The most powerful brand in the world: LEGO’s rise to the top

by Sam Hansen

Opinion Editor

A toy company is transforming into a media company and encouraging its users to create content. Why? As technology advances, a demand for more in-depth engagement is being satisfied. LEGO has responded to this demand in numerous ways.

LEGO has done an excessive amount of work to increase its brand awareness through segmented marketing and content creation. What result has this produced? Well, LEGO is the largest toy company on the planet and the most powerful brand of 2015, according to Forbes.

The Danish firm, most famous for their interlocking construction bricks, has in the past decade branched out into different markets. From video games to “The Lego Movie” that garnered worldwide success last year, LEGO has truly expanded the content they provide.

“The Lego Movie” in and of itself was a brilliant success. By treating old and young audiences alike, LEGO was able to draw in all audiences. The kids found toys they wanted while the adults were able to align themselves with the underlying message of the film.

Brooks Barnes of the New York Times remarks “‘The Lego Movie,’ released last year, took in $468.8 million worldwide. ‘Ninjago,’ another LEGO film, is scheduled to arrive next year, with two more brick-building movies in the pipeline.” LEGO is clearly broadening its product offerings by entering into a lucrative market.

In the wake of the movie’s success, LEGO’s social media presence has exploded. Just a year before the film’s release, 56 retweets was considered a high number of impressions. Tweets from @LEGO_Group were racking up as many as four thousand retweets during the most recent ComicCon – just a few months after the film’s release.

If this were not enough, LEGO has begun to build interaction-based content online. For many of their product lines, from Ninjago to Disney Princesses, LEGO created websites including apps, games, movies, and even message boards. LEGO is truly building a community that surrounds their product. It seems that, across genders and ages, everyone that enjoys LEGO can come together and enjoy just that: LEGO.

LEGO has transformed its business model so effectively Forbes’ Columnist Kathryn Dill stated, “The maker of the colorful plastic blocks has been popular with kids and adults alike for more than half a century, but in recent years has gained even wider appeal through licensed partnerships.”

This is a particular strength. Lego Group utilizes the brand of both LEGO and their licensed partners to drive sales. Whether it is a deal with DC Comics to produce LEGO versions of Batman and the Joker or a construction of Duke and Duchess of Canterbury to honor their wedding, LEGO is uniquely able to use Brand Extension of both LEGO and their partners to increase brand recognition.

They use other people’s years of work to make a profit for themselves. How brilliant! How intelligent it is to use icons such as the Disney Princess, Harry Potter, and Star Wars in a mutually beneficial role of boosting sales for LEGO and Brand Recognition for its licensed partners! This is definitely a win-win situation in my eyes.

Even beyond all the commercial success, LEGO is staying ahead of the social responsibility curve by creating child technology policies. In a press release by UNICEF, LEGO states, “We want to introduce children to the LEGO system of play in an engaging, safe and respectful manner and to prevent misleading, exploitative, or aggressive marketing practices.” Granted, this is a message given by the company and, thus, cannot be fully trusted.

Even though that may be the case, the fact that they are addressing these issues before other companies will give them a competitive advantage. If they can prove they actually follow through with these policies, the possible advantage is ludicrous.

I think what LEGO has done, whether via marketing or change in company strategy, is phenomenal. They are one of the few companies that can get away with treating adults and kids the same way.

From the genius marketing strategy of combining with other brands, to the successful transformation from a toy company into a media company, to the presence at the leading edge of social responsibility, LEGO is a company everyone can learn from.

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