What Businesses Can Learn From Toys “R” Us

It’s a big deal when a major brand announces its bankruptcy and the potential loss of thousands of jobs. While this news from Toys “R” Us is certainly an opportunity to look at all the things the company didn’t do well, it also presents another opportunity to see where the brand succeeded and perhaps emulate some of these concepts in our own businesses.

A brand with immediate recognition.
No other toy retailer brand in history has the acclaim Toys ‘R Us has in both America and internationally as well. This speaks to the company’s strong branding and awareness in the marketplace. In fact, according to a recent USA Today article, buyers stated that they were interested in acquiring the rights to the Toys R Us brand name, mascot (Geoffrey the Giraffe), and jingle, while other buyers stated that they were interested in purchasing a small number of US stores to operate as showrooms. In a recent Reuters article, the writer shared, “Brand specialists said they could not put an estimated value on the name, but it will be among the most valuable ever to become available through a bankruptcy liquidation.”

A brand with spin-off businesses.
New parents all over the globe have utilized the Babies “R” Us brand, a spin-off of Toys “R” Us, to outfit their newborns and infants with nursery, clothing and other essentials on their parenthood journey. Not many businesses can diversify and be successful in doing so, but Toys “R” Us was able to do it.

A brand with heart.
Toys “R” Us has a philanthropic heart that spans multiple charitable organizations including Toys for Tots, Save the Children, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Wikipedia reports the Toys “R” Us relationship with Toys for Tots has raised over $55 million and more than four million in toy donations.

A brand that cares about its customers.
In 2008, Toys “R” Us introduced stricter product safety standards exceeding federal requirements regarding all products manufactured exclusively for them, answering concerns regarding lead or materials with lead in them. Their approach to exceeding the federal requirement reinforced with consumers that the company was aware of the issue and was taking great efforts to keep babies and children safe.

So, even though it’s pretty simple for the business experts to categorically list all the areas where Toys “R” Us failed from a financial perspective, it’s refreshing to consider the positive aspects of this 75-year-old brand and hope these attributes aren’t overlooked amidst all the gloom and doom reporting currently filling your newsfeed.