Did the Exploratory Process Save LEGO?

Ten years ago, Danish toymaker LEGO was experiencing double digit losses annually, and was at risk of debt default. A decade later, in 2015, the company reported a 25% increase in revenues and a 31% jump in profits. How’d that happen? That’s the question answered by branding expert and best-selling author Martin Lindstrom in his recent article for LinkedIn Pulse. Lindstrom was retained by LEGO in 2004 to understand and reverse the company’s downward spiral. At the time, LEGO had reams of “big data” that concluded that LEGO had no future, due to the exploding popularity of video games and millennials’ desire for instant gratification and more excitement than building blocks could provide.

That dismal outlook changed dramatically the day LEGO marketers talked to an eleven-year-old boy in Germany. What they thought they knew, based on interpretations of “big data,” was completely wrong. Only by exploring with their young customer to understand his passions, needs and motivations were LEGO leaders able to develop a vision, and map a path to success.

Considered one of the world’s foremost branding gurus, Lindstrom is known for recognizing big implications and opportunities in the smallest of details. Often, those “details” come from exploratory conversations or observation to uncover consumers’ true purchase motivations. And while LEGO’s story is remarkable, it will not be surprising to those who have experienced the power of the Exploratory Process and effective listening practices as a means of driving successful sales outcomes. Read Lindstrom’s complete article here: LEGO engineered a remarkable turnaround of its business. How’d that happen?

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