Sine Klitgaard Møller is a design director at Lego Licensing and has worked for the LEGO group since 1995. She has vast experience in doing research with families. The LEGO company is insight driven, meaning they base new product development on research findings rather than relying on assumptions and churning out new merchandise without much thought. This is why LEGO is still at the forefront of the children’s toy industry, being nominated the most powerful global brand earlier this year.
We had the pleasure of working with Sine during a project for LEGO® wear
— the children’s wear brand that goes the extra mile for families by understanding and supporting their lives. She has kindly given us some time to answer a few questions.
AT LEGO YOU DO A LOT OF RESEARCH, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TALK TO PEOPLE?
“You can have an idea of what you think things are like, but you don’t know for sure if that is the case. When talking to parents they will tell you their ideal picture of what they would like their lives to be like, not necessarily what their lives are actually like. For example, mums often tell us they are trying to stimulate their child creatively and would like toys that help them do so. But when digging a bit deeper it becomes clear that it is not only about creativity but also about trying to get the child to play on its own for a few minutes so mum can get on with other things for a while.”
WE FIND THAT THE CHILDREN’S INDUSTRY IS PARTICULARLY PRONE TO PREJUDICE, EVERYONE KNOWS A CHILD AND OFTEN FEEL THEY HAVE A GOOD GRASP OF THEIR PREFERENCES. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
“Doing research is not about proving what you have in your head. At LEGO Licensing staff are encouraged not to say “my kids like… or my cousin’s children like …” it’s simply not credible. You would never trust a medical scientist who says: – my kids like this medicine and they didn’t get sick”
CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT YOU GOT FROM RESEARCHING WITH KIDS THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE FOUND OUT OTHERWISE?
“One of the big take outs from the LEGO® Wear research that we wouldn’t have found without research was that LEGO wear needs to be easy, not fashionable or trendy. We also learnt fathers take on dressing children & what they want from children’s clothing. That meant we can tailor advertising to include dads and show things from a dad’s perspective, i.e. how to match clothes, and how easily it washes etc. That is a totally new ‘hook’ we can use.”
AT WHAT STAGE OF A PROJECT DO YOU DO RESEARCH?
“We do research at all stages of a project. In the beginning to define the brief, and then we have play tests every week where kids are invited into LEGO to try toys that are in development. We also do packaging tests in the final stages of a project, and sometimes even after a project is done to evaluate the outcome.”
HOW DO YOU FIND KIDS TO WORK WITH?
“We use consultancies who can find us children with the right criteria, such as age and gender. We are also in touch with a few kindergardens where we have a sign-up system for those interested in taking part in research with parents approval.”
KIDS ARE UNPREDICTABLE, HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOU GET THEM TO FEED BACK ON WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO?
“Although keeping an open mind you need to be super clear on what you want to get out of the research. And then you need need simple straightforward questions. When doing group tests you have to be aware of group dynamics and peer pressure. For example in a shopping scenario where kids are asked something along the lines of: ‘If you have £10 what would you buy?’, if someone picks a thing someone else also likes they may not realise it can be picked again despite there just being one sample piece of clothing.”
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE RESEARCH AFTER A PROJECT?
We transfer the knowledge from research between other projects. We have a common share and we constantly re-visit research.
CAN YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF A RESEARCH FINDING THAT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY TRANSLATED INTO A PRODUCT?
“LEGO Friends — LEGO bricks made specifically for girls — is a good example. It started with many years heavy research before we launched the products. We were under the assumption that girls don’t like to build, but they do, they just think they can’t do it –– the company’s tag line is ‘creating the builders of tomorrow’ –– if we want to support children to become the builders of tomorrow, and we are going to have female engineers we had better get girls building.”
A big Thank You to Sine for talking to us!11th November 2015