Firebrands insight: Ikea. Leverage the meatballs

The mission, ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’ is a bold statement for a brand best known for flat pack furniture and Swedish meatballs.

Ikea’s low prices and do-it-yourself offering has, for over 30 years, enamored a quirky, Swedish brand to an army of students and first time buyers. Past campaigns have tried to shuck this low-end image, but there is no denying this specific demographic has been incredibly lucrative.

Brand social presence supports their mission statement enthusiastically; populated with product demos, style suggestions and endless tips, tricks and how tos. A linked, branded ‘Share Space’comprises of a design blog as well as room inspiration. It is an innovative take on do-it-yourself styling, though it is unfortunately badly promoted on most channels. The presence as a whole is an earnest extension of a ‘helpful’ service.

The driving force behind an overwhelmingly positive social presence is the silly, inside jokes spread across the web. Elements of the brand have tangible emotional value; the abilty to assemble flat pack furniture, the shopping experience and particularly the food (Ikea meatballs have accounts on both Twitter and Facebook) are all subject to spoofs and songs, all in the wonderfully off kilter style of the brand.

So why, when Ikea’s presence and coverage is so successful on paper does it not transfer to a climb in rankings?

It is in one of the main brand offerings that the service falls short. Ikea is cheap, and cutting corners to bring down costs is par of the course. Unfortunately cutting these in responsive customer service, both inside store and out, does not endear followers. The happy go lucky online messaging is forever punctuated with complaints and grievances that go unanswered and innovative methods
of sharing content as well as exciting new marketing opportunities are kept to single platforms and boxed into promotions.

Ikea’s ranking success is far and beyond their competitors, with a presence that builds connections and real emotional value with a constantly changing audience. But to really push this ‘helpful’ service to meet the broad claims of their brand mission, Ikea needs to start engaging and reacting to the negative conversations as well as the silly ones. Useful flat-packs and tasty meatballs may generate great spoofs, but it is the customer service that will cement Ikea as a brand for ‘the many people’.

Key opportunities
Leverage emotional attachment to encourage user
content and feedback.

Be responsive to negative feedback as well as positive.
Leverage existing assets (i.e. Share Space).