After an enjoyable evening spent building a Lego castle with my niece and nephew, I was reminded of the many hours I spent playing with Lego in my own childhood.
Since it was founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in Billund, Denmark in the early 1930’s, Lego has been a childhood favourite for generation after generation.
The Lego brand was built on a simple foundation: one, small, plastic brick, with eight studs in two rows of four.
Today, it’s now celebrated as the most powerful toy brand in the world, having gone 'beyond the brick' and expanded into films, video games, YouTube channels, communities, and more.
As more brands start to think like media publishers, there’s a lot to be learned from Lego’s success.
The Lego Movie is a perfect example of how a company can increase its sales by thinking like a media brand. And it's ridden the wave of the first movie's success with more films including Lego Star Wars, Batman, and it's own story, Lego Ninjago.
Then there are the accompanying video games.
As this article from CNBC showcases, Lego’s YouTube channel is it’s most popular branded channel - with 5 million subscribers and countless fan sites.
One of Lego’s YouTube channels, “Beyond The Brick”, was created by fans Joshua and John Fanlon in 2011, and after being invited to the headquarters in Denmark in 2017, making Lego YouTube videos became their full-time job. What a powerful example of the value of user-generated content...
Lego has also invested heavily in conducting original research to position themselves as thought leaders in the world of play.
Their most recent Lego Play Well Report served to “help better understand what the simple, instinctive act of playing means in 2018.”
Just check out the enormous Media Library on the Lego website for more content inspiration.
Lego's many guises also include theme parks, Lego House, and online communities.
The Lego brand name is based on the Danish term, Leg Godt, meaning ‘play well’, which reflects the brand’s commitment to inspire and educate children through play. And every avenue they’ve taken into media and content comes back to this one mission.
In an age where we are so reliant on technology, it’s refreshing to know that kids (and adults too) are still enjoying something as hands-on and creative as Lego.
As John Hanlon so nicely puts it, “Regardless of age or ability, anyone can pick up Lego pieces and let their imagination run wild. Lego brings together the young and old for wholesome, non-electronic fun.”
When Julia Goldin found out she’d got the job as chief marketing officer (CMO) at Lego, the world’s most valuable toy company, she bought her sons a Lego Big Ben set. “I put it on the table and (said) ‘I have news. I have a new job, and we’re going to move to London’,” she told CNBC by phone. It was 2014, and the family was living in the U.S., Goldin having worked as beauty brand Revlon’s global CMO based out of New York. Everyone has their Lego story, says Goldin. “Every time I meet anybody and I tell them that I work at Lego, I get a big smile because everybody has a personal story to tell. They remember their first set, they remember the first time they gave (it) to their child (or) something that they built.”