A Case Study on the Cross-Generational, Gender-Inclusive Appeal of the Lego Brand
Let’s get this line out of the way right at the start: Everything is awesome. Yes, for the Lego brand, it really is.
Awesomeness can be measured in many ways. For Lego, it means exploding product sales, global brand awareness, exclusive licensing partnerships, newfound popularity with girls, a diversified digital product line … oh, and an Oscar-nominated song from a wildly popular motion picture.
But in 2015, everything is particularly awesome. According to a recent study by consultancy firm Brand Finance, Lego has zoomed past Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand. “Lego was the surprise riser, overtaking last year’s winner, Ferrari, as the strongest brand,” said Brand Finance’s Robert Haigh in a recent article in the Telegraph. “A lot of that has been due to the success of The Lego Movie, but Lego’s underlying strength is that it appeals to both sexes and all ages. Kids have an affection for playing with it, and parents see it with a sense of nostalgia.”
This parent-child dynamic seems essential to Lego’s success. Lego is cross-generational, but not in the sense that every generation played with Legos when they were young — which is certainly true. Rather, Lego continues to appeal to a generation long after that generation has grown up. The nostalgia, the connectedness a parent feels with a child when playing with Legos, is a uniquely powerful aspect of the brand. It moves Legos from being a toy to being an emotional experience. And as any worthy brand study will reveal, once you’ve reached consumers on an emotional level, you’re more likely to earn their loyalty.
Here at Britton Marketing & Design Group, we’ve done a bit of our own research into Lego’s cross-generational appeal. The video below, titled Lego Through the Generations and featuring Britton friend Joe Valley and his son Sacha, illustrates the special father-son bond created by the Lego brand.
Here you can clearly see a father and son sharing in the joy of the moment. Joe’s Legos are mixed right in with Sacha’s. They discuss the features of different pieces, new and old. They share ideas. They imagine what Legos of the future might look like. Creativity, imagination, togetherness — it’s all part of what makes Lego more than just a toy.
The analysis in the Brand Finance study adds support to this cross-generational concept. According to Haigh, “In a tech-saturated world, parents approve of the back-to-basics creativity [Lego] encourages and have a lingering nostalgia for the brand long after their own childhoods. … Lego is a uniquely creative and immersive toy.”
Lego Friends and the Power of the Girl Market
Indeed, the Lego brand transcends generations. But its ability to do the same for gender barriers has been a key factor in the brand’s recent explosive growth.
Historically, Lego has struggled to reach young girls. It was a blemish on the Lego brand, something the company was committed to fixing. After four years of extensive research and product development, it finally broke through in 2012 with Lego Friends, a line that offers the same tactile fun of traditional Legos, but with fresh settings and themes designed to appeal to young girls.