Ceding control to consumers: crowdsourcing lessons from LEGO and PepsiCo

Sarah Shearman

For the past 15 years, LEGO - the Danish toy brand - has been "very serious" about community development and proactively working with its biggest fans. And, according to Peter Espersen, LEGO Group's head of online communities, this approach has delivered significant benefits. "Not only does championing fans help us reach people outside of the company; it creates coherence inside the company," he said.

Speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, Espersen discussed how the firm has raised the stakes with its existing community of passionate fans to crowdsource numerous product designs. At LEGO, he revealed, fan engagement is not limited to the marketing department, but is part of the entire corporate culture, extending to C-level managers, who meet its greatest advocates, talk with them, and become inspired by them. "Basically, we all are fans of the fans," said Espersen.