IKEA in Bangalore, India, may be new but the brand itself is pretty old (Since 1943). Can you imagine a 17 year old starting it back in 1943? Could the founder have ever imagined or even could have set up a goal to be the world’s largest furniture retailer? No right? Let’s see what IKEA can teach us about branding!
I love IKEA. No, I’m not a big fan of the Swedish meatballs, and I don’t particularly care for putting furniture together. But as a matter of fact which most of you would agree–the store is way cool. I wish there was one closer to where I live. Going there and coming back is like a whole day trip. We went there and spent the almost the whole afternoon afternoon there. Besides being a giant furniture theme park, it also offers various home improvement products. Well keeping aside furniture shopping for a while, IKEA teaches us a couples of things about branding…
IKEA started out in a small village in Sweden in 1943, when a 17-year-old entrepreneur began selling flower seeds, Christmas tree decorations and pencils to the locals. It wasn’t until 1953 that the first showroom opened in Almhult, Sweden; but by 1956 IKEA was designing its own self-assembly furniture for which it is now famous. Today, IKEA has over 300 stores in 37 countries.
But what’s that got to do with online branding? Here are a few lessons we can learn from the furniture retailer:
Create an experience
Going to IKEA is not like going to just any other store. Well going to IKEA was more of like an event for us. It just feels different because the whole day is different than any other usual day. I belive they strategically open the store beyond city limits so that you plan the day just for IKEA. In other words, to spend the day with the brand. It is obvious that we ended up spending the whole day in IKEA or travelling to & fro from IKEA. After having spent the whole day keeping the brand in your mind, probably for the rest couple of days or weekends the memory is going to be fresh. It’s an experience. How can you make your products or services more of an experience for your customers? What can you do it to be more memorable and unique? Deliberate on it.
Building up the environment for customer journey
IKEA also does a great job creating an environment conducive to buying. The stores are set up so that you pretty much follow a designated route. Customers go on a buying journey. There’s an intentional path you’re expected to take. Are there any other store that lay such “strategic” layout than IKEA? Are you making it easy for your customers to buy from you? Is there a “path” for your clients to follow? Do you have a customer buying journey?
Imagine the possibilities and encourage customers to visualize
Share a vision with your customers. Home improvement is not just about buying a furniture but it is also about what lamp or the carpet will go along well. This is what IKEA does. It encourages its customers to visualize the whole setup. They arrange their showroom in a way that you can envision how great their furniture would look in your home setting. Of course, if you buy a couch, you’ll want to add those cool lamps they display along. How do you show your customers the possibilities? Are you selling features or benefits? (Focus on benefits!)
Demonstrate the outcome
You don’t just look up at one product but you end up getting a demonstration of the whole setup. IKEA again is not just about selling products but they sell experience that you won’t be able to forget easily. Well, at least for couple of days!