How LEGO is rebuilding its world through collaborations:an overview of the brand’s strategy
Updated: Nov 21, 2021
The latest years have seen the blooming of many brand collaborations, in every industry and field, beyond anything that we could ever imagine. More and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon, and this is because of the many benefits arising from this strategy: getting exposed to new audiences for a very limited cost, thus enlarging the customer base, cross-company sharing of knowledge and brand values, as well as boosting engagement and, last but not least, revenues. On the other side of the medal, instead, all this does not come without risks: companies could occur in a loss of control over their brand’s associations, causing brand dilution, and they can lose focus on the target audience too.
A brand that seems to be vaccinated against these risks is certainly LEGO, who developed countless collaborations across the years. Among the most recent (and unexpected) ones, we find partnerships with AirBnB, Ikea, Adidas and Nintendo.
We went back to the archives, in 2017, and retrieved the LEGO house – Denmark, a one-night family home filled with 25M LEGO pieces. All the items in the house are fully made of bricks, but if the inhabitants feel like missing something, they can of course build it. Entering the house itself is a playful process: families are asked what they would build if they had unlimited LEGO bricks, and just the most creative answers get the chance to spend a night in there.
But once played, re-ordering all the bricks it’s important too, and in summer 2020 this necessity gave birth to the Ikea BYGGLEK: a set of storage boxes with LEGO studs and a special set of bricks too, making reorganization part of the game itself.
“At IKEA, we always believe in the power of play. Play lets us explore, experiment, dream and discover” said Andreas Fredriksson, designer at IKEA of Sweden.
Have you ever thought about a running shoe model with LEGO bricks incorporated? Surprisingly, at LEGO they did. Last October, LEGO announced a collaboration with the industry-leading sportswear brand Adidas. The partnership focuses on a wide variety of co-branded products, ranging from shoes to apparel, targeting both kids and adults. This long-term collaboration wants to deliver the audiences of the brands with colorful, inventive products, strengthening the sense of optimism and inclusion that has become a key value for both.
LEGO has announced another highly innovative collaboration with the Japanese Nintendo. In this case, their goal is challenging: blending physical and digital ways of playing. They are successfully achieving this objective with the launch of LEGO Super Mario, an interactive figure that players can challenge in real-life levels created with LEGO bricks. Both brands share a true passion for innovation, which has brought them to rethink their original game experience.
Of course, Implementing these collaborations can take some risks. In the case of LEGO, the company is also tackling a traditional segment that rejects new collaborations because considering them too far away from the core business. However, the positive outcomes seem to overcome the risks related to the conservative segment.
The company is also organically reaching new audiences. Taking the example of Adidas, LEGO gains access to millions of Adidas’ fans who get exposed to the danish brand through Adidas’ website or stores.
Furthermore, LEGO can modify its brand associations by partnerships that transfer a sense of coolness and freshness. In conclusion, these collaborations guarantee a significant source of revenue for LEGO, which amounted to 70$ million dollars in 2019. Collaborations have been an effective innovation strategy that boosted creativity for LEGO, and it seems to be just the beginning. Only time can tell us what we can expect to be made of LEGO in the future!
Written by: Xenia Biagini, Alessandro Benini
Edited by: Nicola Curci