IKEA show that shoppers and retailers can be friends
Working with clients who haven’t developed their brands and don’t really know what they stand for is a big frustration. They are condemned to sticking to a repetitive, predetermined timetable of activities that deliver temporary sales peaks but do little to change long term consumer behaviour and drive brand love.
Consequently, Zeitgeist loves brands that are so sure of themselves and their place in the lives of consumers that they can respond confidently to unique or unexpected opportunities that come their way.
Increasing IKEA are showing themselves to be such a brand.
Turning a nightmare into an opportunity
It is said that alongside death and divorce, moving house is one of the most stressful experiences we can face. Indeed one might wonder whether the relatively stagnant property market has developed benignly to give us one less thing to worry about.
However, if packing a few rooms worth of possessions can be so traumatic one can only recoil in horror at the thought of having to move an entire furniture superstore.
This daunting task is precisely what recently faced IKEA in Bergen, Norway as they transferred to a larger, more modern property.
Luckily the goodwill they had built up and confidence in their brand allowed them to turn a huge logistical nightmare into a fantastically engaging event.
Making it happen
Identifying that when you move having friends muck in with small tasks can make a big difference, they invited the whole town to turn up and play their part.
A multimedia campaign called for volunteers to come along and complete tasks ranging from planting the first tree to helping the mayor at the opening ceremony.
Great ideas are contagious and soon people started volunteering for tasks that weren’t even on the list.
Top selling Norwegian rapper Lars Vaular offered to perform a live concert and skydivers parachuted in to celebrate the opening.
Looking back, it would have been easy to reject the idea, fearful that it would backfire and no one would turn up. Other brands would certainly have taken that route, preferring to invest in safe, proven activities.
Fortune, it is said, favours the brave.
And so, an activity that could have been as unpleasant as death was turned into a fantastic brand experience. Around 20% of the town turned up to mark the event as it became IKEA‘s most successful store opening ever, breaking all sales records.
Let’s not forget that the whole event was only possible because IKEA were bold enough to try something new. Their confidence stemmed from the knowledge that they had developed their brand and understood their place in consumers lives. There was no risk that the party would fall flat.
Fortune it would seem, also favours the prepared.