The Lego Group is the most valuable toy company in the world, estimated to be worth more than $14.6 billion. But things weren’t so awesome back in 2004 when the toymaker was a billion dollars in debt and suffering a 40 percent decline in sales. What changed? Lego realized something: like it or not, their company had to transition into a media company to correctly reach their audience.
Lego has reigned supreme at making this transition. Through brilliant content marketing and consistent branding, they’ve dominated the market and blazed onto our radar to become … the #iBrand of the week.
Not sure of the power of content marketing? Look no further than “The Lego Movie.” Rather than highlighting a character, or an already distinguished storyline (more on that in a bit), the movie promotes Lego itself in a way that is sure to increase ROI for years to come. By making a movie that is both clever and funny (Lego brought in execs from both “21 Jump Street” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) the toy/media company appeals to the adults who have the purchasing power, as well as creates excitement (and thus later, nostalgia) in children who watch it. Seriously, who else can create a movie about a brand?
MyLego & Lego Club
While most (read: all) children tire of toys after a few weeks of use, Lego has found a way to conquer that challenge by meeting kids where they want to be, when not playing legos: online. MyLego is a social networking site for kids (monitored closely by their larger counterparts) where they can create their own personal profile pages, win awesome rewards, meet other Lego fans, even battle in game modules and watch Lego TV. By finding a way to secure the technology angle to children—an area Legos don’t organically tap into—the company has found a way to continuously appeal and engage their audience. In the same fashion, Lego has a monthly magazine aptly titled The Lego Club that is a free, monthly subscription customized per recipient by age and location. Because really, the only thing kid’s love more than toys is getting mail.
With each new character and setting that Lego produces, they create a world to go along with it. Each toy series has a microsite and online games that further the storyline and allows kids to learn more about their new favorite characters; some even have serialized films through Lego’s partnership with Cartoon Network. Lego ties in each new series by exploring them on MyLego and the Lego Club, truly creating an all encompassing interactive experience.
Regardless of where you look, the Lego logo is probably lurking somewhere near by, and when it catches your eye, you will immediately be able to distinguish it. When you turn on your Roku, it is there. When passing the new, clean Lego store fronts, it is immediately apparent. On the corner of every ad, on every box; the red brick and typeface is as consistent and recognizable as legos themselves.
The Lego Group has mastered the tough task of acing a radical transformation, while still maintaining the classic approach to the world of toys that they have always been known for; thus allowing them to foster a subtle, unfaltering loyalty—and a hell of an ROI.