GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY
Faced with growing competition from video games and the Internet, and worried that Lego bricks were old-fashioned, Lego was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 2000s. Lego refocused on what they’d always known, but lost sight of… that children learn through play, but don’t get enough of the ‘free-range creativity’ that really benefits them. In addition, parents value toys that encourage learning.
It was time to get serious about play again. Lego invested in becoming THE "Play Expert." For example, funding the Lego Foundation to study early childhood development and a Professor of Play at Cambridge University. They committed to creating innovative play experiences, and reaching more children every year.
The company’s best year ever was 2015, with Lego bricks reaching around 100 million children, the culmination of years of growing loyalty amongst customers.
Recently, however, things are looking less than rosy. Partly this is due to the fact that the toy industry like every other is cyclical. Partly though it’s maybe because Lego has once again slightly lost sight of its Purpose, becoming perhaps too reliant on the latest Star Wars licensed building sets.
Lego is still though market leader, owning about two thirds of the global market in construction toys.
Financial success follows Purpose. Lego’s family owners see financial growth as consequent on achieving their more purposeful objectives.
Stay focused: Lego keeps learning the hard way the need to stay true to its Purpose. Staying relevant isn’t the same as following the herd.