.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Sunday, November 06, 2005

LEGO unpackaged -- Playing at a mall near you

Those funny folks from LEGO are in the news again. This time, however, it might be good news. In the article "Why Some Brands Can Stand Alone" (Business 2.0 October, 2005) Paul Sloan writes that LEGO is opening LEGO Stores in malls and tony suburbs across the United States. Actually, that’s old news. LEGO has been opening LEGO Stores for a couple of years now, not just in the United States, but also in Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

According to Sloan, “LEGO stores don't look like other toy stores. Rather they're LEGO-packed playrooms, where kids (and often adults) spend hours building, dismantling, and getting to know all things LEGO. With customers able to assemble their own creations from as many as 240 bins of pieces, each store is an opportunity to get customers interacting with the brand in a way that's not possible in the aisles of Wal-Mart or Target.”

The strategy behind standalone LEGO stores appears to be: “if it worked for Apple, It will work for us.” It seems to be working. The stores beckon to children like Sirens on the rocks. Will Duquette, in his post The Dread House of LEGO , calls them “the Perilous Pit of Plastic Temptation.”

In its review of the Chicago LEGO Store, VisualStore, Complete Retail Design and Visual Merchandising Magazine, states that the LEGO store was designed to convey three things: brand, location and creation. Something it does very well. The folks at LEGO.com explain that the LEGO Store is your local store to receive expert advice, shop a large assortment of LEGO products and play at one of our play tables—not a very exciting description.

LEGO.com That’s always the weakest link in the LEGO marketing chain for me. For example, information about the LEGO store is on the third tier of navigation. And when you get there, it’s basically just a store locator.

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