BC tip: Lego - Making its products work

The toymaker brings a bit of fun to the dull bits of its corporate site




The site

The corporate information areas on Lego.com use the group’s own services to provide visual clues. For example the Contact Us page has Useful Links to the right that include a model truck to point to the Order Status page and a Lego postman to provide a signpost to the Subscription Center. Little Lego heads are used to bring attention to headlines such as ‘How can we help?’

The takeaway

Few companies have products that lend themselves so handily to web page decoration. But there must be opportunities for organizations to look at what they do, or sell, and how they can be used: confectioners could use chocolate bars, oil companies little oil rigs, motor manufacturers tiny cars …

Will this make a serious company look frivolous? Not really, if done with style it will show that it has a sense of humour – just the sort of place young people should be seeking to spend their working lives, for example. The key of course is ‘with style’ – unless you can do it well, don’t do it at all.


Don’t mention the brand?

It is brave to do ‘content marketing’ without ever mentioning the brand. Brave, because ‘content’ without any ‘marketing’ is usually for the chop when budgets are decided. GE appears to have pulled it off with its popular sponsored serial podcasts –fictional stories no less – and it is worth asking whether corporate digital comms could learn anything from the GE’s success. Could they (or should they) try to do something similar?

GE’s special circumstances are probably not widely shared – namely, an obviously big budget and senior managers with open minds. Still, corporate websites should be an ideal platform for compelling, brand-free stories. The context around the story is everything – if there are cues, links and contact details to satisfy the marketing folk, the story itself can stay pure. 

Maybe fiction is taking it too far, but if the content is interesting, and reasonably on topic (eg, a fictional story about battling cancer on a pharmaceutical website), and it attracts eyeballs (or ears in the case of podcasts), why not? 

Some might view this kind of corporate sponsorship of creative works as vaguely sinister – I view it a little like medieval patronage, the prince might be evil but the sculpture (can be) beautiful…

- Jason Sumner