This week, we spotlight Julia Goldin. She’s the Chief Product and Marketing Officer at the LEGO Group.
We’d like to congratulate Julia Goldin and the entire LEGO team on an outstanding 2021.
The company’s consumer sales grew 22% year-over-year. Overall revenue grew 27% to over DKK 55 billion.
Operating profit rose 32% to DKK 17 billion. And net profit topped DKK 13 billion.
The LEGO portfolio earned seven “Toy of the Year” awards from The Toy Association.
“I am grateful for everything the LEGO Group was able to achieve in 2021,” said LEGO Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen. “Our passionate and committed team of more than 24,000 colleagues showed tremendous dedication and resilience to keep the world playing. Meanwhile, our strong financial performance allows us to further accelerate strategic investments to help us reach more children in the long term.”
But that kind of success wouldn’t be possible without a great marketing program led by Julia Goldin.
More than a Marketer
As an Executive Vice President at LEGO, Goldin does more than just marketing. She’s also responsible for creating LEGO play experiences.
Goldin leads the team that creates the product portfolio. She also handles research, licensing, partnerships, and the company’s own creative agency.
But she’s also a marketer’s marketer.
Before joining LEGO in 2014, she served as Global Chief Marketing Officer at Revlon. And prior to that, she worked with The Coca-Cola Company.
Rebuilding the World
Just before the start of the pandemic, Goldin launched the LEGO “Rebuild the World” campaign.
You can see the creative spot today on YouTube. It’s a reality-meets-cartoon video that features a hunter with a large toy bow-and-arrow set trying to “hunt” a rabbit. The rabbit tries to escape the hunter by running out of a field and into town.
And that’s when the fire-breathing dragon appears.
Yeah. You need to watch the commercial.
The whole point of the spot, like much of creative advertising today, is to capture the audience’s attention and fuel people’s imaginations.
Specifically, it’s designed to convince people they should play with LEGO sets.
And it’s a classic example of creativity in marketing.
Creativity Isn’t Just For Broadway
In a recent interview with Reuters, Goldin explained what she thought about creativity.
“Usually people think about creativity in terms of art or theater or performance,” she said. “We know from the work we have done, that creativity is a much bigger set of skills with much broader applications.”
She said that creativity today is more essential than it’s ever been. It can lead to problem-solving and resilience.
And you’ll be shocked to learn that she thinks the best way to boost your imagination is with LEGO sets.
According to Goldin, her company uses LEGO bricks in training sessions and in day-to-day work.
One year, the company offered a “Play Day” by bringing all employees together. They enjoyed themselves while building connections.
The company even used its own products as a source of inspiration during the pandemic. Employees used bricks they had at home to build state-of-mind representations.
“When you make something like that, it pushes you to think of what you want to communicate, and how to make it tangible.”
Julia Goldin Fosters Creativity
In what other ways, besides playing with LEGO bricks, can executives inspire employees to think outside of the box?
Goldin says that upper management needs to create the right environment. It begins with trust and psychological safety.
In that kind of company, people aren’t afraid to make mistakes. And when they’re not afraid to make mistakes, they’ll stretch the boundaries a bit. Or a lot.
Further, when people understand their ideas will get a sympathetic hearing, and they’ll also start thinking creatively.
LEGO Group’s Role Models
Goldin says that LEGO thinks of children as the company’s role models.
Why? Because they have “huge imaginations.”
When kids build LEGO structures, they can foresee several outcomes.
Adults stay more focused on one finished product.
She says that children constantly explore and avoid getting uptight when things don’t work right the first time.
“The way to learn how to walk is by falling down, and children are not afraid to make mistakes. We can all learn a lot from children and apply that to how we work ourselves.”
Julia Goldin Leads by Example
As a leader, Goldin understands that she’s also a role model. That’s why she does what she expects others to do.
For example, if employees at the company are given a “play box” of LEGO bricks, they’ll play with those bricks as well.
The folks at LEGO know it’s all about hands-on learning. And that leads to better products and better marketing.
Wrapping it Up
LEGO is just one of many success-in-defiance-of-the-pandemic stories. And it happened thanks to the creative efforts of Julia Goldin.
I look forward to seeing where she takes the company from here.