There are plenty of reasons why Lego blocks – the iconic toy building bricks – belong in every nursery and playroom, but I firmly believe that every office, boardroom, conference room, and breakout space should have a bucket of Legos on every table.
According to the Lego website, “the name ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words ‘leg godt,’ meaning ‘play well’.” The brand was known in its early years as a manufacturer of wooden toys, until the company acquired an injection-molding machine in 1949 that was used to create the now-famous colorful plastic blocks. Lego has come a long way since those days, now seated third in the list of the world’s largest toy manufacturers.
More than being a playtime powerhouse, though, Lego is an important symbol of creativity for marketing professionals, content creators, community managers, and brand storytellers…reminding us that the same rules that preside over play form the basis of interaction, whether it’s between two children, or between a brand and its consumers.
Lego rewards its community.
It took a while for Lego to learn that its demographic went far beyond the 5 to 10-year-old boys they had been tailoring their marketing to. They eventually became aware of micro-communities of passionate adult Lego enthusiasts who would frequently assemble complex structures together and engage in competitive builds. These enthusiasts now belong to the official Lego Ambassador program, representing the Lego community and working in tandem with the Lego Group to continue developing engaging products. Lego also created a certified professional program for advanced designers and builders who want to turn their hobby into a profession. Who are your brand’s passionate users, and what are you doing to reward them?
Lego strives for charming, not “cool.”
We belong to an industry that was founded on cool-chasing. We’re constantly being asked for a new blockbuster ad or the next viral campaign (constantly!). The problem with cool is that it goes through cycles. What’s hip one day is old news the next day. Last year, I met and mingled with some creatives from an agency that was helping Lego socialize its network of fans. They said this about their work for Lego: “We wanted to go for charming, not cool. Cool is fleeting, but charming makes people fall in love with you.” How are you making your customers fall in love with you?
Lego goes beyond blocks.
A few months ago, my 8-year-old cousin was begging me to play his new Batman game for the Nintendo Wii with him. As a Batman – Detective Comics – fan, I was a little concerned that the game might be too violent for his age group. To my surprise, the game was actually a kid-friendly Lego version of Batman. From video games to theme parks, Lego recognized that its mission to ‘inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow’ is one that touches more than just toys. Think about your brand’s mission and values, and evaluate the opportunity to communicate your message beyond your product.
Lego is a source of inspiration.
Inspiration is key to the Lego brand. Think of it this way: you can either give a little girl a dollhouse, or you can give her a bucket of Legos. Either way, she’ll end up with a dollhouse, but the one she made out of Legos was executed with her hard work and according to her vision. Which one do you think the little girl will spend more time playing with? The most important thing that you can give your customer, next to a great product, is inspiration. Inspiration leads to action. How does your brand inspire action from your consumers?
There are literally hundreds of other ways that Lego can teach us all to be better creatives, but these are the ones that have at some point influenced my career. What gets your creative juices flowing? Share it with me in the comments section below!