The Innovation 50: How the world’s most valuable toy brand, LEGO, has remained traditional yet embraced digital marketing

The Innovation 50: How the world’s most valuable toy brand, LEGO, has remained traditional yet embraced digital marketing

Millions of adults all over the world remember playing with its sticky plastic bricks as children. Many continued playing with LEGO as adults or have passed on the tradition to their offspring. Such longevity in a toy is rare and remains a marketing marvel.

And that is the secret to its success: its marketing strategy has been to remain true to its original brand identity while embracing modern marketing techniques.

Another secret to the Danish toymaker’s marketing magic, says Daniel Nixon, Creative Copywriter, The Writing Club, is its unfailing ability to just, well, get things right.

“Whether it’s attention-grabbing collaborations or fusing product development with social campaigns, LEGO seems to get it right without fail,” says Daniel.

Part of that success has been a razor sharp focus on understanding its customers. Such success that, in 2021, Statista ranked LEGO the leading global toy brand by value at US$5.4 billion.

Growth of a titan

Founded almost a century ago in 1932, LEGO’s iconic plastic brick was not patented until 1958. But its core identity has remained an offer of developing free and creative play that develops the imagination.

Over time, the company realised that children of all ages and both sexes were fans, who later grew up and were driven by nostalgia to continue the hobby. Marketing has been used to keep the brand relevant and refresh its reach to new generations. Also key to its marketing strategy is its ability to enter different markets. LEGO is currently sold in 130 countries.

Remember, the toy is simply the core product. The brand has also diversified into movies such as The LEGO Batman movie franchise and merchandise, as well as Legoland, the theme park.

Its social media and content marketing strategy has also been extraordinarily successful. On YouTube, it beat Coca-Cola’s 3.28 billion video upload views in 2021 to rank first with 10.04 billion views. The channel is used to engage with customers by offering how-to videos, educational and promotional content.

Its Facebook page has more than 114 million likes at the time of publishing.

Loved by kids, parents, teachers, friends….

Critical to its brand strength has been its links to education. What other brand can boast that teachers, parents and friends will promote it to children as a healthy, creative, inspiring, stimulating obsession?

In fact, the company has a foundation that donates money to schools and educational foundations around the world, and this helps reinforce its position as an educational brand.

As an example of how the brand promotes positive values, look no further than the LEGO® Friends theme, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary.

The franchise was developed to help children explore and develop adventures with its play sets with the theme of friendship at its core. And with typical LEGO marketing flair, the franchise launched an animated series to accompany the set.

Little surprise then that a company that now offers 3,700 different types of pieces, from mini figures to bricks and tubes, that offer 900 million different building combinations, is now entering the Just.Marketing Innovation 50 list.