This past Wednesday, the Global Business Leadership Seminar Series hosted Heidi Bailey, the former brand manager for Lego, as the first in their four-part series. The Global Business Leadership Seminar Series is offered during the spring semester, and provides students with the opportunity to obtain a Professional Development Certificate from the School of Business if they attend three or more lectures.
Heidi Bailey began her seminar by giving a general overview of her role at Lego, stating that she had been an employee with the Denmark-based company for 27 years. Bailey spoke highly of the company, discussing the ways in which Lego has grown and expanded during her time there.
Several times throughout the lecture, Bailey was found praising the versatility of Legos, believing that the lack of words on instructions allowed Legos to be more universal for children around the world. She also stated that adults, like members of the Lego User Groups, were major consumers for the brand, and would often provide the company with free marketing.
Heidi Bailey then brought up Lego’s inclusion of brands like Disney Princesses and “Star Wars” among their toys. The process these brands went through in order to discern whether or not they were marketable was quite extensive, Bailey stating that they would think about “what’s right for the age, what’s right for the global marketplace and what do the children really respond to.” Bailey discussed how some brands, like Disney’s “Finding Dory,” would market well to younger audiences, while the Disney Channel original series “Elena of Avalor” was not adapted into Legos as the show did not reach a wide enough consumer base.
It was apparent that Bailey believed that understanding their audience was a major marketing factor for Lego, who tried to appeal to the nostalgia of parents as well as the child’s wants and needs for the toy. Bailey described the research that the company conducted over the years in order to diversify Lego’s consumer base, especially the research executed to increase marketability for young girls.
Bailey often praised the company culture of Lego, noting her experience with varying departments, giving her the opportunity to keep learning and growing during her time at the company. Bailey believed that the humility of Lego employees made for an enjoyable work environment, telling the audience that the founder of Legos used to say “only the best is good enough for children.”
Ashley Jacques, a second-semester marketing major, was interested in exploring the field of brand management.
“It was so cool to see someone come in and speak exactly about that [brand management]. I definitely want to come to more of these kind of things just to get a feel of where I would place myself in the future,” Jacques said. “Seeing what a company like Lego is like helps me get a feel for a large, global cooperation, and what kind of culture I would like in a business.”
Haley Anderson, a second-semester Business undecided major, agreed with Jacques, believing that Bailey’s seminar was highly informative.
“UConn doesn’t have an international business program so kind of getting these international companies coming in gives me a more broad perspective of what you don’t get in the classroom,” Anderson said.
After the lecture, Heidi Bailey opened up the floor for questions. Students asked questions concerning the company’s prosperity, their global marketability and Lego’s biggest competitors. After Bailey answered questions, the seminar came to a close.
The Global Business Leadership Seminar Series will host its next speaker on Feb. 28, giving students another opportunity to work toward obtaining their Professional Development Certificate.
Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.