LEGO has been named the world’s most powerful brand according to Brand Finance’s yearly Global 500 rankings, unseating previous title-holder, Disney. The annual rankings are based on factors such as brand familiarity, loyalty, marketing investment, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation.
Image courtesy of Bram Van Laere
LEGO has come a long way from wooden toys to plastic bricks and the licensing empire it is known for today. According to the report, LEGO’s brand strength is based on its appeal that spans generations, evidenced in the fact that LEGO bricks from 1958 are still compatible with their modern day iterations. That nostalgia and creative freedom, combined with a decade of solid marketing, financial gains and successful licensing product lines, helped take the company from near-bankruptcy in the early 2000s to its current number-one brand ranking.
Coffee giant Starbucks announced this week that it is adding Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman of the LEGO Brand Group, to its board of directors. Knudstorp is generally credited with turning around LEGO during a difficult time for the global company over a decade ago.
It may be time to stock up on LEGO if you are in the UK. Due to the falling worth of the pound in the post-BREXIT world, LEGO has confirmed that all prices in the UK will increase 5% as of January 1st. While that is only a few extra coins on smaller sets, it represents an extra £20 on the Death Star, currently priced at £400.
The price hike was announced in a letter from LEGO’s UK and Ireland’s general manager and vice-president, Fiona Wright. The letter explains the increased prices are the “direct result of the continued devaluing of the UK pound,” and that prices may increase again in the “event of a further negative trend.”
For context, since the UK voted to leave the EU in June, the pound has decreased 16% against the U.S. dollar. Due to these fluctuations, many companies and manufacturers have been increasing prices across the UK, especially on imported goods.
Image created by TBB’s own Elspeth De Montes
LEGO is shaking up their box of bricks and appointing a new toymaker in chief.
Long credited as the man who saved LEGO in 2004, CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp will be replaced by Bali Padda, LEGO’s current chief operations officer, on January 1. Padda is British and will be the first non-Dane to lead the company. He has been with LEGO 14 years, starting in Enfield, Connecticut, and has in the past mentioned his desire for greater market expansion throughout the world, focusing on Asia.
Bali Padda will become the new CEO Jan. 1
Before you think that Knudstorp is off to take a well-deserved vacation, LEGO also announced the formation of a new parent-like LEGO Brand Group that he will head, as well as being named chairman of LEGO’s board of directors. The new group’s purpose is to increase brand cohesion and efficiency across all products, not just the interlocking bricks, and to pursue further partnership opportunities beyond its theme parks, Hollywood movies, television shows and video games. The new parent group will also serve as a way for the Kristiansen clan, Denmark’s richest family and private owners of LEGO, to become more personally active in all brand efforts.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, left, with Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation owner of the LEGO Group.
Oddly enough, this reorganization leaves the new LEGO CEO with fewer responsibilities and more time to focus on plastic bricks and sets. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this move will have on the LEGO fan community, but 2017 is shaping up to be quite an interesting year.
Press releases after the break.
As much as some of us may have wished otherwise, The LEGO Group — and the toys it produces — needed to change if it was to survive the near-bankruptcy it experienced five years ago. Looking back today, from the throes of the most serious global economic crisis since the Great Depression, it’s hard to believe that LEGO is experiencing record profits. And yet it is.
Read Turning to Hollywood Tie-Ins, Lego Thinks Beyond the Brick in the New York Times to learn how the company charted a course to recovery. Oh, and look for the quote from me on page 4.
So, dear readers, how do you feel about the sacrifices that LEGO has made to survive in the modern world? Sound off in the comments.
Check out this 20-minute interview with LEGO CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp by MONACLE magazine editor Tyler Brûlé
Thanks to the magic of Google Video, you can watch it right here on The Brothers Brick: