LEGO: The brand that was built piece by piece
LEGO has come a long way. It started out as a small Danish carpenter’s workshop and has grown into a huge multinational. Today it is one of the world’s leading toy manufacturers.
The brand was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen; and until 1949 it was almost exclusively dedicated to producing wooden toys. Its name is an abbreviation of two Danish words, “leg godt,” which means “play well.” The LEGO brick is its most important product, an international icon, which is why the company has twice received the “Toy of the Century” award.
It all started in 1932, in Billund, Denmark, when carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen decided to start again and set up a wooden toy workshop, following the bankruptcy of his business and the death of his wife, Kristine. In 1934, he named it LEGO.
With the Great Depression raging through Europe, Ole had to reduce his production costs, as people barely had money to buy furniture, build or remodel their homes. This made him focus on smaller projects, making miniature versions of his products as samples. These models inspired him to start producing new toys.
Eight years later his factory burned down, leading to the total loss of the business. So once again, Ole started from scratch, this time making not only wooden but also plastic toys. It was in 1949 that he dedicated himself exclusively to the latter material.
Over the years, LEGO products have undergone several evolutions, but always maintaining the essence based on the traditional and nostalgic LEGO brick. It’s the perfect starting block for children all over the world, to stimulate their imagination and build their own toys, thus generating a game system made up of cities, buildings, streets, characters, animals and different transport vehicles.
When it was first created, the pieces were yellow, but today there are several formats and colors. The company maintains a constant innovative dynamic, but always focused on its founding values. As such, its directors never cease to develop new marketing actions, ranging from launching children’s magazines, books or numerous new corporate touches, to the creation of a website where customers can make their own designs and then acquire all the necessary pieces for the construction of these models.
Currently, LEGO continues to be a family business that offers the market thousands of motifs in its game system. Among them are themes dedicated to Space, Vikings, pirates, medieval castles, dinosaurs, cities; various tourist destinations; films such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters; among many others. Likewise, in addition to its Legoland theme parks, and its famous game boxes, the group offers hotels around the world.
One of the brand’s greatest and first large-scale marketing actions was precisely the opening of Legoland in Denmark, which exceeded 625,000 visitors in its first season. On a business level, it continues to demonstrate its great potential with huge sales success. In 2012, for example, LEGO’s net profit reached 752 million euros, 35% more than in the previous year, a figure that continues to increase annually.
Undoubtedly, LEGO offers a world full of imagination, creativity and inspiration, which even in recent years is having a significant influence within some business processes through the Lego Serious Play method – a technique that encourages reflection, communication and problem solving, which can be used by organizations, teams and individuals in general.