LEGO is a Danish toy production company based in Billund, best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys, the famous interlocking plastic bricks that everyone has played with at least once. Recently, the Lego Group has also built several amusement parks around the world, each known as Legoland, and same as the bricks those attract both children and adults.
In partnership with eTail Asia, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Alexander Toft, Head of International Market Expansion, LEGO.
RiA: What are LEGO’s plans for APAC and how are you differentiating the offer across markets? How are you enhancing the customer experience across Asia?
Alexander: The LEGO Group is on a continuous journey to bring LEGO play to more children around the world. That of course includes APAC, where we already have a great base, and where we see growing demand for the brand, as well as affinity for creativity and learning through play across markets.
In terms of differentiation and enhancing the customer experience, we try to do this in a few different ways.
As just one example, on the product side, last year we released sets which celebrate classic Chinese culture and legends, with offerings ranging from the popular LEGO Chinese Traditional Festival to the LEGO Monkie Kid theme.
We also leverage our various distribution channels to provide unique experiences. One example would be the recently launched LEGO Certified Store in Suntec, here in Singapore. It features local elements (such as a bespoke Merlion mosaic wall), as well as features such as an augmented-reality kiosk — the Digibox — which shows what your completed LEGO set will look like once assembled.
RiA: We have seen LEGO expanding into collabs, how do you choose your partners?
Alexander: Collaborations are a great way for brands to broaden appeal and reach new audiences. And the concept is not really new for LEGO, given we’ve had sets and themes based on popular 3rd party IP (like Star Wars) for years. But more recently, we’ve started working with a wider range of partners, such as IKEA and Adidas.
I’m not personally involved in selecting these, but I think it comes down to finding partners with whom we share common values and can work with to further our mission. So with Adidas (with whom we have a multi-year partnership), the collaboration will see new co-created products to inspire creativity and foster a more playful, positive and inclusive world for adults and children from any background. And with IKEA, part of the idea has been to increase play opportunities by removing barriers, in this case via a storage solution called BYGGLEK.
RiA: LEGO has a wide target market being loved by adults as well, how do you manage to target the different demographics?
Alexander: We definitely have a very diverse consumer base. Our focus has of course historically been on children and that continues, with plenty of opportunities to further inspire more kids around the world. But since I started working at LEGO, I have been stunned at how many people I meet who turn out to be adult fans!
We will continue to make sets for adults in the future. But there are also great opportunities to leverage our adult fan base for their creativity and ability to serve as positive ambassadors for the brand. As an example, some of our most successful sets have been created by adult fans who submitted their designs though LEGO Ideas, such as LEGO Central Perk.
RiA: How are you deploying digital marketing in your expansion strategy?
Alexander: We had a record year in 2020, and given the global context, that clearly wouldn’t have been possible without a very strong digital strategy, including around marketing. So digital marketing is critical overall, as well as for our expansion strategy.
I think a key element here is making sure we’re always innovating, and doing so on locally relevant platforms. One example of this would be when LEGO Southeast Asia teamed up with Lazada Singapore last year for the #LEGOMasterpieceSG livestream.
RiA: What will you be discussing at eTail Asia?
Alexander: “Reducing friction – How to cross borders more quickly than your predecessors to explore new global revenue streams and better connect with consumers from other countries”.
RiA: What are the key topics you are keen to listen to and why is eTail a must not miss event?
Alexander: I think topics like “Thriving in a New World of Retail” and “Building Agile & Resilient Supply Chains” will be super relevant given the changes that have taken place over the past year.
More broadly, I think the event will be a great opportunity to get inspired by a pretty diverse range of leaders and businesses.
Register for eTail Asia here