In February 2014, folks of all ages flooded the cinemas to watch the showing of the first movie in the LEGO franchise – The LEGO Movie. Creative name, right? Even with such a straightforward title, it grossed nearly 470 million dollars worldwide.¹ To prove its success even more, the LEGO company raked in $ 4.4 billion in sales following the film’s release.²
Now, you might wonder, what valuable nuggets staffing firms can learn from the movie’s resounding success? The answer lies in seven specific tactics we’ll cover in this blog.
The Building Blocks of Childhood Entertainment
Before we explore what made the movie a blockbuster, let’s learn more about this creativity-inspiring, foot-aching toy that made its debut in the 1950s.
Shortened from the Danish words “leg godt,” LEGO translates to ‘play well,’ a principle at the heart of the company’s mission.³ Despite the changes over the years, their primary goal remains nurturing creativity through play.
By the 1990s, the LEGO group was recognized as one of the ten biggest toy manufacturers in the world. Unfortunately, the hype died down in 1993 as people got tired of building and rebuilding with the same blocks they had at home.
To fight brand fatigue, the company began innovating, which led to its collaboration with many household franchises. From Harry Potter to Star Wars, the LEGO group made LEGO sets featuring scenes loyal to their movies!
Although this was a great marketing idea, the cost of licensing and production almost threw the group into bankruptcy. Their solution? They refocused their tactics on what’s important – their family audience.
What The LEGO Movie Taught Us
Going back to the first movie of the franchise, what exactly made it so successful? Let’s focus on the three main factors that contributed to its boom worldwide.
1. Collaboration with Franchises
Similar to their earlier efforts, the LEGO movie collaborated with popular franchises to build familiarity with their audience. By featuring well-known and loved characters from different worlds, the movie effectively broadened its appeal to a wider audience.
For example, are you a Potterhead who wants to see Dumbledore in action? Or maybe you want to see Batman and his batmobile in LEGO form? The hype created by this cross-promotion helped boost merchandise sales and the excitement and interest of fans from different fandoms. Talk about universal appeal!
2. Unique Animation Style
Although the movie used computer-generated imagery (CGI), it remained loyal to how viewers expect LEGOs to move if they were to come alive. Producers mimicked a stop-motion animation style to capture the charm of physically playing with LEGOs.
By faithfully imitating the real toys’ movement, the LEGO movie became visually distinct and memorable to the audience. It also created interest in children and nostalgia for people who grew up playing with LEGOs!
The movie also depicted the actual toy’s features, like its two faces with different emotions and LEGOs’ U-shaped hands that can hold particular objects. What made it more interesting was how it incorporated these features into the movie using a humorous approach.
3. Relatable Storyline
The third and most prominent factor that made the movie successful was its relatable storyline. The movie revolved around an average construction worker who was eventually given the big task of saving the world.
The underdog trope equipped with a skill or a vision that can save all of LEGO humanity is definitely a storyline viewers have seen thousands of times before, whether in games or films. This generic plot of the hero’s journey is not new, but the LEGO movie successfully added its own twist near the end.
In addition, the movie revolved around creativity and teamwork, resulting in a universal appeal. The ending (which we won’t spoil!) also evoked emotions from the families who were the primary target audience.
What LEGO’s Success Can Teach Marketing Pros
No one can doubt that LEGO movie marketing succeeded, but what can you learn from its strategies? To give your company a competitive advantage, consider understanding and applying the following lessons.
1. Always be consistent.
Once you’ve established your branding, always stay loyal to it. Even when experimenting and innovating, always stick to the brand you’ve created. Consistency in branding and messaging is key to becoming a famous name in your industry. So, maintain a recognizable brand identity throughout your marketing efforts.
Take the LEGO empire. Currently, it has three movies, video games, and even a movie series, but all of them stay true to the LEGO brand. They all feature LEGOs that move the same way physical toys do. This helped them become more recognizable among their target audience.
Say, you’re a staffing firm specializing in tech candidates. You’ve established a brand identity known for reliability and finding the perfect tech match. Now, a new trend has emerged – holographic interviews.
It’s tempting to dive in but remember: Don’t lose sight of your brand. Ensure your holographic interviews reflect the same values your clients love – precision, personal touch, and tech-savvy. This consistency assures your clients that while your methods evolve, you’re still the staffing superhero they can trust.
2. Embrace your uniqueness.
Take the time to determine what makes your company unique. Whether it’s your specialized industry focus or the services you offer, know what sets you apart and bank on it. For example, it could be your razor-sharp expertise in the healthcare industry and your commitment to offering personalized job matches.
Now, take a page from LEGO’s book. Your unique selling points and that personalized touch must shine in every marketing move, just like those iconic bricks.
3. Relate to your audience.
A marketing strategy is only effective if it reaches its target audience. To do this, you must first understand the people you’re targeting. Ask the following questions:
- What are their pain points?
- What are their possible goals?
- What challenges are they experiencing?
When answering, don’t rely solely on your knowledge. Don’t be afraid to do research and tailor your marketing tactics based on what you find out.
When relating to your audience, don’t hesitate to explore different subbranches too. For example, the LEGO group launched LEGO Friends in 2012 in the hopes of attracting girls to also play with their products. By acknowledging that family includes all genders, they were successful in widening their audience and relating to them.
4. Add your spin on generic tactics.
Just like how the LEGO movie took an overly used plot and made it interesting using their own twists, you also need to add your own spin when using tried-and-tested marketing tactics.
Instead of following generic content marketing, add your unique perspective. Offer insights and ideas that only your company or your experts can provide. Just remember that in your effort to make a generic tactic more interesting, you’ll stay true to your niche and company branding.
5. Use product-centered marketing.
Every post on social media and every new content posted on your blogs should always be product or service centered. Instead of relying on marketing tricks, dedicate your effort to showcasing what your firm can offer.
Everything released by the LEGO company features its unique bricks and characters. Moreover, they’re always focused on their central ideal which is creative play.
This is also something you should incorporate in your content marketing strategy. Clearly communicate your ideals and the value you can bring to potential clients and candidates. Emphasize what you have to offer and the benefits people can have by partnering with your firm.
6. Create strong partnerships.
Just like Lego worked with franchises, don’t be afraid to collaborate with others when necessary. Consider complementary businesses or organizations from which you can benefit.
Having strong partnerships can provide many advantages, like expansion of your company’s reach and improvement of your credibility. Great partnerships built on solid foundations can also lead to mutually beneficial marketing opportunities.
7. Always strive for innovation.
If you can learn just one tactic from the LEGO group’s marketing, it needs to be their willingness to innovate and improve. Even if you already have clients who trust you, you must continuously develop your company’s marketing efforts.
From families to little boys and girls, LEGO is constantly innovating in ways to reach broader markets and audiences. Let this be your building block as well.
Embrace innovation and stay attuned to your target audience’s changing needs. Don’t be afraid to make changes as long as you stay true to your brand. In doing so, you’ll improve customer experience and your company’s overall statistics.
UNLEASH YOUR INNER BLOCKBUSTER WITH A PARTNER WHO GETS IT
The LEGO Movie showed us the building blocks of marketing success, and now it’s your turn. Connect the dots, build your strategy, and make it pop with Allied Insight, your digital marketing ally.
We’re a full-stack marketing agency that knows staffing firms inside out. Let’s turn your brand into a box office hit with effective marketing strategies. Contact us today, and let’s script your marketing success story!”
1 “The Lego Movie.” Box Office Mojo, Nov. 2023, www.boxofficemojo.com/release/rl643728897/.
2 Picchi, Aimee. “For Lego, Everything Is Awesome.” CBS News, 25 Feb. 2015, www.cbsnews.com/news/for-lego-everything-is-awesome/.
3 “The LEGO Group History.” LEGO, 25 Feb. 2015, www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/lego-group/the-lego-group-history.