Outside the box: Benefiting from consumer-generated content

By Allison Barwacz, Digital Media Content Producer


Not all of your content has to be created by you.

Lego customers produce 20 times the amount of social media content posted by the company’s social media team itself, said Lars Silberbauer, senior global director of social media and video for Lego, during a keynote speech at Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lego’s social media strategy focuses on a number of factors, but one in particular stands out as a fundamental key for audience content creation and engagement: social needs.

Humans are, by nature, social creatures, said Silberbauer, and companies need to cater to those needs.

Sometimes this requires thinking outside the box—a task the Lego social media team frequently takes on.

In one particular instance, during a meeting, Silberbauer instructed his coworkers to take all of the money out of their pockets and put it in the center of the table: They’d use the $100 they accrued for their next social media campaign.

George, born from a $100 Lego campaign, visited San Francisco. Photo by Trevor Hirst
George, born from a $100 Lego campaign, visited San Francisco. Photo by Trevor Hirst

It wasn’t an easy task, but the 2011 meeting resulted in the conception of George, a simple Lego human-like figurine. The goal of the campaign was to encourage consumer engagement, so the team posted an image of George on Facebook, encouraging viewers to build their own “George” and post pictures of him in unique destinations in the comment box. The contestant with the most “likes” won a Lego prize. The simple campaign resulted in its own Facebook page, its own hashtag (#legogeorgetravels) and hundreds of consumer-generated posts. Content is still posted on the Lego George Travels Facebook page today.

Another Lego campaign featured the “Kronkiwongi,” a made-up word designed to stimulate creativity in children and adults. In 2015, Lego asked a number of children what a “Kronkiwongi” is and videotaped them constructing it out of Legos. The campaign grew to a point where the company began selling “Build your own ‘Kronkiwongi'” Lego sets.

Leveraging success

Of course, brand managers and social media coordinators often struggle with allowing consumers to drive content production rather than constantly produce it themselves. The strategy often can take away the control managers have over their social media pages, but it’s something the Lego team has accepted as normal—and as a part of its formula for success.

“We don’t control everything,” Silberbauer said. “We basically don’t control anything. We can leverage what is happening.”

So how does the company leverage its success? It all circles back to one factor: catering to social needs. And using multimedia is an integral part of that task.

It’s clear that these particular Lego campaign strategies centered around multimedia content. Whether through photos or videos, the company made sure to tailor content to its customers’ desires, interests and needs.

For instance, the makers of the “Kronkiwongi” video keyed in on the interests of its target audience—parents paying for their children’s Legos—and delivered content featuring kids being creative, fun and, perhaps most importantly, cute.


“The first five seconds of a video are when people decide to keep watching it or not,” said John von Brachel, SVP and content marketing executive for Bank of America, during a Content Marketing World keynote speech. Plus, the human mind processes visuals 60,000 faster than it processes text, which didn’t hurt the Lego campaigns, either.

Lego leveraged the first five seconds of its video with a simple question: “What is a ‘Kronkiwongi?'” From there, it focused solely on the kids, their comical answers and their creations. Today, that video has nearly 3 million views on Facebook.

Oftentimes the simpler your content is, the better. In some cases, this particular content comes from your consumers. And sometimes, these two factors diverge to create some of the best content on your social media pages and websites. And the ultimate sign Logo’s campaigns were successful? We’re still viewing them years later.

Allison, who attended the 2016 Content Marketing World conference, holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism with specializations in Spanish and English. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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