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Lego’s Julia Goldin on how diversity and digitisation is driving the brand forward

The brand’s marketing chief explained how seeing digitisation as an opportunity rather than an enemy has fuelled brand growth.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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“We knew long before the pandemic that kids love fluid play from the digital to the physical.” Julia Goldin, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Lego Group was explaining at #RESET2021 how the role of a marketing chief is to keep your eyes firmly on listening to the consumer, while simultaneously projecting the shifts and trends that will impact them in the years to come.

It’s an approach which has seen the business built on Lego bricks evolve into a multi-media brand, with an immense respect for and relationship with its consumers at its core. “People ask if digitalisation will kill the physical, but it's up to us to see digital as an enemy or opportunity,” explains Goldin. She believes that by seeing it as an opportunity it can have a positive creative impact.

Powerful brands offer value not just through the product but through the brand message.

Julia Goldin

Powered by partnerships

It is this positive perspective which underlines Lego’s approach to partnerships and Goldin shared how the brand takes it's time to iterate and develop its partnerships as they go. It’s an agile approach which has served the brand well.

Sharing the approach and attitudes she believes are key to Lego’s success, Goldin revealed how the ‘one team’ mentality is embraced by the entire company, with all employees understanding the brand purpose.

She also pointed to the hugely positive influence that diversity has brought to both the company and its creative output. “We have such diversity,” she explains. “We have very different backgrounds from the perspective of cultures, race, gender and backgrounds,” she added. Noting the fact that this focus on diversity also extends to a diversity of experience. “We have engineers, creatives and marketers and all of these cultural differences and experience come together. And we can leverage that diversity and that is key to our success,” Goldin says.

Protecting innovation and brand values

Goldin shared how the brand responded to the crisis. Notably it didn’t simply place its innovation plans on hold and shift to an entirely reactive marketing model. “We protected the innovation going into the market,” she says.

By safeguarding the new product and innovation pipeline the brand could capitalise on shifts and increased demand in the market such as the growing number of adults finding what Goldin describes as “moments for joyful focus and relaxation through Lego”.

She also remained focused on the brand messaging. “Powerful brands offer value not just through the product but through the brand message,” she adds.

Designing to entertain

Goldin shared how the brand responded to the crisis, starting with how the group moved quickly to support employees in China at the very beginning of the crisis. “We had to do everything possible to keep our people safe,” she explained.

The brand also had to recognise the lived experiences of its consumers, with Goldin noting that 80% of children have been in a home-schooling environment in 2020. This is what powered the ‘Let's Build Together’ campaign which launched in response to the pandemic.

Goldin notes that the campaign, which reached 80 million people, “had no commercial message”. Running on the brand’s owned media channels it featured 200 creative ideas generated by designers in their homes designed to entertain consumers.

Resilience is not just about pushing through all the difficulties. It is about giving time off to replenish and restore yourself.

Julia Goldin

Redefining resilience

“Resilience is not just about pushing through all the difficulties. It is about giving time off to replenish and restore yourself,” explained Goldin. Sharing how her experience as a Jewish immigrant from the Soviet Union has shaped her approach, she noted that she knows what it is like “not to have”.

She revealed that she was told as a Jewish immigrant to the US that she should be “limited in the opportunities we would receive.” She added that the immigrant mentality is “you go into the virtual unknown and you thrive.”

“I am able to get into situations that are new. I was not afraid to live in different places to try new roles because of this ability to thrive in the unknown,” she adds.

It's a fearlessness which underpins Goldin’s career. Before joining the Lego Group in 2014, she was Global Chief Marketing Officer at Revlon. She also had a 13-year career with the Coca-Cola Company, where she held several senior global and regional marketing roles which took her across the globe, including Division Marketing Director of Northwest Europe and deputy Chief Marketing Officer of Japan.

The reset moment 

This ability to thrive is powering Goldin’s approach to the reset moment the industry collectively faces. It’s about resetting and finding that personal resilience and energy is what everyone needs to go through. The world will move on and the future is bright. “We have so much influence on so many different things and we can change for the better,” she explains.

In her role at Lego this positive change translates to ensuring that all kids, boys and girls, kids of different culture and colour, can grow up and believe they can do anything. It’s an approach reflected in the company’s dismissal of outdated and limiting stereotypes.

Urging the industry to take a step back, she believes that a big part of resetting is in fact focused on support and feeling respected as individuals. At the other side of the crisis Goldin believes that the world will be a more inclusive place. “We can build on that,” she adds.