Speaking at the GAM & WFA Global Marketer Conference in Marrakech today (18 March), Lego’s VP of marketing and consumer experiences Conny Kalcher said that a large reason behind the brand’s successful turnaround strategy has been due to moving away from being just a toy manufacturer.
“We used to be a toy manufacturer, but we are turning more and more into a media company,” she said. “To tell the story about our bricks, we have to tell our media story.”
The company now thinks of itself as an “experience brand”, according to Kalcher, which ensures everything it delivers surrounding Lego, such as toys, TV shows and Legoland, work together.
She added that Lego’s initial vision to become the biggest company for families with kids was the “totally wrong strategy”.
“With the new strategy, we want to be a small giant, not a great dinosaur,” she said. “We want to be a substance brand, focusing on delivering the best experience.”
Part of this strategy means orchestrating “360 campaigns” across all media to make sure all Lego experiences have the “same look and feel”.
It also means sticking to Lego’s “System in Play” concept, which means each of its products and innovations work together to fit into the same system, and involves collaborating with consumers, which the brand does by co-creating with its fans.
Kalcher says the brand has a team that works with fans of Lego, inviting them to offer opinions on designs.
The company also has an “open innovation platform” which invites users to design and upload product ideas, with the possibility of the designs being made into real products if they receive enough votes.
Lego also included fan-created videos in the Bafta-winning The Lego Movie, which launched last year.
“It’s important for us as a creative brand to inspire creativity,” she added. “The more you can turn your consumers into your advocates, the more authentic your brand becomes.”
Fuelled by the box office success of The Lego Movie, the brand overtook Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand in 2015, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report.
The company is looking to replicate that success through the release of three more films, the first of which will come out in 2016.
“In the last 10 years we’ve grown double digits every year,” Kalcher said.
“A big part of this success was starting outside the company and understanding what the consumer wants, talking to them, learning what they like and starting a real dialogue with them. This can really help turn a company around.”