Ikea: the company that’s great at experiential marketing

Think of Ikea and you tend to think of furniture and home accessories, not experiential marketing. But this is a company that believes in the power of experiences. And as the world’s largest furniture retailer, we should sit up and take notice of this.

Ikea’s experiential marketing strategies have seen the business become synonymous with flat-packed products. Despite our occasional assembly frustrations, their range of items has been a huge success. Ikea is a global brand but in Britain alone, one third of all furniture has been bought from Ikea. Clearly we’re not that put off by DIY.

So, what does Ikea do in terms of experiential marketing?

Quite a lot, as it happens. It has hosted a floating night market on Regent’s Canal, created an immersive exhibition about storage, delivered numerous in-store festivals and executed a breakfast-in-bed café.

Ikea even built a Swedish houseboat last summer and ran boat trips between Oxford and Reading, serving Swedish food and drink and offering a craft workshops.

Then, last September, Ikea launched The Dining Club. This is an idea that congregates around the premise of DIY cooking. The Club was in Shoreditch in London. Basically, a chef was tasked with supervising the customers’ cooking.

The Club had a real Swedish theme (a nod to Ikea’s heritage) and even had a shop, which meant participants could take a part of the experience home with them.

Of course, the kitchen had an Ikea touch to it, so by using the theme of people cooking together, Ikea was able to create a fun, memorable experience and still showcase their products.

The whole experience allowed customers to engage with Ikea’s products in a unique context and, on a sub-conscious level, elevate the Ikea brand in people’s minds.

As a company, Ikea believes in innovation. It likes to add a touch of inspiration to our lives courtesy of furniture. In the same vein, this is the way it approaches marketing.

Much like Ikea’s ethos, experiential marketing should be different if it’s to be effective. And different doesn’t mean complicated. A simple, but well-joined up plan can be successful too. So long as it’s just a little daring.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on info@hotcow.co.uk.

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