A Glimpse Into Successful Branding: IKEA
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
IKEA has become almost synonymous with affordable furniture in multiple regions across the globe.
In fact, from a small mail order business in the forties, it’s now expanded has a total of 313 stores across 38 countries.
They have a great brand strategy. And they. are. killing. It.
Let’s take a quick look at how the Swedish furniture company made things work.
They Bleed Blue and Yellow.
Last week, I made a quick mid-day escape to IKEA’s Alexandra branch, where I got the authentic IKEA in-store experience.
The Swedish company is well-known all over the world for its affordable price points and not to mention, tasty meatballs (sorry-not-sorry for making our readers hungry).
IKEA’s brand personality is so prominent in every aspect of their business that they’ve managed to create a strong brand presence without ever being hardsell about it.
Everything IKEA does is congruent with what the brand’s about, from their brand promise to the way they position themselves, to the way the physical store is laid out.
IKEA’s found a great way to play against their competitors, simply by positioning themselves effectively.
Clearly, the ball’s in their court.
Instead of making too many brand promises, IKEA has just ONE — to provide the most affordable household items to their customers.
Strolling around the store, blue and yellow shopping bag in tow, I found myself tempted to buy items I never knew I needed.
Colourful cushion covers for $7.90? Pastel-hued towels for $3.90? A table lamp for under $20? Why not, right?
Had I visited IKEA on a Saturday, I would have grabbed things off the shelves and shoved them into the bright-hued shopping bag with reckless abandon.
The store offers a plethora of affordable furniture options; from swivel chairs starting from $79 to tables priced reasonably below $200.
Because IKEA focuses on just one brand promise, they’ve been able to channel their manpower and resources effectively to fulfill it.
Notice how all IKEA furniture is flat-packed? It’s part of their business strategy to keep storage and transportation costs low.
Its flat-packed chairs and shelves near the check-out counter are arranged neatly and systematically for customers to pick up.
To remain affordable, IKEA decides the price of a product before designers actually work on it. They’ve managed to produce furniture that’s elegant yet economical because the operations and design team work closely together.
IKEA also receives massive discounts from suppliers, since they manufacture everything in bulk. The economies of scale drive down the cost of each product — and these savings are passed down to us (major YAY)!
Where else would I find a sturdy shelf for less than a hundred bucks?
They incorporate the element of human touch.
We interact with IKEA’s products a lot more than we think. From picking up the hardcopy catalogue and flipping through its pages, to getting lost in the never-ending maze of furniture and eventually, assembling the furniture part-by-part on our own.
I recall being hunched over a crumpled instruction sheet, forehead creased in concentration as I tried to assemble my chest of drawers. It was a rather unsuccessful endeavour until help arrived.
Though this may not seem like an advantage at first glance, the assembling of IKEA furniture has become a common and relatable experience for most folks.
IKEA’s smart that way — they know how to weave their brand into a unique user experience, and they’re able to pop up in random conversations.
The 2019 IKEA catalogue is put together like an interior design magazine. During my visit, I briefly leafed through the catalogue and was impressed by its well-composed photos and appealing visual elements.
We’ve really got to hand it to IKEA for always staying on top of their game. IKEA has managed to stay updated and relevant, despite the trends that have come and gone. The catalogue looks fresh every year, plus the layout of the physical store gets frequent makeovers.
IKEA’s kind of a trendsetter, too — content like this help homeowners get inspired when it comes to decorating their homes.
IKEA doesn’t just sell its products. IKEA sells a lifestyle. seamlessly blending its offerings into lifestyle shots. This extends to other aspects of the brand, like the design of their brick and mortar store. The physical IKEA store features a series of well-designed living spaces, created to showcase how their products would look, feel and fit in an actual home.
Through a detailed brand strategy that covers all ground, yet is easy enough for consumers like myself to relate to and understand, IKEA has succeeded in building a strong brand.