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How IKEA Designs Its Brand Success – Forbes

leontyne-green-sykes

How IKEA Designs Its Brand Success – Forbes

I love brands! I’ve been fascinated by them, researched them, and had the honor of working on some of the world’s greatest brands including Sony, Frito-Lay, and Oakley. My perspectives have formed over 25 years of experience as a brand-builder, speaker, and writer. I am the author of the new book What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best from the Rest (Jossey-Bass). I have addressed leaders at national conferences including International CES, American Association, and The Conference Board, and at corporate events at among others. I’ve been quoted by Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Businessweek, and more.

is not only one of the world’s most successful retailers, growing nearly 6% in its most recent fiscal year — it’s also a powerful brand, ranking among Forbes Top 50 World’s Most Valuable Brands.  Leontyne Green Sykes, CMO of IKEA North America, shared  IKEA’s brand-building strategies at the Hub Live conference and in a follow-up one-on-one interview I conducted with her.

Her comments revealed important insights about how IKEA’s unique philosophy on and approach to design informs everything the company does — including marketing — in pursuit of fulfilling its mission “to create a better everyday life for the many people.”

1. Start with the price tag.  Sykes outlined IKEA’s brand attributes including low price, sustainability, form, function, and quality, and she explained that the company aims to deliver on all five — but she acknowledged that low price was the first driver in product development. Unlike the most companies’ product development process that starts with consumer trends or competitive whitespace, IKEA starts with a target price point. Doing so “keeps us true to our commitment to providing better every day life for the many people,” Sykes said.  “true innovation comes when you design quality furniture that’s affordable by everyone.”

2.  Use anthropologically-based consumer insights.  IKEA’s goal is to be “the leader of life at home,” so it is critical IKEA people understand what life at home is really like.  They regularly visit people’s homes, observing and taking pictures, and produce a quarterly “Life at Home” report.  The in-person, intimate approach to customer understanding enables them to uncover new routines, food habits, and wishes that people develop.  The anthropological insights are combined with results from an online panel and other published studies into a “Data Mining Board,” a digital tool that allows a user to search the information easily and identify patterns that can be translated into stories that inform everything IKEA does.

Her comments revealed important insights about how IKEA’s unique philosophy on and approach to design informs everything the company does — including marketing — in pursuit of fulfilling its mission “to create a better everyday life for the many people.”

 

Her comments revealed important insights about how IKEA’s unique philosophy on and approach to design informs everything the company does — including marketing — in pursuit of fulfilling its mission “to create a better everyday life for the many people.”

 

I’m a huge fan of Ikea – not because I like their furniture (I do) but also because the way they promote their business is excellent. In particular, I like the way they embrace families and encourage them to visit the store.

I have three small children so to be able to go to a shop and have my girls entertained while Helen and I browse the shop is a real bonus for us and our girls enjoy it too. Then to finish off with cheap ice-cream or a hot dog is just fantastic.

I don’t see any other retailer providing the sort of support to families that Ikea offers and I’m sure that it’s a huge part of their success.

Owner of Lobster Digital Marketing. I've been building and marketing websites for longer than I'd like to remember. Father of three girls, husband to Helen and supporter of Welsh Rugby.

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