Follow Lego’s lead: build the foundation for growth

Are you working with facts or are you making assumptions? If it’s the former, you are steering your business on the correct bearing, but if it’s the latter, you could be costing your company serious money, as Lego recently learned according to this story in Businessweek.

The creative building blocks have long been associated with boy toys, with Lego having failed to build girl-themed lines several times in the past. But the iconic brand did its homework and assembled a new line, Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 and up, and started offering the toys at stores this month.

Lego embedded research teams with families across the globe to learn why the toys appealed to children of both sexes, and in the process, the researchers learned a thing or two about assumptions the firm had been making, Businessweek reports. For example, Lego had simplified its building sets to provide immediate gratification in this era of computer games and supposedly short attention spans. However, the research showed that boys placed great importance on such game aspects as scoring, ranking and levels of play to demonstrate their mastery to other kids.

Lego also learned that girls thought its products lacked these aesthetic traits: harmony, with everything in its place, providing order; friendly colors; and a high level of detail. While boys tend to build rapidly to finish a kit according to the box’s design, girls tend to stop during the building and start storytelling and rearranging the design. So, Lego has designed its new line to allow girls to start playing various scenarios without finishing the entire model.

The new line also introduces new colors and girl minifigs that are taller and curvier than the standard minifigs because girls tend to project themselves onto the minifig and need a figure they could identify with.

If your company has been doing business as usual for longer than you can recall, maybe it’s time to think outside the (Lego) box and do some brainstorming. You might learn you’ve been losing out on good opportunities.


Barbie and Ken – the couple that accessorizes together, stays together

It’s official – Barbie and Ken are back together!

(Cue: Falling balloons and champagne corks popping).

I had no idea America’s favorite plastic couple had previously split. But this report on CNN/Money says the pair went their separate ways in 2004. Maybe I was too caught up in life back then to have caught the news. Or maybe Ken and Barbie’s PR firm worked diligently to keep the news under wrap then.

All kidding aside, this “announcement” today, on Valentine’s Day, is a brilliant move by Mattel. Barbie Inc. has been battling Bratz dolls for some time, and Barbie had been on the decline until recently. So, while this announcement is a gimmick, it also could build great buzz for the brand. Certainly, a couple that has had a rocky relationship reflects reality more readily than a picture-perfect relationship like Barbie and Ken previously had.

As the saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.” That’s not always true, but in this case, it works.

By the way: Happy birthday to Jason’s Marketing Primer! I launched this blog one year ago today. I plan for 2011 to be an even more prolific year than 2010!

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