LEGO is a consistently engaging brand that puts a strong emphasis on encouraging and inspiring the different communities it has created throughout its many active digital channels.

It hasn’t just relied on the 65 years worth of good-will built up from being one of the most beloved brands on the planet however.

LEGO has worked incredibly hard to remain relevant across the generations by aligning itself with quality licences, creating excellent content (which lead to one of the most successful pieces of content marketing in recent years) and experimenting with crowd-sourced product developement. All of this while still remaining true to its original vision.

I recently spoke to LEGO’s global director of social media Lars Silberbauer about the more strategic aspects of LEGO’s social activity

This interview should act as a tantalising appetiser to Lars’ appearance at our Festival of Marketing event in November, a two day celebration of the modern marketing industry.

Can you provide us with a little insight into the day-to-day operations of LEGO’s various social channels? Do you have different teams per channel? Are there different strategies and goals for each one?

The channels are run by one team but from different time-zones. Primetime on social media is usually outside working hours so engagement on European platforms is carried out by my team in the US and so on.

It’s difficult to scale if you have dedicated teams per channel, so we’re focusing on the capabilities and competencies (e.g. conversations, engagement, monitoring and moderation) that can be scaled across channels and markets. But of course you need to understand the specific tone of voice on each individual channel. Therefore most of the content and engagement is tailored to the specific channel and the demographics that are using that specific platform.

How does LEGO measure the ROI of social?

We measure ROI in four different ways: direct Sales, brand affinity building, marketing efficiency and our ability to mitigate risk/damage control.

How does social fit into LEGO’s overall organisational structure?

Social Media is a part of my team that also includes Search (SEO & PPC), third party video channels (YouTube, Youku/Tudou & LEGO TV). I report to the VP of marketing & consumer engagement and we’re part of the global marketing organisation.

How important is it to have a different ‘personality’ or tone of voice on each social channel?

I consider it to be very important. It’s social media. If your brand doesn’t understand the social context then it clearly shows. Why should people care about you and want to engage with your brand?

It quickly becomes very arrogant for brands to enter channels they don’t understand, and what they basically communicate by this behaviour is that they are too big to care about the channels that their consumers regard as important.

How do you manage social at scale?

Empower people to take action, build their competencies and knowledge about the brand and give them the freedom to act on gut feelings and the tools to measure the impact of what they are doing and how it resonates with the consumers.

Do you take a global or local approach?

Yes! 🙂 We take a kind of a ‘glocal’ approach. It’s important to realise the local differences between markets, but even more important to see the commonalities and similarities between people.

All parents want they kids to be happy and want them to have fun when they play. All parents are proud of their kids and would like to show that to others and we’re all happy to see a smile on the face of a child. Universal truths like these are what drives our global engagement. Content and LEGO creations can build bridges over language barriers and borders.

Is there a social channel you prioritise over another when it comes to pushing your most important content out there, or does it depend on the content itself?

We want to be where our consumers and fans are, so that’s the deciding factor for us.

Does LEGO use social feedback to inform product design?

Yes, we develop products based on social media feedback and are also very focused on taking feedback on our existing products and bringing that information back to product development.

How effective do you feel social channels are in providing customer service?

They can be very effective, but when you have to exchange personal information to solve specific issues regarding purchases and so on you have to move into direct messing or go on the phone.

Lars Silberbauer is one of the speakers at Econsultancy’s Festival of Marketing in November. Our two day celebration of the modern marketing industry also featuring speakers from Tesco, Barclays, FT.com and more.