Audrey Padgett | Crain's Denver

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Audrey Padgett


LEGOLAND Florida Resort is one of nine LEGOLAND interactive theme parks around the world. Padgett has been with the company since the Winter Haven, Florida location opened in 2011.

The Mistake:

We were really complacent about marketing this theme park like any other theme park. We’re in, arguably, the theme park capital of the world, in Orlando, and I came from a PR background. So coming in here and opening this park in 2011, we had a lot of ideas—as in, "This is the way other theme parks market, let’s do that."

But that’s not us. We’re a park that’s really built for kids and I think we got complacent in saying, "This is the formula, this is what we should do," instead of thinking, "We’re not a theme park that’s for everyone. We’re a theme park that’s built for kids. How should we do that differently?"

We went from marketing ourselves as another family theme park to marketing ourselves as just for kids, and really hitting home with the identity that we’re not for everyone, we’re for kids ages 2 to 12. We’re supposed to be for kids to have hands-on experiences—their first theme park, their first roller coaster. That gives us a different position as a brand and really gives us a much stronger identity.

So we re-shot all of our photography to feature just kids. The only time there’s an adult in our photography is if it’s one of our "Model Citizens" (our employees). But we really wanted to say that we’re going to own this and make a change in terms of all of our visualsour website, brochures. We even redesigned our park map to make it something that a kid could navigate and something for them that’s easy to understand. And that’s really translated into almost everything that we do, whether it’s the tone of voice on our social content or any of our direct mail pieces. We really want to think, "What would a kid think? What would a kid like?"

When you realize you’ve got a really good routine, that might be a chance to say, 'Wait, do I want to be in a routine?'

The Lesson:

Realize that sometimes you need to challenge that status quo. You need to say, "Wait a minute, this person has a fresh look at this. Is there a different way to be doing this?" For me, it really was sitting down and thinking, "What would this look like if we changed it?"

My takeaway was: I need to do a better job of paying attention when trying to solve a business problem or trying to grow the business. Is there a different way that I could look at it instead of the way we’ve always done it? I think it’s just being conscious of that, of trying to make sure you’re seeing the forest for the trees, not getting so busy in the trenches.

Brand marketers, in particular, can get into a pattern of, "This is how I do this." When you realize you’ve got a really good routine, that might be a chance to say, "Wait, do I want to be in a routine? Or do I want to be that person who’s bringing the fresh ideas and thinking about things differently?"

Follow LEGOLAND on Twitter @LEGOLANDflorida 

Photo courtesy of Audrey Padgett.

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email

And be sure to sign up for our newsletter at Crain's.