Corporate Eye

Lessons Learned from the LEGO Miniman

In August, the LEGO miniman turned 30 years old.  Brand icons such as the LEGO miniman have a unique way of ingratiating themselves into popular culture.  Consider Ronald McDonald, the Pillsbury Dough Boy or the Michelin Tire Man.  All of these “spokespeople” have become iconic symbols of brands.  Consumers welcome them into their homes like they’re old friends, and that familiarity and relationship leads to comfort with the brand and the products under the brand umbrella.  The end result of popular iconic characters is brand loyalty and a unique form of relationship branding.

According to a LEGO press release, the LEGO miniman is the second successful iconic symbol of the LEGO brand after the LEGO brick.  We’ve established that a brand icon can be powerful, imagine the combined strength of multiple brand icons!  And when one or more of those icons takes on a personality leading to that aforementioned relationship, then a brand has reached nirvana.

Check out these interesting facts about the LEGO miniman and see just how popular the icon has become across the globe during its 30-year life:

  • The LEGO miniman population is over 4 billion making it the largest population in the world.
  • 122 LEGO minimen are sold around the world each year.  That’s 3.9 per second.

What’s particularly interesting about the LEGO miniman is the number of brand extensions the icon has undergone.  What began as a simple policeman character has grown into licensed movie merchandise, video games, websites, and much more.  The LEGO miniman is a case study in successful brand icon and character development.

Could you create an iconic brand character to support your brand?  Not every brand icon is successful, but those that do catch on can become inordinately popular and powerful and just might become income streams unto themselves.  It’s a brand strategy worth considering.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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