Lego goes 360

Jason Chuck & Nathan Cahill

Once upon a time in the pre-internet world, advertising was a (relatively) simple concept. Decide on a budget, split it up between newspaper, magazine, a choice of two television channels and radio, and hope that some of it worked. Marketers would try and measure the success by looking at sales figures, customer attitude surveys and brand recall, but the saying ‘I know half of my advertising spend is wasted, I just don’t know which half’ arose for a reason.

The rise of the internet, pay television, mobile computing, sponsorship and social media has dramatically increased the opportunities marketers have to reach consumers, but also creating a more fractured and cloudy environment. In this splintered landscape, the concept of integrated marketing communication (IMC) has evolved to provide clarity, consistency and a seamless message across multiple and diverse communication channels.

Integrated marketing has taken a leap forward with the advent of Web 2.0, evolving into ‘synchronised’ or ‘360-degree marketing’. Unlike the original concept of integrated marketing, where the focus was on consistency of message across mediums, synchronised marketing take this approach further by advocating consistency of brand voice across all product touch points.

This has implications for not only advertising media selection and creative strategy, but far wider reaching consequences right across the marketing mix. From product design to distribution strategies and pricing, 360-degree marketing take companies from producing and selling products to creating experiences.

Lego – building blocks to success

Perhaps nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than in the toy industry. Over the last 10 years, Lego has been leading the way, rising to become the biggest toy manufacturer in the world.

This was achieved on the back of their first flirt with financial ruin in the 1990s. Following their first net loss, the company reinvented itself from a focus on engineering, to a customer focus. According to their vice-president of marketing and consumer experiences, Conny Kalcher, “If you want to be a premium brand you have to keep demonstrating that you are listening.”

360 Degree marketing lesson 1: Laser focus on the customer

In order to focus on the consumer, it is vital to give them an opportunity to engage with the brand across as many touch points as possible. In the world of social media and Web 2.0, this could mean blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, but for brands such as Lego they have been able to take this a step further. Lego has branched into movies, computer games and theme parks to engage further with their client base and spread the message of their product.

360 degree marketing lesson 2: evolve from being a media consumer to a media creator

As well as creating their own content, Lego facilitate their fan base to create and distribute content. Remember when Felix Baumgartner sky dived from the edge of space as a promotion for Red Bull? Not 24 hours later a lego version of the same event appeared on YouTube. The best advertising is the kind you don’t even need to pay to create. As Kalcher explains, “It’s not push marketing – we think differently about social media. The consumers facilitate dialogue and sharing and that’s where you can really accelerate your marketing. It’s about stimulating that relationship with them.”

360 degree marketing lesson 3: encourage and facilitate customer communities

The beauty of this approach is that addresses one of the biggest shortcomings of IMC – an ability to react quickly and adapt to consumer sentiment. By its nature, IMC requires high levels of planning to coordinate messages across media channels, making it very rigid and inflexible. 360 degree marketing, facilitated by social media and real-time feedback from clients, allows the company to evolve its message quickly in response to consumer reaction.

360 degree marketing lesson 4: Respond and evolve the message in response to feedback

As the example of Lego illustrates, synchronised marketing has the opportunity to not only boost sales and strengthen a brand, but build a community of brand advocates who will create content, initiate dialogue and drive sales on your behalf.

  • Have you ever been inspired to advocate a brand to this level?
  • Are there any brands to whom you feel enough connection to create a video in their honour?
  • What content could your company create to engage and open dialogue with your customers?

References

http://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/marketing-and-strategy-terms/10739-360-degree-branding.html

http://www.marketingprofs.com/4/syrett2.asp

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/04/15/well-played-how-lego-rebuilt-its-brand-brick-brick

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/03/18/were-turning-media-company-lego-vp-marketing-and-consumer-experiences

http://www.mandmglobal.com/news/18-03-15/lego-marketing-boss-conny-kalcher-to-be-a-pre.aspx

https://www.marketingweek.com/2015/03/23/legos-vp-of-marketing-on-movies-listening-to-customers-and-360-marketing/

http://www.liquidcatalyst.com.au/index.php/blog/item/12-what-is-syncronised-marketing

http://www.desantisbreindel.com/integrated-marketing-is-no-longer-enough/

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33 thoughts on “Lego goes 360

  1. A really intelligent blog Jason & Nathan, congratulations! I’ve never been that “touched” or inspired by an event or brand to the point that I would advocate to that level. I may tell someone about how good it is, but that’s as far as it goes. It just goes to show that you can’t rest on your laurels & need to evolve with your customer/target audience to stay relevant & in the forefront of their minds & therefore, their decisions in regards to purchases. I guess this is how you maintain brand loyalty, apart from making a quality product that the consumer has tried & tested.

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    • Thanks nkaskov. With so many brands and marketing messages bombarding consumers these days, I think it is increasingly important for brands to cut through however they can. What better way to reach a potential client than have their friends rave about you? How much more believable is that than having the company tell you how great they are?
      To my mind, this synchronised marketing concept is all about facilitating customers to advocate on your behalf. Focusing on your existing client base and turning them into vocal advocates rather than spending the majority of a marketing budget trying to attract cold clients.

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  2. TV advertising is no longer the best channel to do advertisement. as the development of social media, more information is got from internet, and the costs of doing ad on social medias are cheaper than TVs and billboard. and ads are easier to be concerned on the internet by today’s consumers. LEGO has always had been consumer-driven, new ways of advertising for LEGO is somehow a better way to communicate with its customers.

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    • Hi qfagy, thanks for the comment. I agree with your basic premise that TV is not the ‘best’ channel, but I think it still has a very relevant place in today’s integrated promotional mix. How many viral social media campaigns start life as a TV ad to get a wide audience initially? I am thinking Snickers with the You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXL8QPWLbBo) and Old Spice with their ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE). Especially for large brands who can afford the cost, it has a very relevant place in the overall mix.
      As for Lego – it is interesting reading deeper into their turnaround that their senior executives feel the brand did lose touch with their consumers for a while and were distracted by their licensing deals with Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. They certainly seem to be on the right track now!

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      • jasonchuck I definitely agree with you. As marketers we don’t have to focus just in the cost of the investment that it is going to be made. It is real that TV its a big investment but we are talking about a positioned brand that is LEGO. For this kind of brands is reasonable to invest big to earn big, and much more knowing that LEGO is launching a movie!!! As one of IMC premises is the reach, it is completely acceptable to understand that the share of the target will ” afford ” this investment.

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  3. Great blog. Your right on topic here I think. I am a very critical consumer, and If a brand impresses me I will definitely recommend it. However I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired enough to create a video, or some other form of brand appreciation (aside from my addiction to STAR WARS collectibles). Word of Mouth is ever becoming more valuable to brands / companies, as consumers are more convinced by recommendations made by friends and family, as opposed to a stranger / celebrity in an advertisement. I think the higher the purchase cost the more people rely on WOM. If your buying a car, TV, or holiday you really want to get as much knowledge on that brand / product prior to spending a large amount of money on it. WOM really justifies the product to the consumer, it seems more believable. Whereas you need to take into account personal taste and that you may not like what your friends like.

    Lego is one of those companies that seems to be in the forefront of relevance when it comes to marketing and trends. They use a great combination of marketing tools to gather the information / feedback from their target consumer and act on it quickly. I am constantly astounded at how expensive Lego products are, yet they remain in high demand. The online market for rare and collectible Lego sets is unbelievable. As a Lego lover, a father of a current Lego user, best friend of a Lego Junky/collector, and someone who has now visited two LEGOLAND theme parks, I think they have seriously succeeded in making a success out of little plastic bricks.

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  4. Hi Jason and Nathan,

    Great blog. I particularly like the use of the Lego example as it’s a brand that I’m very familiar with (from my childhood) and a brand I’ve recently reconnected with through the Lego Movie. It’s been interesting to note the company’s promotional journey over the past couple of decades. The fact that the brand now utilises not only films (e.g. the Star Wars products of the past) but also events like Baumgartner’s jump is proof that Lego is indeed ‘360’ and bombarding its worldwide customer base using a plethora of inter-connected touch points and remaining relevant to its target audiences at all times and with agility. I notice there is even a Mother’s Day card, gift set and ‘how to’ available on their website (one day before Mother’s Day), reinforcing their approach to timing the market and utilising top of mind events or circumstances to garner brand awareness.

    I have used online social media as a primary source to advocate brands as I find it to be the most engaging and accessible way to do so. I feel connected with brands that focus on quality and service but would only be inspired to create a video in a brand’s honour if I felt that it could substantial improvement my standard of living. This could potentially be a car brand, a tour or entertainment experience brand (e.g. once in a lifetime type experiences) or a brand with a healthy alternative to name a few. Brands that come to mind (but which I don’t necessarily endorse) include Mercedes, Trip Advisor and NutriBullet.

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  5. Guys well done on the blog it is very informative about IMC initiatives from lego.

    The comment from the CMO Lego it is spot on consumers relationships. Lego thinks differently and we can see how they have tried to stimulate the relationship with us consumers. Lego has created many different drivers to push their company, movies computer games and theme parks to engage a lot more with their exciting clients plus the new potential clients as a subsequence of all these new products and experiences.

    Listening is a big part of marketing and personally i don’t think a lot of companies do it well. in the other hand there are examples of companies that listen to their costumer and build genuine relationships, this is what a company need to achieve to be successful in their IMC campaigns, creating genuine relationship with us consumers will bring word of mouth, recommendation, brand awareness and more importantly loyal consumers.

    As per the last question, when companies engaged with consumers in more than just their products people tend to advocate for a particular brand, e.g. If a company does social events and help people less privilege in our community, as a consumer you tend to see this actions as good deed and brand can build good reputation on this initiatives and help at the same time! a win win situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Consumer generated advertising refers to advertising on consumer generated media. This term is generally used to refer to sponsored content on blogs, wikis, forums, social networking web sites and individual Web sites.

    consumer-generated marketing has been in use for several years with the emergence of communal forms of information sharing including weblogs, online message boards, podcasts, interactive broadband TV, and other new media that has been adopted by consumers at the grass roots level to establish community forums for discussing their customer experiences.

    Consumer-generated marketing is not the same as viral marketing or word of mouth advertising, however, the result of it achieves a high level of publicity within high relevance communities

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  7. Cant go that far to create video of a brand but definately would be a brand advocate, in the case of lego movie There can be an argument that the movie served dual purpose or maybe the promotion was secondary effect of the movie for the brand, the lego park or the lego movie it can be said that the LEGO company is diversifying its business into theme parks and growing market of movies, they are utilising their unused capital resources in these business and the marketing of the lego products are by product or complementary. But nevertheless the central theme is the same and still in the basket of IMC. great thought provoking article….

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  8. Great work guys. This article got me thinking back to how I got into Lego originally. An older friend let me play with his Lego when I was 3 and I was hooked from there. I pestered mum to buy me more and more Lego and I would play with them all day. I showed my Lego to my friends and more Lego was bought by their parents, and we would build cities together. We then started getting into Lego robotics kits, which taught us programming and them became part of my career!

    It is amazing to think how effective word of mouth can be used as a marketing technique.

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  9. i cannot describe my feeling as long as i saw this blog. this blog bring me back to my childhood that how i willing to purchase lego. the advertisement is not only in newspaper, TV, and video. it still can stay in movie and games. the continuous updates advertisement of lego still attract huge amount of customers and inform them about their childhood. that really worth to encourage the staff who working on the Propaganda of lego

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  10. IMC is necessary to align marketing initiatives and communicate a consistent message/image. I agree that with the flood of advertising, traditional channels such as TV and print ads alone may allow reach and frequency but no depth (such as Web 2.0 channels- which reach consumers better, provoking thoughts, comments and in cases mentioned above even videos). Lego is a fine example, expanding from Lego products to experiences (movies & theme parks) through IMC. As a child I was once taken by a brand and would have probably made a video if that were something that could be done at the time, however videoing wasn’t a common thing then.
    For the final question, buzz worthy content can be seeded through high WOM generators to engage as many target consumers as possible. Viral marketing is engaging and less expensive compared to traditional channels. Overall it is important to synchronize channels, some may offer different results and the coordination of these channels can provide the 360 degree marketing coverage to reach consumers at various touch points and degrees.

    http://www.razemedia.com/general/digital-marketing-vs-traditional-marketing

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  11. Interesting blog! I have to say I haven’t been inspired enough by any brand or product to create a video or want to advocate on their behalf. Having said that, if I like a particular brand or product, I will definitely tell my friends about it though.

    The Marketing model has certainly come a long way since the traditional delivery channels of TV, radio and newspapers, and this transformation into the digital world is an effective way to create and strengthen the relationship between the brand and the consumer which leads to improved brand recognition. Companies can tap directly into conversations about their brand and engage with their customers instantly.

    Lego has employed a clever brand strategy with their theme parks, movies, computer games and online communities. By using 360 degree marketing, Lego can develop a stronger identity in the fast paced world in which we now operate and ensure that their products are well known to their target market.

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  12. great block guys!! i feel by using 360 marketing as mentioned a company can surely reach the customers in a different manner and get connected to the customers and can also create a sense of belonging and loyalty. people creating videos for Lego sends a signal to other people throughout the world that people are so content and happy with the quality of the product they are getting that they are willing to spend their precious time and effort to create videos for a company for free. this is a great marketing strategy. engaging the customers in marketing create a room for new ideas and views as well.

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  13. Lego is such a giant and it more closely resembles a media company than a toy company. They have effective marketing programs such as Lego Click (a community platform encouraging fans and fanatics to share their Lego experiences), My Lego Network (designed for children), Lego Club Magazine (customized by local market and by age), and Legoland theme parks.
    Believe it or not, these are just a portion of how Lego executes on its integrated marketing strategy. Lego has a fantastic product and it has dominated the competition through multimedia storytelling. Lego shows us that, like it or not, we are all media companies today… we all have the opportunity to communicate directly with our audience. It’s how we choose to use that privilege that makes all the difference.

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  14. Interesting blog guys, well done! I must say I have never had any connection to a brand where I felt the need to create a video to honour them, but for those brands that have impressed me, I have told friends and family about them just by word of mouth, which in a way is like advertising those particular products on behalf of the companies. I like Lego’s stance on listening to their customers and acting on their feed back. That is a very smart way of earning customer confidence and loyalty as more people will want to buy products from a company that listens to their customers and caters for their needs.

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  15. Very impressive Blog! Lego is certainly a Brand which has customer loyalty and lasted through the generations. When I was growing up, it was very much word of mouth that grew the brand. However, today in a much more competitive market, it needs to grow their marketing tools and compete with many more brands that are on the shelves. They are however, a brand that has learnt to grow with the times and develop to remain competitive. I do hope Lego remains on the shelves of toy stores for many years to come.

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  16. I think we all hold some brands close to our hearts and are happy to promote them to our family and friends.
    Lego is an interesting phenomenon, whilst it is inherently a children’s toy it is adults looking to re-visit their childhood.
    Lego realized that they could market to Adults, and in fact that Adults were prepared to pay more. In 2009 they launched the Lego Architecture line http://www.fastcompany.com/3040223/when-it-clicks-it-clicks and a once frowned upon departure from their target demographic was born and a new direction for their advertising grew.
    As a father of 3 toddlers (probably just outside the target demographic) it is my wife and I who probably spend more time on creating things with Lego!

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  17. I am very interested in your blog.
    In my memory, the Lego accompany with me growing up, I began to play Lego when I was a littile child, now, Lego bigger and bigger, has been leading the way, it has become a big brand toys on the market, but also It has become the world’s largest toy manufacturer.
    Moreover, Lego also have their own customers, and accumulated loyalty. But in today’s market environment a big competitive, Lego also need to develop their own marketing. And tnen, more importantly, they also need better listen to their customers, to meet customer needs, choose a better product shelves.

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  18. Great Blog..

    I love Lego… My kids have heaps and I’ve even named our dog Lego! So it’s impossible for me not to post on this blog..

    To get straight to your questions..

    Have you ever been inspired to advocate a brand to this level?

    I’ve never really been a die hard brand addict and only really look for quality and lifespan in a product… That was until I started buying Apple products and I’ve gone bananas for them! Other than this I will always vouch for anything German made as they seem to know how to get it right… But not specific brands per se.

    Are there any brands to whom you feel enough connection to create a video in their honour?

    Yes although admittedly it was for a competition so I had a motive, but from this it has now spurted me into doing videos for several other business and causes that I feel passionate about… Here’s a link to the video I did if interested:

    http://www.trubludogwash.com.au/dogvideocompetition (click on Lego needs a bath)

    What content could your company create to engage and open dialogue with your customers?

    Well since I work for a non profit in the welfare sector our dialogue is generally managed through consumer participation and feedback from surveys and questionnaires as the nature of our organisation and interaction with consumers is of a highly sensitive nature.. Open forums would be disastrous!

    But if I was still in the commercial space…Video. I really see video being the key to capturing and engaging with consumers. The content would depend on the product and how I would want consumers to engage/ interact with it, or develop a subject that would complement it and get people talking/ sharing it.

    Thanks again for posting…

    Like

  19. Very insightful article. Your point about 360 marketing and encouraging users to share content was important. Brand ambassadorship is now no longer the job of a celebrity. It is up to the individual to share within their network. Many of the questions arise around, how do companies activate their consumers to become brand champions. Do celebrities help, yes. But there is nothing like a million individuals who have 200 followers to really reach an audience. I am far more likely to invest in something that comes recommended from a trusted source than Kim Kardashian.

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  20. I think the answer to your question is ‘yes’ i just posted about a brand on another blog! choosing lululemon over nike due to customer experience. making a video sounds a little ‘gen y’ to me ( I am on the border ). Social media is going to revolutionise the way brands are promoted and depending on the target market will need to be many things to different people,’
    I work in the agricultural sector in NZ where the average age of the customer is 60, so it is a different world than targeting those who are in the market for lego!

    Like

  21. Very interestin blog, well done guys! The picture of the Lego attracted me to click the blog. I am working for a confectionary company which produces the licensed products for kids above 3 years old. Unfortunately, we don’t have the Lego license, however we do holding some big licenses like, Scooby Doo, Spongebob, Despicable Me and etc.Take Spongebob as an example, Nickelodeon is building up Spongebob through TV shows, games, Movies and etc. The movie “Spongebob out of water” was in the cenima no longer ago. Integrated marketing has been widely used by these licensors.

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  22. Great blog guys! The blog is interactive as well as linking the concepts from the unit with a real case example.
    Lego (the toy) is a particularly interesting case as one would expect that with the recent advances in technology, that the humble toy may be left behind. The way that Lego has used these technology advances to its favour is proof that companies can adapt to changes in the external environment provided they are willing and able to change.

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  23. Good blog! Traditional media usually refers to mass media- the use of TV, radio and newspapers. As businesses find new and innovative ways to promote their products and services, you now have a wide array of non-traditional media to connect with your market: local store events, viral videos, the use of social media like Facebook, MySpace and Multiply, and even parties and concerts.

    Like

  24. Interesting read guys! I am still yet to find a person who doesn’t love lego or who doesn’t know it! Which says allot about their marketing strategy. To answer your questions:

    1. Have you ever been inspired to advocate a brand to this level?

    A = I can not say that I have brand orientated purchaser. Brands are a big help in decision making, but i honestly tend to go for the best possible offer at the time. With all marketing mix elements being consider. At the end of the day its a battle between price and quality. As much as one can love Lego, you will always find an array of different toys in children’s /adults rooms.

    2.Are there any brands to whom you feel enough connection to create a video in their honour?

    A= Haha that question made me laugh, maybe it just me as a person, but that’s a big no. I think you have to be a die hard fanatic to make a video in honour of a product. The product would have to have saved my life , my whole families lives and the next door neighbors, then i would consider making a video – consider!

    3. What content could your company create to engage and open dialogue with your customers?

    A = I work in the financial sector B 2 B with specific and limited clientele. In such a niche market we have noticed the communication remains at the higher levels of the organisation and is communicated directly – emails, telephone – face to face. As much as we would like to have surveys and questionnaires, we have found face to face meetings always work best. But that may just be my industry.

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  25. Very interesting point, well done… I must say if I am impressive with any product I will recommend to my relative. Word of mouse is very powerful and effective in marketing strategy. In addition, your blog reminds me of the Lego movie that I recently watched.. The movie made me want to go back to do the Lego which I actually lost in touch since I was a child.Very smart marketing strategy.
    However, this sort of product never inspired me to create any video product presentation. In fact, I would go to something much bigger like cars or motorbikes.

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  26. I love this post. You have integrated the history, organisational lessons learnt and the strategies used to navigate the changing landscape.

    I guess the only thing that seemed to be missing from this discussion is the competitors in their market and how they responded to the change in landscape.

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  27. The thing I found most interesting about Lego is their copyright has lapse so we have seen the opportunity for competitors to take market share but the Lego brand is so strong they just aren’t there. Their competitors are trying to get kids outside of Legos target segment but its arguably not the prime market. With Lego’s 360 marketing strategy its a good example of how marketing done right is incredible to watch.

    Like

  28. These Lego products are considered as desirable toys of me and my friends when we were child. They are the colourful and delicate, which has the ability to inspire and enhance creativity. However, these recent products are being made more girly. In fact, undeniably strong influence of these products to decision making to buy Lego toys for children. Besides the new toy product of other brands, Lego products have unique image and always renewed to match consumer’s demand. Also the strength of advertising is a factor helping Lego maintain its image in the perception of consumers. With success in bringing the Lego character image into film and game, Lego products have great appeal for children perception. It’s a good strategic in my opinion. I’m really impressed with the ability to transmit their messages to their ads, which you guys can see via link below

    http://twistedsifter.com/2013/12/lego-ads-that-demonstrate-the-power-of-imagination/

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  29. A great example of how a campaign has created significant advocacy with many consumers creating content and spreading the word on the merits of Lego products. Would I go as far as creating content for a brand or product I feel strongly about? We’ll probably not, however I would strongly advocate in my own social circle with family, friends and work colleagues. I am sure many more people would be like myself, advocating on a more micro level, which still would in my opinion still yield solid benefits for any given company.

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