The brand will amplify the competition and the products chosen for launch via its own social channels and online store, but it is encouraging fans to promote the push on their own social networks and blogs – which it hopes will form the majority of the media exposure for the activity.
Speaking to Marketing Week at the Festival of Media Global in Rome, Lego’s head of global community co-creation Peter Espersen said while the company is not expecting the products created to be “the next Ninjango or Lego Movie” it hopes to build on the trust it already has with its community of fans.
He said people are three times more likely to trust recommendations from friends, according to Nielsen, which explains why the company is giving fans ownership of the marketing campaign in a way it has not ever attempted before.
Epperson used his presentation at the event to explain how Lego leverages content fans have created independently – such as the group of Canadian students who sent a balloon up to the edge of space with a Lego figure attached, or the five fan-created scenes that appeared in the Lego movie.
He added that while it can often be difficult for brands to hand over so much ownership to consumers, marketers need to understand that they are more interested in content created by passionate people than “someone who would sell their grandmother to get you to buy Lego bricks”. But yet a lot of marketers “fear the customer and deep and heavy user”, he said.
To overcome this concern, Espersen told Marketing Week marketers should “get out of their ivory towers” and stop relying on tools such as social media listening services and instead go out and talk to their customers in person to dictate their communications and new product strategies.
He added: “Our c-level management gets out there and interacts with our users and fans. It can be a mind-opening experience. And all brands should be doing this. If you’re a toilet paper company, you should go to the supermarket and talk to mums with four kids about how you can make their lives easier.
“As a marketer, if you have a strong, real relationship with your user, they will teach you things. It is about not being full of yourself and having a relationship with the people that use your products – they are your livelihood.”
Lego has also created hundreds of online global user groups, or fan clubs, to provide the company with feedback and to suggest new ideas, something Espersen believes other brands should replicate, to become part of the “ecosystem” of their industry or niche sector, rather than just dictating messages.
In February Lego credited “innovation” and digital for growing revenue by 11 per cent in 2013, four times the revenue it was posting 10 years ago.
Espersen will be revealing more about the UK co-creation campaign at this year’s Marketing Week Live.