K. Hinkle Weekly Update – Everything is Awesome!

LEGO Community team member Kevin Hinkle as built in "Miniland Scale" by AFOL Dan
LEGO Community team member Kevin Hinkle as built in “Miniland Scale” by AFOL Dan Pikora

Although a good chunk of my time this week was spent on administrative and logistical tasks, there were some great highlights! This year, the US LEGO City marketing team is allocating resources to grow awareness of our LEGO City train products in the North American market. Historically, these products haven’t performed as strongly here in North America as they have in other markets. So, I took the opportunity to connect the Brand Manager with the online LEGO fan driven magazine: RAILBRICKS. The two will be working together to provide some interesting LEGO City train content, make sure you check out the results of this cooperation later in the year!

Wednesday, Keith and I had a very productive meeting with a key internal stakeholder in Brasil to discuss opportunities to provide the LUG community with the same support as we do in other areas of the world. In the past, there have been some logistical challenges with shipping products to our  adult fan of LEGO (AFOL) community in South America. I am confident this first step will open up a solution not only for Brasil, but for the LEGO User Groups (LUGs) in the surrounding countries as well.

Finally, the development of our LEGO Ambassador program continues with a series of global conference calls. There has already been a great deal of discussion surrounding some of the proposed changes and future of the program. I’ve enjoyed popping into a few of the forums and email chains to get a pulse on what’s happening- but most of the development has been led by Yun Mi, Community Strategist and Keith to great reception.

I guess everything is well… awesome! Oh, and it turns out I did make it to the US AFOL Convention BrickFair Alabama 2014 after all, just in miniland form. ­čśë

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K. Hinkle Weekly Update – Visitors from the Outside

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IÔÇÖm delighted to report that a majority of the administrative work I mentioned last week has been completed, so IÔÇÖve begun diving a bit deeper into the event support applications I received from the LEGO User Group (LUG) community I support. One of the programs we offer through the LEGO Community team is designed to help show appreciation and support of various LUG hosted events. By submitting an application, I can process the data provided and determine how much support the company can offer each event.┬á I have now confirmed receipt of 64 event support applications for North America and 3 for South America.

Speaking of South America, I have partnered with my manager Keith to reach out to our local LEGO Marketing & Sales offices in the region to help me provide support for the LUG community in Brasil, Chile and Perú. Unfortunately, I was met with a multitude of logistical challenges while attempting to ship support to the South American region in 2013, so a top priority for me is to find a solution to this challenge and provide the proper support to the 3 active LUGs here. Additionally, I am working toward a higher level of communication and presence in the South American region in 2014. I have tentative plans to travel to São Paulo, Brasil in November to attend the Expo LUG Brasil 2014.

Finishing out my week, the LEGO Community teamÔÇÖs Senior Director Tormod and Senior Business Manager Daiva visited the US office from our global headquarters in Billund, Denmark. Although they were both very busy with previously scheduled meetings, we took time to touch base as a team. Thursday, I offered to walk Tormod and Daiva over to the warehouse and show them the inventory of products I use for all AFOL support programs and initiatives in North America. Perfect photo opportunity!

Meeting in Czech Republic

Today I had great meetings in Czech Republic – first with my colleagues from the local and regional marketing team, the main contact person from the local LUG and event representatives and afterwards with several AFOLs from the local LUG Kostky.org.

The day started out with a little fun activity – get lost on a graveyard (with Martina from LEGO Trading in the picture and Petr behind the camera).
We not found the short cut but luckily the way out again before darkness ­čśë

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After the inspiring meetings there was shortly time to see beautiful Prague Castle together with Radovan from Kostky.org.

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Prague evening view with Radovan.

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Afterwards I had a nice dinner with good discussions around LEGO stuff with several local AFOLs.

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One of the AFOLs was Tomas who run a quite interesting website featuring his alternate builds of LEGO sets including instructions – check the website out here who shows me his latest build – awesome.

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LEGO┬« Blocumentary Spotlights AFOL Alice Finch

The LEGO┬« Blocumentary series continues with a spotlight on US AFOL Alice Finch from Washington state! Alice is an incredible builder whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last couple of years. She is a member of both SEALUG : Seattle LEGO Users Group as well as ArchLUG : The Seattle Area Architecture LEGO Users Group. Our Creative Marketing Agency (CMA) department reached out to me in 2013 looking for members of the AFOL community to spotlight in the Blocumentary series; I was more than happy to recommend Alice and helped arrange initial contact for logistics. Check out the video!

K. Hinkle Weekly Update – Excel is your Friend.

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This week, the word “overwhelmed,” has popped into my mind a few times. Most of my time has been dedicated to standardizing and consolidating a majority of the spreadsheets, databases, and documents we use within the LEGO Community Support team. With so many support programs, opportunities, and critical information floating we’ve identified a need to bring everything together for a greater alignment among the team. There is still some work to be done but most of our information has now been migrated into its new home. This equates to hours of data transfer from documents used across both our US and Danish offices. This is one of those tasks that may have no impact or visibility externally, but I believe it will greatly benefit our alignment and information sharing internally. It’s not all glamors folks! ­čśë

Scattered amongst the necessary administrative work, I’ve had the opportunity to ship over a few event support packages for AFOL events taking place over the next few weeks in North America. I have received a total of 60 2014 event support applications thus far, with many more expected to come in over the coming months. Only a handful of these have been processed correlating to timing and priority. Additionally, I am still collecting LUG support applications although I have not had the opportunity to process any of these as of yet.

Finishing out my week, on Friday I’ll be traveling to New York City to attend a meeting with our licensing partner DK Publishing to discuss Adult Fan of LEGO support opportunities in 2014. We’ve enjoyed a great working relationship with DK over 2013 so I hope to continue this in the New Year. Last year, we were able to support a few AFOL fan sites with review copies of upcoming LEGO DK books, and we were able to secure some giveaways for the US AFOL Convention: BrickFair Virginia 2013! While in the city, I have plans to connect with a few fans in the area before heading back home.