’s Play Communications, the first agency to specialize exclusively in marketing to moms. Child’s Play is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Stephanie is creator of the award-winning Team Mom™ blogger network, the voice behind the blog Mom Market Trends and winner of Bulldog Reporter’s Social Media Innovator of the Year Award. She also received an Honorable Mention in this year’s Enterprising Women of the Year Awards. Stephanie has been quoted on the subject of marketing to moms in media ranging from PRWeek through The Wall Street Journal and writes a monthly post for the industry publication Engage:Moms. Disney, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Heinz, Hewlett Packard, TIME Inc. and the Wildlife Conservation Society are among her recent clients.