LEGO is one of the most beloved brands on the planet and its social strategy is one of the most richly engaging and rewarding.

The company puts a strong emphasis on encouraging and inspiring the different communities it has created throughout its many active digital channels.

Lars Silberbauer is LEGO’s global director of social media and this morning he gave a talk at our Festival of Marketing about the finer aspects of Lego’s social strategy.

As a global director of social media it is Lars’s job to head up not just the many social channels that LEGO has adopted, but also its search marketing strategy in all territories. It’s not just Google, there are also many other search engines to consider; Baidu and Yandex all need a different type of optimisation. 

Lars also runs LEGO’s online video concerns. Its YouTube channel, Youku, the Chinese video streaming service and its recent Netflix style on demand service called LEGO TV.

The plan is to allow kids all over the world the experience of LEGO wherever they are and however they play.

LEGO’s global strategy means that the company can run a 24-hour operation. There are social teams on both sides of the USA, the UK, Denmark, Shanghai and other parts of Asia.

This means that at any time of the day there will be someone from LEGO ready to engage one social site or another.

Connection

For LEGO the social strategy is based on one simple thing: connection.

Lars made an excellent analogy here about dating. In order to make a connection its important to build intimacy, recognising there’s another human being in the room that needs your attention.

Creating connections helps build relationships.

The worst type of person you ever want to go on a date with is a high-pressure salesman, desperate to dominate the conversation with his own agenda. If you’re going to be that person, it won’t be long before George Clooney comes along and swoops away the object of your affection. 

How does LEGO create connections?

It’s a three-point plan:

  1. Recognise social needs of the consumer.
  2. Create value for the consumer.
  3. Engage in real-time. 

It’s vital to remember that social media is nothing but a set of technologies that enhances our own social nature. 

Humans are social by nature, we’re hardwired to interact socially. All businesses need to understand this.

Building together

It’s more fun when we play together; this immediately creates a network of connections. There’s also a deep sense of pride when we create something. This is manifested in the sheer volume of images of people’s own LEGO creations that fill our social media feeds and general search engines.

Kids are proud, the parents are proud of their kids. It’s all deeply positive stuff.

How does LEGO drive engagement?

By bringing down the barriers to engagement. In many of LEGO’s campaigns there is no need to download a new tool or platform, or create an augmented reality wall.

Agencies who work with LEGO are also brought in at the earliest possible stage and stay for the long haul; this enables the DNA of LEGO to rub off on the agency.

Education

LEGO requires every person in its social teams to take a licence to operate a channel or post an update. Much like a driver’s licence there’s a practical and theoretical test, and if the successful licence holder makes any mistakes the licence can be revoked at any time.

How does LEGO increase sales?

By remembering that there are real people out there and that also those real people who have credit cards and actively want to purchase a LEGO product.

As an example of creating brand affinity and driving sales, LEGO gets involved with the annual Star Wars themed day ‘May the 4th be with you’. On this day if a customer purchases a certain amount of products they will receive a free exclusive minifigure.

In order to publicise the event, LEGO got in touch with one of its own followers to ask if it could use their own photography.

This type of emotional imagery drives brand affinity, strengthens the community spirit of the channel and leads to much wider sharing and engagement.

LEGO Ideas is its crowdsourcing channel that asks followers to submit their own ideas, which are then voted for and brought to life.

There’s no marketing budget for this. There’s already a hyped up, ready built audience hungry for the product. In fact demand for the product often exceeds supply.

Real-time

As I mentioned earlier, LEGO can ensure real-time engagement because it has social teams positioned in all major territories. As soon as one country goes to bed, another wakes up to pick up the baton. 

LEGO also has a specific agile content team, which has the ability to create images and videos quickly with minimum impediment.

Ultimately there are no tricks or shortcuts to a good social strategy. Honest and personal interaction cannot be faked.

It’s not just about investing money; it’s about investing in people. As Lars ends his talk: “step up and be the human voice of your company”.

Further reading...

For more on LEGO from the blog, check out the following posts:

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 12 November, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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