Last week, I had the opportunity to be 1 of 3 guest lecturers to participate in Dr. Lisa Scheer’s “Contemporary Issues in Marketing” class at the University of Missouri – Columbia. When I took this class many years ago, it was by far, the most beneficial class I had in college. So when Dr. Scheer approached me about this opportunity I had to say yes!
The students in this class are Juniors and Seniors who have been admitted into the Robert J. Trulaske Business School. This class studies what’s happening at the macro-environment level and how trends and events affect industries, markets, and consumers. There is a large focus on current events and The Wall Street Journal is required reading.
Our goal as guest speakers was to determine a specific macro-environmental trend or event and discuss the ramifications of that for our companies (including through impacts on our customers, employees or competitors). The industries represented were Creatacor for tradeshows and events, TRUE Private Wealth Management for financial investment and IPONWEB for digital media. Our common trend was automation and the future of work.
A familiar theme in the class is to question what you read so I chose to show an opposing viewpoint to the topic and demonstrate how face-to-face marketing is key to the tradeshow and events industry. With little room for automation, the LEGO® Americana Roadshow (LEGO ARS) was a perfect (and fun) example of the importance of direct interaction with the end user. For LEGO, the “brick in hand” experience is key so everyone in the class received a LEGO Americana Roadshow Make & Take kit – a miniature Lincoln Memorial to build and keep.
LEGO’s Play Promise is “The JOY of building. The PRIDE of creation”. On tour, the LEGO Play Area and tour staff are key components to the tour and showing this promise. In this free-play space children have the opportunity to play with brick and other properties at Play Tables and Race Ramps (The JOY of building). They can also display their creation in display cases (The PRIDE of creation).
Brand ambassadors (BAs) are encouraged to engage with both children and the adults with them. BAs are there to help guide new builders who aren’t familiar with LEGO brick, to help give inspiration to the child who needs a little help getting their creation started and answer questions that they might have. When connecting with parents, BAs are answering questions about LEGO and the tour and getting to know the attendees.
Other important brand ambassador duties are responding to issues or concerns of attendees, tracking attendance and managing the Make & Take event (again, another opportunity to focus on the brick in hand experience).
These interactions and responsibilities are not something that can be automated but they are paramount to the future success of the LEGO Americana Roadshow. The feedback gathered by brand ambassadors is one element that is shared all the way up to LEGO senior management to help track the success of the LEGO ARS.
The LEGO Americana Roadshow is a highly visual, educational and free traveling installation of larger-than-life LEGO models of America’s national landmarks. Creatacor has managed all aspects of the tour since its start in 2014. The roadshow has a national reach, with 8-10 event locations each year.
The conversation sparked quite a few great questions from Dr. Scheer and the students alike. I’m glad I was able to introduce our great industry to a group of students who will very soon be a part of the workforce.