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IKEA is cool and here are 5 reasons why

If one were to take an inventory of the furniture currently filling my Long Island City apartment, he or she could discover that the sofa bed, the bureau, the lamp, the table, the armchair, the fan, the bookshelf and a fair number of the dishes in my 5 x 3 foot kitchen are all IKEA brand. Oh yes, and the bath mat, as well.

I’m even currently in the market for another bookshelf and I have my eye on this little beauty. Clearly I’m an IKEA fan: Its products are cool, simple and attractive and paying a visit to an IKEA store is an experience rather than a tedious shopping trip. I’m not one who enjoys shopping (for anything), yet an expedition over to IKEA I do not mind.

Although there are many reasons why IKEA is an excellent brand, here are the five most recent that come to mind:

  • IKEA created the smallest (and biggest) Web banner ad known to mankind: IKEA has more than 2,800 products. To showcase them, the brand crafted a 10.5 x 8.8 cm web banner that actually fits them all inside! You can search by department, browse and buy right there on the banner itself, just like you could in the store. The project means to demonstrate that IKEA products are all about saving the consumer space without sacrificing style. It’s the cutest thing ever.
  • IKEA Australia actually gives you a reason to keep its print catalog for the whole year: IKEA is paying its customers for the space the annual catalog takes up in their homes. Those who agreed to “rent this much space to IKEA” can sign up online to start receiving monthly rent checks redeemable for in-store discounts. The campaign was developed by agency 303Lowe. The radio spot — in which a man with a Swedish accent says, “I’m looking for somewhere to rent. I don’t need a lot of space … eh, 22 centimeters by 20. That should be plenty. I will pay you to sit on the arm of your sofa, to lie on your coffee table or to curl up beside your bed” — is especially adorable. (Cue to 1:19 in this video to listen to the audio.)
  • IKEA is building its own neighborhood in London: IKEA’s going to take 26 acres of historic but woefully neglected stretches of docklands and turn them into a new development to be known as Strand East. It’ll have 1,200 intelligently designed apartments, “a sense of community and you.” My favorite planned feature is the water theme — apparently there’ll be two waterways on either side of the new development, which means, according to IKEA, “opportunities for moorings, water taxis and a floating bar. Akin to a mini-Venice.” Yeah!
  • IKEA understands that assembling furniture is not an innate gift we were all born with: There’s always a screw left over (or loose) when I try to put something together. IKEA gets it and is there to help with a series of “how to build” videos on YouTube.
  • IKEA is bringing back the home theater: Goodbye “cord clutter.” IKEA is planning to launch a new furniture line — to be called “Uppleva,” the Swedish word for “experience” — that’ll integrate TV, speakers, a Net connection and disc players into one handsome console.

Check out this in-depth cover story on IKEA North America’s CMO Leontyne Green and what she and her team are doing to keep IKEA awesome.

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