LEGO CMO Julia Goldin explains the company’s audience-first advertising

LEGO Chief Marketing Officer Julia Goldin has revealed how the LEGO Group has completely overhauled its advertising strategy.

In a discussion on customer-centricity at the Festival of Marketing 2020, Goldin began by explaining how the concept is deeply-rooted in the company’s operations.

“Our mission at the LEGO Group has always been to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,” she told GSK CMO Tamara Rogers and Econsultancy and Guild founder Ashley Friedlin.

“We talk about children being our role models. Being child-centric is at the core of everything that we do. At board-level we are very focused on how we are developing our active base of kids around the world – looking at geographic, gender, and cultural representation. When it comes to markets and sales functions, they’re very orientated towards understanding the parents, the shoppers, and being really connected to them.”

Goldin went on to explain how this customer-first focus has changed the way the company advertises its products.

“This customer-centricity has always been very important but maybe the very latest manifestation is that it is not just in our product development (which would be obvious) but also very much in our marketing, which we have switched completely in the last couple of years to audience-first.

“From a marketing perspective, both globally as well as locally, we’re orientated towards the audience that we serve – their passion points, how to connect with them, and how to have a dialogue with them.”

The LEGO CMO also touched on the need for agility in an ever-changing business landscape, particularly given the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

“In terms of responsiveness, I think it has always been a challenge for big companies, both in terms of being able to orchestrate something fast, as well as to be able to do something of high quality (especially when quality really matters).

“From a marketing perspective, I feel we can move much faster; we have been on that journey, but we have also been pushed even more with Covid. We very quickly realised that consumers needed to hear something else from LEGO, and not just about the new products that we have planned.”

LEGO man and girl playing

That “something else” materialised in March with the LEGO Group’s “Let’s Build Together” campaign. Devised and launched in just two weeks, the marketing effort was designed around getting families building, rather than buying new sets.

“That gave us the sense that we can do things in a fast and responsive way, so we are now bringing this responsiveness into a lot of our marketing planning,” Goldin continued.

The LEGO Group has had one foot in the digital sphere for years now, so you won’t be surprised to learn that that’s where Goldin’s focusing on long-term.

“The future is amazing because of the number of possibilities that digital platforms and analytics provide for us to really understand and cater to our audiences,” she said. But the exec was also quick to stress that the company’s top priority is keeping its core demographic safe online.

“The one area I wanted to talk about is children – that’s what I am excited about the most. Because kids crave digital experiences, we all know that, and most of them are not safe.

“We have a responsibility and an opportunity to provide a truly safe platform for children, where they can connect with others, where we can cater to their needs – we can serve them up all kinds of physical and digital experiences.”

That platform arguably already exists with LEGO Life, a heavily-moderated and regulated social networking app for kids to share their builds. But Goldin hinted that the LEGO Group might one day go beyond its existing services.

“Our ability to be able to do that now in a world of digital evolution, analytics, Al – it’s not going to be an easy thing to do because safety is so important, but I think it’s one of the things we should do, and if we do, it will benefit so many kids around the world,” she elaborated. “We already have millions of kids on the platform, but we have a lot of ambition to engage as many as possible and to create a true community for them globally.”

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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