Broadening the ap”peel” of Bananagrams





Image1There's always room for improvement, just ask Rena Nathanson, top banana at Bananagrams, who knew in her heart of hearts that tweaks could be made to the company's PairsinPears and Appletters games.

Her heart was in another place when the first games released in 2009 as she was caring for her ailing and now deceased father Abe Nathanson who was top banana of the Providence, R.I.-based company at the time.

When faced with what those changes would be, she reached out to educators, families and fans of the games both online and in print. A floodgate of responses laid the foundation for changes that have been incorporated into the updated versions of the games due for holiday 2012.

"We are hypercritical of what we do and were surprised at how positive everyone was and all we really needed to do was make some tweaks and additions," said Nathanson.

Some minor rule changes in Appletters "change the pace of the game play and result in a game that is more engaging, more rewarding, and overall gives the kids a more satisfying and fun experience. It is simply a better learning tool," said Nathanson. "And, because we couldn’t help ourselves, we added a couple of fun extra challenges that the whole family can enjoy. We want to make sure that each game we put on the shelves is loaded with ways to play and provides a lot of value for the family."

For PairsinPears it meant adding eight skill-building activities for younger players that are either just learning their ABCs or in the beginning stages of learning to read. These activities serve as building blocks for the skills they’ll eventually need to play the two competitive games.

These changes didn't come overnight. In fact, the marketing group spent six to eight months fine-tuning the games. Packaging on all new games will feature a more colorful tag highlighting the changes as well as instructions on how to download new instructions for the games for existing users.

The lesson to be learned in all of this, she said, is that "nobody and nothing is perfect. Manufacturers across the board think their product is perfect. Yet, there is always room for assessment and evaluation."

That's a great bunch of useful advice coming from a top banana!














































































































































































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