LEGO bricks are the world’s favorite toy. According to brandfinance.com, it is “the toy industry’s most valuable and strongest brand”. What’s the marketing secret behind a handful of colorful plastic bricks?
On June 9, BBA MARK & MGTO alumnus Kenny SHAM, Head of Marketing of The LEGO Group, shared his experience at the HKUST Business School Ideas Lunch Series – Alumni Online Sharing. The event was moderated by Kenny’s marketing teacher, Professor Anirban MUKHOPADHYAY, Chair Professor, Lifestyle International Professor of Business, Associate Dean of Business and Management.
At LEGO, Kenny leads multiple markets' digital, branding, retail, community, and theatrical content marketing teams. He firmly believes in creating impactful marketing campaigns that tell LEGO‘s global brand stories while incorporating local consumer insights creatively for online and offline retail channels. Kenny is also passionate about developing talents through mentorship programs.
Kenny’s dialogue with Professor MUKHOPADHYAY kicked off by exploring his marketing strategies to navigate through Hong Kong’s current events and COVID-19. With so much complex emotion built up from the disruptions, positivity, creativity, and agility were keys for Kenny and his team to keep developing meaningful and positive marketing campaigns. As a regional leader, Kenny emphasized on maintaining local relevance - “Sometimes the global decision may not be relevant to your local environment. You need to make judgments from a local perspective.”
During the Q&A session, participants were curious about how LEGO managed to reshape a beloved physical toy in the digital era. Kenny shared that LEGO had been conducting extensive research to prepare the brand to evolve with technology. While physical play remained an important aspect of a child’s early development, consumers’ appetite for digital content increased drastically over the years. The pandemic also sped up the transition into the digital era drastically.
On the product development side, Kenny shared that he and his teams have been working hard to introduce local Chinese elements to this Danish brand. Since he joined the team, they have launched various special LEGO sets including the Chinese New Year Series and Dragon Boat Race set, which have proven to be big hits. He also shared that LEGO has launched the innovative building sets merging augmented reality (AR) and robotics technology, including LEGO BOOST and the franchised ghost-themed Hidden Side series.
Throughout the webinar, Kenny also touched on his personal experience transitioning from a sales role into a marketing expert. He felt that gaining hard skills is more important for junior positions to excel and progress onto senior roles, where one can pick up the art of people skills.
When asked about his advice to recent graduates, Kenny said it is important to develop good interpersonal and social skills. “From an interviewer’s perspective...what matters more is your interpersonal skills. [Think about] How to train your interpersonal skills [is built] from your internship experiences and extracurricular activities when you are interacting with people.”
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