The Lego Model: How to Build Your Social Brand

It seems to me that there is one universal truth in this world: Everyone loves, has loved or is nostalgic for Lego.

It seems to me that there is one universal truth in this world: Everyone loves, has loved or is nostalgic for Lego. From the incredible success of The Lego Movie, to the product enjoying decades of success, not to mention the successful video games in a variety of genres, Lego may now be more relevant than at any point since it launched in 1949–a fact supported by Brand Finance naming Lego the world’s most powerful brand in 2015.

In 2016, you don’t have a hope or a prayer of being the most powerful anything without an incredible online marketing campaign behind you. Lego has certainly accomplished this thanks to a groundbreaking online marketing campaign which hits its high notes on:

  • YouTube: Its online video is bordering on being a private publishing house to rival any TV network.
  • Twitter: Its 140 character content is playful, fun and easy to share.
  • User-generated content: A summary of Its user-generated content is difficult, but I could easily call it the best campaign I’ve seen.

I am going to look at each of these different aspects of Lego’s marketing in an effort to show you how to build your own brand similarly. My only regret will be not having covered everything: Contact me for a novel if that’s what you want.

YouTube and online video marketing

Let’s start with Lego’s YouTube marketing, as it is just ridiculously well done. Lego is a global brand without a single doubt, and it fully acknowledges this in its video marketing efforts. Would you like proof? Watch these two videos:


As you probably figured out, neither of those videos is in English. Lego creates videos and completely dubs them over in a wide variety of languages. The millions of people who speak these languages develop a deeper bond than any subtitled video could possibly create.

Lego does this for a wide variety of content, as well. Take a look at this screenshot of its uploaded videos, and you’ll get an idea of the many different series it features and updates regularly:

LegoYouTubeVideos

Lego has fully committed to creating online video for its fans, and it is paying off in the kind of brand loyalty that leads one to become the most powerful brand on earth.

This is not its only success in the online video world, and it is not its greatest. The most popular videos it currently creates and uploads directly feature its creations. It does this in two ways. The first is in its Lego Creator video series, where the people who actually design the Lego packs talk about what they’ve made:

It couldn’t be simpler or more direct in how it markets a product, but it works to the tune of hundreds of thousands of views every time Lego uploads one. This goes to show that if you get experts talking about your products, with a great setting and lots of energy, you can create product related videos on YouTube.

The second way they do this is with these completely silly Lego News videos:

This is episode No. 7, and it has received more than 600,000 views in one month. All it does is present Lego’s products in a fun way. It is, of course, a long commercial for its new race cars, but it is damn entertaining.

The flaw in Lego’s online video

There is one terrible flaw in Lego’s online video that I would highly recommend you not replicate: It does not do a proper video outro that links to other videos or a push to subscribe. The credits roll, and you’re left to choose whichever thing you’ll want to watch wherever you want, and you can completely forget to subscribe.

Make sure to create your own video outro for each and every video, which gives viewers at least one more video of yours to click on, with a push to subscribe to maximize your video marketing.

Twitter content

Lego has been doing something that I’ve been observing about the top Twitter accounts in the world lately. From @Starbucks to @Samsung Mobile and even @LEGO_Group, they all use audience segmentation to break their potential followers up into smaller accounts, which all feed up to the main account.

For example, there is the main @LEGO_Group account. While that account is at a respectable, but far from industry leading, 362,000 followers, that account isn’t all Lego has up its sleeve. It segmented their audience to include dedicated accounts, with dedicated content, for:

And on and on as Lego looks to create accounts that appeal to specific followers in its audience, give them the exact content they want and push them up toward the main account.

Lego also really gets Twitter content, as is way too evident by this tweet:

I’d retweet that in a heartbeat.

Lego is also quite keen on having content prepared in advance for trending topics it knows about before they happen. This includes both traditional and non-traditional holidays and events, as well as using the hashtags associated with them:

These tweets and their consistent retweet numbers don’t happen by accident. Lego plans to be viral in these moments in advance and creates unique pieces of content that perfectly suit the moment. Your Twitter marketing needs to do more of this in an effort to get more followers, spread your message in a viral way and reach new audiences.

User-generated content

This is where it all really happens. Lego’s user-generated content campaign is the single most impressive thing it does, by far. It’s called Lego Ideas, and every brand should find a way to make this part of their online marketing strategy.

It works quite simply:

  1. A fan creates an all new Lego construction on his or her own time.
  2. The fan uploads it to the Lego Ideas website.
  3. Their idea has a set amount of time to garner 10,000 supporters on the Lego Ideas page.
  4. Fans do all of their own promotion to drive for those 10,000 supporters.
  5. Once they reach 10,000 supporters, the Lego review team picks their favorites.
  6. The best Lego Idea creations become real Lego playsets sold worldwide, with a percentage of the sales going to the creator.

This may be the best example of user-generated content in the history of online marketing. It covers every aspect of Lego’s business, as fans bring it new ideas and do all of the promotion themselves.

To look at Twitter as an example, support for these models comes from nearly everywhere:

Yes, that last one was a Lego Ideas set for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Who would have thought an idea like that up? A science nerd looking to appeal to science nerds, of course.

That’s exactly what this entire user-generated campaign does. It puts Lego right in the middle of an enormous cross-section of interests and makes it a niche product in nearly every niche you can think of.

And some fans get serious about promoting their LEGO Ideas, all at no cost whatsoever to Lego itself. Here’s what the creators of the LEGO LHC made on YouTube:

It’s a direct parody of an iPad commercial. You just got science pranked.

When it comes time to choose the new sets, Lego produces a YouTube video that shows who won. Here’s the most recent one:

Are we sure that the people at Lego get paid to have this much fun?

What this all means for Lego

From top to bottom, Lego looks to be having great fun with its entire online marketing plan, and it hardly has to do any work. All of these videos, people on forums promoting their own creation and videos with links have done so, so much to create tons of backlinks for Lego. This will cement its brand as one of the top in the world both on and offline.

If you ever get half an idea for a user-generated content plan, be sure to think about how all of this can come as a result. Free videos, Twitter content and backlinks, not to mention product ideas! What else could you want?

Matthew Yeoman is an online marketing analyst and writer. You can read his blogs over on Devumi every Friday, where you can expect to read more content exactly like this. Feel free to follow the @Devumi gorilla on Twitter, as well: That banana muncher has some great content to share with you.