Lego’s Gender Bender

As a male who grew up playing with Lego toys, I never thought they were only for boys.  After reading Businessweek’s article about Lego’s decision to go after the “girl” market, I started thinking back on my childhood.  I remembered my two younger sisters not playing with Lego Blocks, but then again when I was playing with Lego Blocks they were only blocks that came with the wide hipped, bright yellow toned skinned men.  Legos have certainly evolved since then; which makes sense that their business model is now shifting.

In January, Lego released a new set called Lego Friends, dedicated to girls.  This new set includes a cast of characters that have been updated from the toupee wearing, yellow block men of the past.  Instead, these female cast of characters are not only equipped with great accessories but with back stories.  The team at Lego didn’t stop there; they also changed the way the Lego construction blocks are packaged and have made these Logo Friends online interactive.  Needles to say, the team at Lego definitely did their homework with this one.

But will it work?

Lego spent years, decades, carving a clever niche in the “boy” market.  Money and time spent on marketing, research development, to make sure all boys in the modern world wanted…nay needed Legos.  Is Lego adjusting to the times or are they biting off more than they can chew?

When reading the Businessweek article, I thought about my business.  The bank I work at has a certain target market which we pursue.  In order for us to go after a completely new niche, there would have to be several changes that would need to happen.  In order to make those changes happen, valuable time and additional funds would need to focus on our new demographic; but we would also need to give enough attention to our current customer base/niche so that we would not lose market share in that valuable area.

In other words, we would end up trying to satisfy everyone and not exceed anybody’s expectations.  We would become the status quo, or even worse, we would become like Mega Blok, the generic/knockoff answer to Lego (no offense to Mega Blok fans).

Think of your business, are you currently focused on one niche?  Would it make sense for your company to seek out a new, different market?  If so, what would it take to change?  Are you willing to dedicate the effort and time it takes to make that change?

Good luck to Lego, I hope they can pull it off and make it a true success story.

And now for something completely different.

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