Everyone knows what youre talking about when you say the word Lego. The snappable brick has been a staple in homes across the globe since its inception in 1932, and its longevity is no stroke of luck.
The company has stayed true to its core mission of motivating children to think creativity. But it has also evolved with the times by way of constantly changing marketing initiatives -- from partnering with NASA on a project that allows kids to construct "aircraft of the future to premiering a Lego-building kit for the new Superman movie Man of Steel.
What makes the toy companys message so infectious and how can you similarly embody it? Here are the four building blocks of Legos success:
1. Consistency is key.
Legos quality standards are top-notch. Every Lego brick is uniquely numbered to correlate with the mold it came from. Through this method, Lego has been able to boast one of the most consistent products in history. Pieces as far back as 1958 (the date when the first modern Lego block was developed), still click right in with today's Legos. The company has produced various play sets and developed other components, but the consistency of the actual product has remained the same. As a young entrepreneur, it is important to continually deliver high-quality products or services and exceed customers' expectations.
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2. Build collaboration into the design process.
While design is a factor in Lego's success, it was almost the architect of its downfall. The late 1990s felt like a boom for the company. Sales were up, theme park LEGOLAND opened its first US location in Carlsbad, Calif. and kids were stacking bricks like there was no tomorrow. With this success, Lego made an error in judgment -- it let its design team run wild. The number of uniquely-designed bricks went from 7,000 to 12,400, causing production costs to increase but demand didn't follow suit. Instead of launching into a downward spiral, the crisis inspired the company to rethink its design process. Lego implemented a collaborative decision-making process, meaning every proposal was put to a vote within the design team. Lego is now back down to 7,000 parts and going strong. For a young entrepreneur it is important to steer your ship, but don't dismiss the power of teamwork and seeking feedback from employees, along with customers.
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3. Make your mission clear.
Legos mission statement: "Our ultimate purpose is to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future -- experiencing the endless human possibility."
Its easy to see this concept in every single one of Legos products, and its focus makes the product a no-brainer decision for parents. When you are launching your startup, take time on your mission statement. It is the foundation of your company, it will help keep you on track and the values provided are what customers will remember you by.
4. Keep on inspiring.
The Adult Fans of Lego is a massive organization made up of Lego devotees that organize meet-ups worldwide, both offline and online on sites like Reddit. Theyre a testament to Legos ability to inspire the imaginations of every kid and follow them into adulthood. By developing a product that continually evokes creativity, people will not only remember it but return to it.
What established brand has inspired you through its success? Let us know which one and why in the comments below.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.