With the Masters of Marketing awards rapidly approaching us, rumour has it members of the public are able to nominate their favourite brands for the ‘Brand of the Year’ category.

Never one to miss an opportunity to talk about stuff I love (it certainly makes a nice change from the moaning I do on Twitter) I jumped at the opportunity, and am nominating LEGO for the coveted prize.

Hopefully, many of you will agree.

Before I begin my apotheosis of the tiny bricks, I should make a disclaimer: I’m a big LEGO fan. I might even be called an AFOL by certain equally-nerdy types. But that’s not why I’m nominating them. Well, that’s not the MAIN reason I’m nominating them anyway.

No, I’m nominating LEGO the brand, as well as the product, because I utterly LOVE what it does online. Genuinely. I think it's one of the best, most prolific examples of a brand that has embraced digital to elevate itself and work with its fans.

It hasn’t always been this way. Back in 2012, I contributed to an Econsultancy piece called LEGO: great online strategy, but what about the social? As much as it pained me to do so, I postulated that LEGO didn’t really GET social media, and weren’t using it to anywhere near its full potential.

Three years on, and I’m pleased to say I will happily eat my words.

LEGO has really turned things around, and not just in a 'get up to speed with everyone else' way. It regularly goes above and beyond to make digital work for its brand. For instance:

The cinematic phenomenon that was The LEGO Movie included a credit sequence filled with fan-made creations and models, many of which were sourced due to Lego’s brilliant (and ever-growing) relationship with adult LEGO fans online. 

Whether through photo-sharing sites, forums or individual fan communities, LEGO now has a real handle on how to best work with fans in a collaborative way.

The LEGO Ideas site (previously called Cuusoo, for reasons which escape me) is another fantastic demonstration of its commitment to listening to fans.

What started out as a geeky corner of the internet has now produced some of LEGO’s most famous models of recent years, from the much-hyped ‘Female Scientists’ to the recent ‘Big Bang Theory’ model.

These creations are designed (and voted for) by fans, and make headlines with every new release.

As well as the must-have Facebook brand page, LEGO now works to create social communities for many of the off-shoot LEGO brands. From Minecraft to Chima, Architecture to Duplo.

While this might sound like a bit of a no-brainer, it works really well for LEGO, allowing very different fans to geek-out over their favourite product without having to suffer a lot of irrelevant content in their timelines.

All of this on top of the brilliant mobile apps they’re creating, the constant expansion of their online gaming (including some brilliant additions to the world of Minifigures) and the epic partnerships with brands we all love like Marvel and Star Wars.

Hopefully you’ll agree with me on this one, LEGO is a definite contender for ‘Brand of the Year’.

Vote for your own favourite Brand of the Year at The Masters of Marketing awards, brought to you by Econsultancy and Marketing Week. Please hurry, the deadline is 23 September 2015.

Henry Elliss

Published 19 August, 2015 by Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss is a senior strategist at Good Relations and contributor at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or via his own parenting blog.

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Emeline Tissot

Emeline Tissot, Consultant at Emeline Tissot

A no-brainer as far as I'm concerned! The Lego brand is inspiring in many ways, and so very true to its mission! Sometimes for entertainment (I highly recommend Toscano Brick's YouTube channel for excellent adaptations of film trailers) but often for serious matters. Lego invests in education and gamification through the Lego Foundation and their Lego Education programme, offering teachers new resources to encourage learning. In 2013 the Foundation went a step further and founded the International School of Billund, Lego's birthplace in Denmark, which applies the brand's education principles and stimulates pupils' creativity from an early age. Just in case people needed more reasons to vote for them... ;-)

over 2 years ago

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Rudi de Groot, Social Business Specialist at Hostnet

Ofcourse Lego is doing very good. The ideas site however is borrowed from Starbucks who was the first with this one: http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/

over 2 years ago

Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss, Digital Marketing Director at Tamar

Hey Rudi - whilst I agree that Starbucks do it well, I'm not sure you could suggest they "came up with" the idea of crowdsourcing fan ideas. Many brands have been doing it well for decades.

over 2 years ago

Duncan Wright

Duncan Wright, Director at BSA Marketing

Cuusoo is a Japanese company that has a platform (www.cuusoo.com) for crowdsourcing ideas. Lego Ideas was formally a partnership between Lego and Cuusoo I believe, hence the name.

over 2 years ago

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Darren Ward, Director of Product Marketing at User Replay Ltd

Agreed. Truly innovative. My nephew creates his own lego movies thanks to the Lego app that enables him to build stop motion movies of his Lego models. Very educational too. I'm a bit of an AFOL as well and just building the Lego Technics 24 hour Racer. .. they should roll this out in schools as would be a great way of getting kids into engineering.

over 2 years ago

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Christie Fidura, President at The Perfect Circle

I am a big fan of the LEGO social presence and commitment to being better at marketing, including their social strategy. I love their campaign from a few years ago: The $100.00 Christmas Campaign. The VP of Marketing challenged the team to create a campaign for Christmas costing just $100.00 (the amount of money in their pockets around the table). Their campaign (build a LEGO showing your favourite thing about Christmas and then share it on social) was a massive hit, and easily engaged kids. This is smart, out of the box thinking, without relying on big budget spend.

over 2 years ago

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