Marketing Game Changers 2022: LEGO’s Ula Bieganska

Head of marketing, LEGO Middle East and Africa

Additional positions 

Chairwoman of advisory board at Play Included (nonprofit)

Years in current position: 6

Years with company: 9

Size of department: 7

Previous jobs 

LEGO Group, regional senior manager for girls’ audience, Prague

Procter & Gamble, brand manager, fabric enhancers MEA, Geneva

Procter & Gamble, hair care associate brand manager Poland, Warsaw

Recent campaigns 

Build. Unbuild. Rebuild

Brick The Rules

Ramadan Through the Eyes of Children

What is your objective in your current role?

To inspire kids, families and adults in our region to spend time creatively playing together.

Do you have a guiding principle?

True leadership is to make people around you succeed. Staying humble, focused and genuine is the only way we can make a real difference.

How do you make agency relationships work?

I believe that agency-client interaction is about human-to-human relationships first. It cannot be transactional but has to be based on respect and care for one another and a joint passion to create something great together. That is how we managed to maintain long-lasting relationships with our partners in the region.

What work do you wish you had done?

I have done so many projects I have dreamt of and worked for
great brands in different geographies. But there is always a hunger for more.

Who inspires you professionally?

I have met many wonderful mentors who inspire me, so I would not be able to name just one. From a leadership point of view, I learn the most every day from my team and my agency partners. I work with so many remarkable individuals around me, with such a variety of skill sets and competencies, that it always brings something new to my world. Lastly, from a functional point of view, I really love reading Mark Ritson’s take on marketing.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?

Marketers struggle to be long-term driven and data-focused. We jump too often into cool, creative ideas, calling something that is just a temporary fashion trend ‘innovation’. It is a balancing act – we need to be bold and test new ideas, of course, but at the same time we should stay humble and try to learn on the way.

What is the next big opportunity in marketing?

Embracing technology while remembering ethics and keeping
the privacy of the users intact. We have a strong responsibility towards our fellow human beings and we need to respect boundaries. Many things can be done these days. It does not mean they should be done.

Recent achievements

Building the LEGO brand in the UAE.

Introducing Emirati girls as global LEGO brand ambassadors for the first time in ‘Girls are ready’ campaign.

Opening more LEGO stores in the region to bring more cool experiences to all families.

Rapid fire

  • What are you working on?
    My first fantasy novel.
  • Who are you following?
    Lots of AFOLs (adult fans of LEGO), some comedians (Ricky Gervais, Trevor Noah) and every-day humour (Dubai Problems).
  • What are you craving?
    More time.
  • Who are you hiding from?
    I never hide.
  • What app are you glued to?
    I am old school. A paper notebook is the thing I always keep with me to write down my thoughts.
  • What are you playing with?
    LEGO bricks. Always.
  • What are you listening to?
    A recording of my daughter laughing uncontrollably. Always makes me giggle.
  • What are you reading?
    Too many emails. And any bloody crime story to relax.
  • What are you watching?
    My daughter growing up.
  • Where are you travelling?
    Anywhere off the grid.
  • What is your good habit?
    Switching off my phone.
  • What is your bad habit?
    Not picking up my phone.      

Agency reference

Vidya Manmohan, founder and creative chairwoman, V4Good

Urszula Bieganska, known to the world as Ula, has been instrumental in establishing the LEGO brand in the Middle East and Africa. From making this toy brand equally appealing to girls and boys of all ages and making it more accessible to children of all abilities, to creating culturally relevant communication for the region, Ula has done it all.

I’ve known Ula for more than five years now and am fortunate enough to have worked on some award-winning campaigns over these years.

The first Ramadan campaign we worked on for the Middle East was produced locally and was a huge success story. This paved the way for many more successful campaigns and the LEGO brand taking the markets by storm.

A campaign that is very close to my heart is ‘Imagination has no gender’, work that stemmed from a casual discussion on the need to change gender stereotypes and how parents in the region see LEGO as a construction toy for boys.

We are currently in the midst of rolling out an extensive LEGO campaign that pans across most of the emerging markets in the world.

Ula is simply a force to reckon with. She personifies a superhero herself, both in her personal and work life. Her untiring passion to create work that matters goes beyond all odds. No matter how many projects she may be juggling at a time, she will always make time for some much-needed fun and games with her super-talented team. I can proudly say that she’s one of the few superheroes I’ve seen off the big screen.

Yes, she’s a wife and mum, and an amazing marketer. But what the world knows little of is the fact that she will be publishing her first novel this year, she is into adventure sports and loves trying out recipes that are hard to pronounce.

Though she paves her own path, she’s a trailblazer at it.