Regardless of age, gender, or nationality, we all are very familiar with Lego. However, this adored company had its trail of challenges and triumphs.
The Lego Story
As all of us are well set for the holiday season and ready to celebrate Xmas, here’s a Christmas story we can all learn from. The story of the toy titan Lego. Yes, the most adored brand in the world has a lot to do with Christmas.
Many years ago, there was a respected, skilled, and hardworking carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen, whose company got shut due to challenging times. Only when he thought nothing worse could happen he lost his wife. After that, Ole knew he had to gather himself for his four sons’ sake.
Keeping this in mind, Ole created a little invention and gave it to his boys. The boys loved it, and that’s when Ole got the idea of making high-quality wooden toys. In no time, the toys gained enough popularity to gain the attention of a wholesaler.
This wholesaler gave a huge order. One that was supposed to make this Christmas happy for the Christiansen family. However, there were more challenges to be faced. After most of the order was ready, Ole received the news that the wholesaler had gone bankrupt.
Was this Christmas too an unhappy one? Well no! Ole saw this challenge as an opportunity and didn’t give up. He decided to sell the toys himself and succeeded in selling all the toys. That year, the family had the best Christmas.
But wait ! What about the renowned plastic brick?
The Advent of the Plastic Brick
Although Lego originated in Billund, Denmark, in the workshop of Ole Kirk Kristiansen as wooden toys in 1932, it was two years later that he named his company LEGO. However, Lego produced its first plastic brick in 1949. It was a precursor to its very own signature brick with interlocking studs on the top and tubes on the bottom.
It was patented in 1958 by Godtfred Kirk, Christiansen’s son, who had replaced his father as the head of the company. Although Lego took great strides in Europe, it faced some major challenges. Let us see the challenge faced by the toy titan and how it overcame it.
LEGO faced a massive threat from competing construction toys in the 1980s and 1990s. This was because, at the end, LEGO’s building blocks were easy to duplicate not just by small scale but by established toy companies too.
Although LEGO successfully blocked Tyco Toys, Inc. from selling the Super Blocks after LEGO’s patent ran out in 1983, the company learned a big lesson. With the increase in the no. of competitors, it realized that it had to build a powerhouse brand and develop an integrated marketing approach to compete against the building block imitators.
Not just this, the Danish toymaker’s success had almost tumbled down as now there was Donkey Kong and the handheld console, followed by Atari, the ZX Spectrum, and, later, the Playstation and Sega Megadrive. All of them were far more appealing than the mere playing of plastic bricks. Many had anticipated the end of Lego by 2004.
With the consumer internet going strong with each rising day, it seemed like the brand was destined to become a mere nostalgic memory. Yet today, the brand stands strong and is healthier and more successful than ever. In fact, if we see some interlocking, fun fact about the brand, 4,000,000 LEGO pieces are sold each hour, and LEGO sells over 600,000 sets daily.
What brought the people “back to brick”? The tables turned when Jørgen Vig Knudstorp stepped in as CEO in 2004. Although the focus remained on the core product – the LEGO brick, the company skyrocketed itself into the digital age. And not just for the sake of doing. It became the most popular brand on YouTube, and the company’s profit grew explicitly too.
Lego’s Content Empire
Today LEGO isn’t just the titan of toys but that of branded content too. With each year, LEGO’s content game became so strong that it more closely resembled a media company than a toy company. Here’s a rundown of how one of the world’s most loved brands leveraged a highly effective content marketing strategy for a thriving success.
LEGO produced a serial-style movie for every storyline release that ran on cable and the LEGO website.
“LEGO CLUB” Magazine
LEGO came up with LEGO Club magazine. One that was customized by the local market and age. However, the original “Brick Kicks” magazine was released in 1987.
LEGO partnered with Merlin Entertainments Group to come up with LEGOLAND theme parks around the world. It is aimed at families with children aged three to twelve. The guests can enjoy a wide range of attractions and features with LEGO connection and familiarity.
LEGO Club Meetings
An initiative especially for the club members, LEGO held meetings worldwide where boys and girls imagined together and would end up forcing their parents to buy them something at the end of the meeting.
Lego Life is a social media app and magazine produced by The LEGO group. The idea for the app originated from seeing how children shared their LEGO built in LEGO Club magazine’s “cool creations” section and posted their creations on the brand’s message boards. Lego Life enabled the children to share their creations in an online environment.
Celebrating the brand’s philosophy of play, the company branched out into multiple mediums to promote its brand. The Lego movie franchise is the crown jewel of the company’s content marketing strategy as it boosted sales enormously.
Lego’s Social Media
With over 15.2 million subscribers on youtube and 8.6 million Instagram followers, we can say that LEGO is not just present on all the social media channels but has aced the art of delivering the right content. It is the most popular brand on youtube as it offers its audience a diverse array of content. One with the highest quality.
Another way to interact with a broad base of fans. LEGO came up with its own video games as well. Since the late 90s, itself LEGO has created a plethora of online games and videos with a surplus of interactive online content.
- Keep the audience at the center of your content marketing strategy.
- Have an agile and integrated approach. The content and marketing teams shouldn’t work in silos.
- The best data is derived when you are in the same room as your customer.
- Develop a strong story for the brand.
- Tap into popular conversations.
- Tell the story when the audience is listening.
Yes, fantastic products are indeed at the core of LEGO, but what made it dominate the competition all these years was multimedia storytelling. Although LEGO draws direct revenues from its content, the majority of it is to support the business model. When it comes to content, no brand in the toy industry can accomplish what LEGO did.
From its products to its content, the brand stood true to the belief of its founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The very belief that “Only the best is good enough.”
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