The LEGO Group Named as One of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies

Here’s another win and recognition for LEGO. After last February’s achievements at the Toy of the Year Awards, The LEGO Group (TLG) has been selected to be part of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies.  The prestigious listicle highlights some of the companies that redefined and shaped their respective industries and has proven to be of significant, positive impact on the lives of consumers.

Roughly presented in five categories (Pioneers, Leaders, Innovators, Titans, and Disruptors), TLG managed to be recognized as one of the companies that broke new grounds even in these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what Time Magazine has to say:

The LEGO Group: Fostering Creativity

During worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns, LEGO creations have stacked up in homes with children. The company reported a 21% jump in sales, resulting from the immediate demand for in-home entertainment and the company’s pre-pandemic push to boost online sales globally. While its flagship product remains the classic brick, the 88-year-old family-owned company is evolving to recognize the diverse needs of young consumers with new offerings like Lego Braille Bricks and pandemic-inspired online content and hybrid learning resources. As families continue to hunker down, Lego love appears to be growing. “I have never gotten so many letters … [about] how important LEGO play has been,” CEO Niels B. Christiansen tells TIME.

Though LEGO has been in the business of making plastic bricks for more than 80 years, its innovation and forward-thinking strategies have proven to be invaluable in times of crisis such as this. And now that the world is under the grips of a disruptive pandemic, it’s great to know that the LEGO brick is still around to give some sort of respite from the daily stresses that we encounter. Kudos to The LEGO Group and to the millions of LEGO fans who made this possible.

The LEGO Group Finished Strong in 2020

The LEGO Group has recently published its annual financial report, and despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company finished 2020 on a high note. Boosting consumer sales by up to 21% for 2020, LEGO is perhaps one of the most resilient companies in the world that managed not only to survive but also thrive in the midst of the global health crisis.

Since 2017, LEGO managed to bounce back from less than desirable sales towards an upward trend of increasing growth, reaching its highest peak so far in 2020. Here are some of the main highlights of the LEGO Group’s 2020 annual financial report.

  • Performance-wise, the company had a 13% increase in revenue.
  • Sales were up to 20%.
  • LEGO Super Mario was 2020’s most successful launch, with up to 6 million (that is an insanely large number) digital instructions downloaded.
  • There are now 678 LEGO Stores worldwide, with 134 new stores added in 2020 alone.
  • The top 5 LEGO themes (in no particular order) that were sold in 2020 were: LEGO Technic, LEGO Star Wars (yep, the Force is still definitely strong with LEGO), LEGO City, LEGO Classic, and LEGO Friends.
  • LEGO will completely roll-out its paper bags to replace its single-use of plastic packaging.

But perhaps what impresses me more is the fact that LEGO managed to rise above the challenge of this pandemic, and was able to turn a seemingly problematic situation into an opportunity that benefits not just the company but also its faithful fans. As LEGO CEO Niels B. Christiansen puts it, “We are very pleased with these results. They show the timeless relevance of the LEGO brick and learning through play. This performance is also a testament to the passion, creativity, and resilience of our people. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, they worked tirelessly to keep the world playing.”

For more details of their 2020 financial performance, you can check out LEGO’s full press release and other details at LEGO.com. Congratulations to the LEGO Group and cheers to more great builds in 2021!

The LEGO Group

#LetsBuildTogether is LEGO’s Way of Helping Out During the COVID-19 Crisis

Allow me to say this outright: these are very anxious times. Even as I type this from my home due to an enforced community quarantine imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19, my mind is still racing with thoughts about the future. My kids are also starting to feel the agitation of being forced to stay at home now that we are entering the fourth week of this quarantine period. As a LEGO fan, one of the lifesavers that we have at home is our collection of LEGO sets that somehow offers a creative break to the mundane cycle of everyday waiting. I’m glad that there are guys like Tyler (from LEGO Masters US and one of the master builders behind Build Better Bricks) who took time to come up with a series of videos such as Quarantine Creations. These fun, how-to videos help children and adults alike to cope through this crisis using LEGO bricks. I guess everyone affected by this pandemic has an understanding of how important it is to develop ways of coping through these troubled times. The LEGO Group also understands this and has launched its #LetsBuildTogether campaign to help us all go through these hard times.

In response, the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation have launched two specific initiatives to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among families across the globe. The first is a donation of 50 million USD to support the continuous learning of children even during this time of emergency, and second is its #LetsBuildTogether initiative. The latter aims to somehow alleviate some of the strain and stress brought about of being confined at home while keeping children actively engaged and creative. It’s also a way of staying connected with each other through social media by encouraging builders to share their creation online and adding #LetsBuildTogether. LEGO even came up with a webpage that offers some brick-building activities that families can do at confines of their homes.

#LetsBuildTogether
Here are #LetsBuildTogether activities that families can try at home, courtesy of LEGO.

Some of the LEGO inspired building activities that you can try at home are these Daily Building Challenges which include building a trophy, a magical unicorn, a penguin, something spooky, a sheep, and a pirate ship. You can even come up with your own tablet and phone stand, a maze, or even a nightstand lamp. You can’t simply run out of ideas playing with LEGO bricks.

#LetsBuildTogether is LEGO’s way of giving back to the LEGO community during these difficult times, and I’m personally glad that LEGO is helping out. For more info about this program, you may read The LEGO Group’s official press release right here.

We just have to keep on building and hope that everything will always turn out to be awesome. Stay safe everyone!

LEGO-Tencent Partnership Extends for Additional Two Years

Earlier today, the LEGO Group has announced a renewed partnership with China’s and the world’s biggest game company. In a recent press release, this renewed LEGO-Tencent partnership extends the Memorandum of Understanding with the two companies, “further strengthening and expanding their strategic partnership in digital play experience for Chinese children”.

If you recall, LEGO and Tencent first entered into this working partnership back in 2018 to empower Chinese children to be prepared for a mostly digital future. This partnership saw the birth of the LEGO Video Zone with more than 800 LEGO-themed videos released in Tencent’s video channels, consequently being awarded with the distinction of being one of the top-10 most-viewed toy-branded video platforms in Tencent.

LEGO-Tencent Partnership
LEGO and Tencent’s LEGO Video Zone

Last year also saw the launch of Tencent’s LEGO Cube Mobile Game – a sandbox video game where kids can explore vast, seemingly never-ending lands made of LEGO bricks populated by LEGO minifigure characters. Aside from being an open-ended play experience, it also provided Chinese children with socialization opportunities with other children in a safe and friendly environment while teaching them the rudiments of 3D design, construction, and coding.

Tencent’s LEGO Cube Mobile Game.

For the next two years, LEGO and Tencent will continue to work together to bring more high-quality digital content, with particular emphasis and investment in creating a more robust digital social community akin to LEGO Life. Think of it as China’s version of LEGO Life that is not just for children but also for teenagers and younger LEGO fans as well. Additionally, the two child-centered companies will continue to develop software applications that will further fuse both physical and digital play in new ways that we haven’t seen before. As you may know already, LEGO has already placed considerable investment in adding an augmented reality component on its LEGO sets particularly with the introduction of the LEGO Hidden Side theme. Lastly, helping children learn the rudiments of robotics is still very much at the heart of the LEGO education system with the introduction of the LEGO Boost theme.

Personally, I’m excited to see what is in the works between LEGO and Tencent for the next two years. LEGO has continually pushed the boundaries of conventional play ever since it came out with its very first wooden toy back in the early days of the company. Any new technology that will enhance the LEGO play experience will be something that I will keep an eye on.

So what do you think of this renewed LEGO-Tencent partnership? What new play technologies do you think we will see in the next couple of years? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The LEGO Group Takes Over Bricklink

In a rather surprising turn of events this morning, The LEGO Group has officially announced that it will be taking over Bricklink – the world’s largest online marketplace by AFOLs for AFOLs – with the intent of “strengthening engagement” across its growing community of adult fans.

Bricklink

The announcement came in the form of an official press release issued by the company. Bricklink has been in existence for almost two decades when it began as a brainchild of LEGO fan Dan Jezek. Since then it has grown to be the world’s largest LEGO fan-based market place consisting of more than 10,000 stores across 70 countries. It was then acquired by NXMH LLC in 2013 by Korean entrepreneur Jung-Ju Kim.

According to LEGO top brass Niels B Christiansen, Bricklink’s acquisition of the LEGO Group will further deepen collaboration between the company and its growing number of brick fans. It is yet to be seen, however, on how this will be spelled out in actuality. Together with Bricklink, LEGO has also included in its acquisition Sohobricks – a clone brand that specializes in creating bricks that cater to artists and businesses.

Though I would like to give the benefit of the doubt on all of LEGO’s good intentions in taking over Bricklink, I couldn’t help but think about the repercussions that it may have on the many sellers out there on the Bricklink platform. As a fan-based and fan-driven LEGO marketplace, it has always thrived because of its decentralized nature without any corporate influence. So we’ll just have to see how LEGO will live up to its word in creating a more positive experience and engagement to all buyers and sellers in the marketplace. Hopefully, all of the details will be ironed out by the end of this year.

Here’s the complete press release as announced by LEGO, and feel free to comment down below on what you think will happen to Bricklink with the LEGO Group taking over.

The LEGO Group acquires BrickLink, the world’s largest online LEGO® fan community and marketplace to strengthen ties with adult fans

BILLUND, Denmark, November 26, 2019: The LEGO Group today announced it has acquired BrickLink Ltd (www.bricklink.com), the world’s largest online community of adult LEGO fans from NXMH to strengthen its connection with its important adult fan base.

The BrickLink platform has more than one million members and comprises an online marketplace of more than 10,000 stores from 70 countries; a digital building software where builders can design and showcase their creations; and a vibrant online community where fans share ideas and builds.

The platform was founded in 2000 by Dan Jezek as a way to connect like-minded adult LEGO fans from around the world. It was acquired in 2013 by NXMH, which is owned by Korean entrepreneur Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. BrickLink is headquartered in Irvine, California.

The LEGO Group CEO, Niels B Christiansen said: “Our adult fans are extremely important to us. They are passionate, committed and endlessly creative. We have worked closely with the community for many years and look forward to deepening our collaboration. We plan to continue to support BrickLink’s active marketplace and evolve BrickLink’s digital studio which allows our talented fans to take their creativity to the next level.”

Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, owner of NXMH, said: “It has been a privilege to lead the transformation of BrickLink during the past six years. I am grateful to the community for being so welcoming, supportive and constructive. I am constantly amazed by everyone’s endless creativity and their love for building. I am confident the platform will be in good hands with the LEGO Group. As a fan myself, I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

The LEGO Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Julia Goldin, said: “BrickLink provides the LEGO Group with a unique opportunity to connect with adult fans through new channels and exciting experiences. We’ve recently collaborated with BrickLink on a range of crowd-sourced sets to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brick. We learned a lot and are keen to explore more ways of working together to create value. We look forward to collaborating further with our adult fans, while retaining and nurturing the independent spirit of the digital platform.”

The acquisition also includes Sohobricks which makes small batches of building elements. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Closing is expected to occur before the end of 2019.

Give Your Bricks A New Home With LEGO Replay

The LEGO Group launches a new initiative that aims not only to support the company’s sustainability program but more so, to share the joy of playing and learning using LEGO bricks. Dubbed as LEGO Replay, this program intends to collect pre-owned LEGO bricks and sets, and have them donated to schools and children who will benefit from LEGO’s creative system of play. The program is initially available in the US, but I’m hoping that the love for the brick will gradually make its way in schools across other countries.

Here’s a short video on how LEGO Replay works followed by an official press release.

The LEGO Group to pilot new program LEGO® Replay in the United States

Check the attic and basement: Replay will take any previously used LEGO bricks and donate them to children’s non-profits across the country

October 8, 2019: Today, The LEGO Group announced the launch of LEGO® Replay, a pilot program that will accept any and all previously used LEGO bricks and donate them to children’s non-profits in the United States. The effort is a collaboration with Give Back Box, Teach For America, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.

The process is simple: collect any loose LEGO bricks, sets, or elements, place them into a cardboard box, and visit www.lego.com/replay to print out a free UPS shipping label. The package will be sent to the Give Back Box facility, where each brick will be sorted, inspected by hand, and given a rigorous cleaning. This process is possible because LEGO bricks are made from high-quality, durable materials, designed to be used for generations.

“We know people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks,” said Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group. “The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren. But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or to donate their bricks. With Replay, they have an easy option that’s both sustainable and socially impactful.”

Brooks and his team spent the past three years working on the project to ensure the process met the highest quality and safety standards and adhered to U.S. regulations. They then connected with Give Back Box, a charity dedicated to “recycling” 11 million tons of unused clothing, footwear, and other textiles that end up in U.S. landfills each year.

“I am excited to join the LEGO Group in this pilot program,” said Monika Wiela, founder of Give Back Box. “Growing up in Poland, I didn’t have many toys as a child, so this collaboration is rather personal for me. What’s better than giving a child the gift of play? For us, the number of donations we receive is critical to a successful campaign, so we’ve made it as easy as possible for folks at home to send in their idle bricks.”

Teach For America will receive the majority of the elements and will provide them to thousands of classrooms across the country.

“Learning through play can have a tremendous impact on a child’s cognitive development. Through play, children develop fine motor skills, think creatively, and can learn how to problem solve through teamwork,” said Susan Asiyanbi, Teach For America’s chief operating and program officer. “But not everyone has access to such resources. LEGO Replay, and the instructional resources they provide educators, will help give more students access to this opportunity.”

Bricks will also be sent to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for their after-school programs. Both non-profits can expect to receive the first shipments in November 2019. Once the pilot is complete in spring 2020, the LEGO Group will evaluate a possible expansion of the program.

LEGO Replay is one of the many sustainable and philanthropic efforts the LEGO Group has announced in the past year. Recent efforts include Plants from PlantsLEGO Braille Bricks and LEGO Audio & Braille Instructions.

LEGO Scores a Big Win in Lawsuit Against Lepin

Everything has a day of reckoning, and I guess Lepin is now in the threshold of their own. After the LEGO Group’s legal win against Lepin last year prohibiting the latter to package their fake LEGO products using dubiously similar box arts, The LEGO Group scores another win against the makers of Lepin and other similar companies when the Chinese legal courts now declared that the manufacture of these fake LEGO sets are considered illegal in the Chinese region. In a recent report submitted by TLG, the court’s decision represents “another significant legal victory in China for the LEGO Group in its battle against imitators over the past two years.” This successful lawsuit against Lepin, or specifically to Shantou Meizhi Model Co. and 3 other defendants, marks a triumph not only for The LEGO Group, but also to millions of LEGO fans around the world who trust the LEGO brand.

According to the court’s decision, the four defendants are to “immediately cease producing, selling, exhibiting or in any way promoting the infringing products”. On top of that, Lepin’s manufacturer and the rest of the defendants are too pay TLG 4.5 million RMB, approximately equal to $650,000 USD.

According to LEGO CEO Niels B. Christiansen, “We welcome the court’s ruling. We believe these decisions are well-founded in the facts and the law, and clearly demonstrate the continued efforts of Chinese authorities to protect intellectual property. It also shows the authorities’ commitment to creating a fair business environment for all companies operating in China. The court’s decisions state that the LEPIN manufacturer and sellers must immediately cease copying the 18 LEGO sets that have been found protectable by the court. These rulings send a clear warning message to other companies who may be copying LEGO products. We will continue to take all necessary legal actions to protect our intellectual property rights.”

Lepin has been notorious in copying many of LEGO’s themed and licensed sets – they’re so good in imitating LEGO products that they can quickly come up with a counterfeit set even before the release date of a certain LEGO product. This is true, especially with the recent LEGO Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City (75222) set. They’ve also shown an acute sense of insensitivity in lifting certain designs from AFOLs and rebrand them as their own. Now that this recent lawsuit against Lepin has been finally decided, I hope that this will send a very clear message to other manufacturers of fake LEGO products. If you wish to find out more about these manufacturers and their counterfeit LEGO sets, check out this report on Chinese LEGO knock-off brands right here.

LEGO Ranks First Among Europe’s Most Reputable Companies for 2018

In this day and age, the public’s perception on anything and everything can come a long way towards the formation of opinions. Statistically gauging the reputation levels of businesses, organizations and even nations has been the work of the private research and advisory agency the Reputation Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recently, the Reputation Institute conducted a survey to determine who among Europe’s most reputable companies is considered first among the countries of the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy. A total of 87,000 general public respondents from those nations provided the data mined by RI.

According to the Reputation Institute’s “RepTrak” rankings, Denmark’s The LEGO Group is the company with the highest public reputation in the EU5. It’s followed on the list by German industrial firm Bosch GmbH and Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex. The response to the survey on reputation is a measure of an everyday person’s “emotional bond” with a company that is quantified.

The RepTrak survey is the RI’s standardized framework that “reveals how this deep connection can drive supportive behaviour such as the intent to purchase, likelihood to recommend and willingness to work for the company” according to the Institute’s press release.

For completion’s sake, we will now include a Top 10 list of Europe’s Most Reputable Companies in 2018 as compiled by the Reputation Institute.

  1. LEGO
  2. Bosch
  3. Rolex
  4. Sony
  5. Samsung
  6. Canon
  7. Michelin
  8. Walt Disney Company
  9. Adidas
  10. Amazon

LEGO’s stellar corporate-level reputation according to RI is due to “commitment to building a strong corporate brand, investment in corporate social responsibility and a deep sense of purpose to drive greater levels of engagement among its key stakeholders.” Despite some hiccups in its recent earning reports, LEGO does just that.

LEGO Finds New Global Director of Play in Scottish Highlands Head Teacher

There are always many ways to tackle a problem or accomplish an objective, and The LEGO Group has a variety of approaches under its umbrella to promote its message of learning through play, such as with LEGO Foundation. This educational branch of LEGO has been looking for a new Global Director of Play, and they found him in the Scottish Highlands.

Ollie Bray, age 40, has been serving as head teacher for the Kingussie High School since five years ago, where he had set aside the regular curriculum for the 450-student institution for “joyful” project-based learning. But now LEGO Foundation is counting on him copy his success to everywhere in the world the LEGO Foundation reaches, as the foundation’s new Global Director of Play.

In his new job, Bray will find himself overseeing the LEGO Foundation’s global initiatives that seek to accomplish one of the brand’s most important points: connecting play with education.

According to him, “Learning through play is widely accepted in the early years and my job will be to find ways of extending it by incorporating it into the curriculum for older children.” This aligns with LEGO Foundation’s prevailing idea that current educational practices put “an outdated emphasis on standardized testing and rote learning” that prepares its students for the world “yesterday”, not today or tomorrow.

But Ollie Bray also opines that what education and learning needs is much less “fun” and more “enjoyment”; fun can potentially be without purpose, while adding joy to the purpose of education motivates students to identify problems and solve them.

And it seems other institutions, inspired by LEGO, are jumping into the “learning with play” bandwagon. The year before, the prestigious Cambridge University took on its first “Professor of Play”, Paul Ramchnadani, thanks to funding provided by the LEGO Foundation.

Source: The Guardian

Find Your New Recruit Campaign in Bristol, UK Features LEGO Minifigures

We’ve seen LEGO being used in realms well outside simple play, from building scientific equipment to being used to rally charitable donations. Now, it’s finding use in the UK, particularly in the west of England, to draw public attention to a growing problem: skill gap between recruits and available work.

Certain jobs net a particular set and level of skills gained from education or training, and the sad thing is, 70% of businesses in western England – almost three-fourths – have problems hiring employees to fill vacancies because the labor pool tends to lack in skilled workers. Bristol is such a case.

Skill West, a business advice outfit, has decided to launch a public campaign in the city to increase public awareness on skills gap that results in large numbers of job vacancies due to under and non-qualification. They’re using LEGO minifigures of people in various professions as part of the “Find Your New Recruit” encouragement drive.

0_HBR_BRI_17_Lego-map-skills-west

In line with this, Skills West is scattering work-themed LEGO minifigures in famous landmarks of Bristol. Any worker or business owner who finds these LEGO minifigures can take them back to their workplaces, snap a photo of the minifigure inside their offices, and post the pictures on Twitter under hash-tag #pledgeyoursupport.

Selfies of the “Find Your New Recruit” campaign minifigures will be entered into an online raffle, with winning employees/employers to be treated to an “experience day” courtesy of Skills West and their partners. The organization head Nicky Williams states that west England is in a low-unemployment rate period similar to 1975; he says that while good, in the long run that situation “intensifies the problems local businesses are having when it comes to finding skilled people to join their team.”

Experiences being discussed for “Find Your New Recruit” include trade apprenticing, on-the-job-training for students and career fairs. Williams hopes the campaign gets local businesses to offer these activities which Skills West will then match to individual jobseekers or employment organizations.

Source: Bristol Live