The Lego Story Of Using“Small Data” Insights To Reclaim ‘Lost’ Customer Attention

small data

Lately Big Data has been a part of numerous talks and discussions, online and offline, in books, conferences and seminars, but a marketer Martin Lindstrom has something refreshing to highlight. It is about the worth of “Small Data” that brands choose to ignore in blinding light of the Big Data. One cannot simply ignore his arguments as they are supported by solid proofs staring on the faces of those who dare to deny it.

Martin Lindstrom is the author of Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends. But even before authoring the book he is valued for his keen observation of small-but-important detailsof habits of the demographics. His work with the Lego brand back in 2004 is what brought him in the notice of others.

The Lego Story

At the very beginning it was a hit with every kid and then the tides turned; 1980s were the first years of its decline due to newer toys and video games and 1990s brought more bad news. And the most popular solution of brand diversification was not helping. Things like theme parks, movie tie-ins, merchandising, etc. were not working.

What was wrong?Probably Big Data!

With time emerged a name, Digital Natives, attributed to those born in 1980s who were thought to be fidgety and needed things to keep them perpetually occupied. Lego’s Big Data cued that these people do not find creativity liberating and are not looking for challenging activities. This research compelled them to come up bigger blocks and lesser details to appease the said need of instant gratification. But sales continued to dip!

What changed then?

Headed by Lindstrom, the Lego team met and stayed with a German Boy who loved Lego to gain some significant insight. The boy happened to a serious interest in skateboard and worked really hard to master his sport. The long hours he poured in mastering his passion made his sneakers a prized possession as shown by its rough use.

This “Small Data” was eye-opener that led to the realisation that people still love to dedicated time and efforts to the activities (involving creation of any type) they feel worth sharing. And Lego captured this in its next batch of its product, detailed small blocks more challenging and attention-demanding.

And Lego never had to look back since then!

And it’s not only Lego

The ideas propagated by Lindstrom are now accepted and implemented by other brands. Small insignificant details are making the big differences in brands that customers love.

And these details are uncovered by close observation which sometimes even required looking into their refrigerators or dumpsters and staying with the family with their permission of course.

And oftentimes, the data extracted is not exactly about the brand / product itself but the hidden desire of target audience that brand can target to get intimately associated with their users.

This could be guessed by a vacuum cleaner brand Roomba that are cute to look at and quick to work. People who own it love to even show it off.

More and more brands are realising and accepting the importance of small data, and are gaining entrance in the heart of their customers!

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