The Lego Movie: a triumph of marketing insight
I watched the lego movie last Sunday. It was awesome (haha, in-joke). I know I came to it a bit late but, if I’m honest, I was a bit apprehensive. This was effectively a 100 minute marketing exercise and I knew I would leave it with a whirring mind.
Having worked in big budget marketing I was definitely intrigued to see how this was going to operate. My work throughout the years has involved understanding (and perhaps even creating) “unmet needs”, and then pushing products to “fulfil” these needs. Because of this, I sometimes struggle with the ethics of using neuroscience and neuropsychology to sell. However, in this case I just couldn’t resist being pulled in. Why? Well, the movie was clearly a triumph of consumer insight (otherwise known as consumer understanding), which was used throughout the film to build a bond or relationship with the viewer.
I had succumbed to the powers of Lego.
So how does this all work?
There’s lots of evidence to demonstrate that the ability to identify with a product, brand or experience builds affinity. This, in turn, can drive purchase and loyalty. So, lego needed to use these 100 minutes to find a way for adults and children to identify really strongly with the brand and story. And didn’t they do it beautifully! This brand identification takes place throughout the entire film; it’s simply unavoidable.
To make things clearer, I’ll give you a little background on the overall story. The film revolves around a constant battle between two different kinds of building. One approach is to stick to the “Lego building instructions” in creating pristine models. The other is the “master builder” approach, which is random and makes use of anything and everything in terms of building bricks. So, what I’m keen to know is: have any viewers noticed the pieces that were used? So many of them looked like the random bits that I find hanging about my own house. I guess they took the time to understand the kinds of things that are most likely to be found in the average home. In amongst the lego was an old plaster, a cotton bud and the lid to a tube of glue. This bore an uncanny resemblance to my back room and, I’d hazard a guess, to many others’! What I’m getting at here is that Lego has deliberately created motifs throughout the film that reflect the environment of the average viewer. This directly places Lego itself into a familiar setting; the viewer’s own home in fact. Now isn’t that handy?
How can you use the techniques used by lego to drive your brand forwards?
1. Take time to really understand your customer in relation to your brand. This isn’t just about demographics, but about a customer’s mindset when they come into contact with your brand. It’s about how they feel about the category; do they enjoy buying your products and services? Take time to deeply understand usage, even after you’ve sold to them. Just like Lego understand that their products are most likely to be found amongst bits and bobs of general household mess.
2. Use marketing to reflect your understanding of the customer, and to build a relationship with them. Even if you’re just using bridging techniques in your copy, e.g. “we know you’re tired of receiving marketing in this category…” – find a way to help them identity with your communication.
3. Invest in some of the bells and whistles around your brand. It’s not about going totally wild. A full length feature film is probably slightly over the top. But your customers will respond more positively to materials and communication that looks good. Why? Well that’s another story.