Reading List: Small Data

The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends
January 30, 2016

Martin Lindstrom is not only the author of perceptive (and cleverly titled) books such as Buyology and Brandwashed, he’s also a branding consultant for many of the biggest and most famous brands in the world. His new book, Small Data, is filled with evidence from Lindstrom’s branding work proving that Big Data—masses of online consumer information—is not enough. The up-close, personal research Lindstrom calls small data is needed, too.

Small Data opens with the turnaround of Lego, a company so successful today that it’s a shock to discover it was in danger of crashing in the early 2000s. Big Data analysis always reached a dismal conclusion: “Future generations would completely lose interest in Lego.” But Lindstrom, in one of his small data studies, noticed a boy’s scuffed sneaker, the result of the boy’s passion for skateboarding. This led Lindstrom to conclude that kids would not abandon traditional toys and inspired Lego to reject Big Data analysis, focusing on its core products instead. By 2014, Lego passed Mattel as the world’s top toy maker.

By Martin Lindstrom
February; St. Martin's; $26

 

This article appears in the February 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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