Lego is a brand to admire. In the world of cyber gaming, Lego clearly managed not only to survive but to achieve a year on year growth. (Libraries face similar issues, and once again, one can find some fine examples of libraries that manage to come up with innovative solutions, but it is probably worth anther blog)
With the upcoming wii generation, Lego was doomed to fail.
So how did they overcome the difficulty of the cyber expansion?
Turn your enemy into your best friend
Lego certainly have not shied away from what seemed like the ultimate enemy: the Internet and other emerging technologies, but the opposite, it embraced them.
They were among the first to launch a cutting edge website, creating communities online, encouraging its fans to share ideas and collaborate on projects.
They also made the most out of other technology innovations such as augmented reality at a very early stage by installing screens in their stores showing customers how the toy would look like once assembled. (an example can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGu0N3eL2D0 )
Having said that, one can invest a lot into its online presence and other ideas, but without strong brand recognition, very few consumer brands survive.
In today’s gaming and educational market, the Lego brand needed a ‘cosmetic uplift’. It had to be seen as a modern and future proof product that has its place on toy stores’ shelves and that can create customer engagement.
For toy makers the challenge is twofold. Not only, they need the buy-in from the end consumers (kids) but also form the parents. I believe, given that the current generation of parents (adult Lego fans aka AFOLs) was the last one growing up with building blocks, most of the effort had to concentrate on the kids.
Engaging the kids
And this is where Lego came up with a groundbreaking idea. They leveraged all the box office record breaking movies such as Harry Potter and the Pirates of the Caribbean’s and launched figurines based on the film characters.
(One can keep on brainstorming what else could have been done to create visibility. Personally, I would have liked to see Lego coming up with the idea of creating kinder like chocolates with Lego in it… )
By linking its brand to famous film characters, the brand managed to engage the kids, which was the foundation of their success growing forward.
Lego also made sure, the ‘educational capital’ of the brand is maintained. They launched an online hub dedicated for teachers where they can access special products and ideas purely for using them in schools.
All of the above and many other ideas resulted in strong turnover and profit growth.
I suppose, on behalf of a lot people of my generation, the ‘lego team’ deserves a big ‘thank you’ for making the brand survive. Without building blocks, creativity would not be the same.
Extra treat link…and just becasue I do think Lego business cards probably are the coolest ever. have a look. http://positivesharing.com/2009/02/coolest-business-card-ever/