Oskar Valdre

Strategic Planner @ DDB Tribal

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IKEA Austria

Swedish love brand meets Austrian traditionalism

IKEA is a cult brand with an extremely strong culture, founded on the principle of democratizing well designed furniture for "the many people". As a result, it has become one of the most sucessfull companies world wide and where ever it settles down it most often enjoys a pole position in the furniture retail market. But its clever and cost efficient furniture products, quirky Swedish-ness and overall modern tone of voice doesn't always prove to be a one-size-fits-all approach.

In Austria IKEA is in a unique situation where it is not market leader. Local Austrian furniture retail chains lead the way with extremely heavy focus on price communication, special offers and heavy media spendings. On top of this Austrian consumers are known for being more conservative, are not as open to change as for example the Germans and live in a stronger craftmanship culture where made-to-last furniture is preferred over more replacable, durable options. In effect, Austria is a hard one to crack. 

Once IKEA, always IKEA

The interesting thing with IKEA is the fact that once people actually make the way out to IKEA most of them are really positive about their experience. The inspiring installations showing how the furniture can be combined, the playareas for the kids, the restaurant (and the meatballs), the unique IKEA Family/member benefits, the hot dog at the check-out, the Swedish food shop, the incredible value-for-money furniture... there are many reasons to make a full-day out of it - and want to come back for more.

Research shows that IKEA consumers are very positive post-purchase and more likely to come back than competitors' consumers. Or put differently: once IKEA, always IKEA.  

Stimulating further interest and store-visit

In order to leverage the full power of the whole IKEA concept, I want to find the main drivers and barriers for a regular IKEA visit - starting from initial consideration and going through the shopping experience all the way to the post-purchase thoughts, feelings and attitudes. 

Since IKEA has a smaller media budget than its key competitors it wil be crucial to orchestrate a consistent, integrated approach which sucessfully drives people to the store - relevant at each and every touchpoint. (It must also be said: in relation to the spendings IKEA is already doing a super job)

Furthermore, I'd like to see where in the consumer journey the Austrian specific market qualities (tradtionality, price-war communication) play a bigger or smaller role. 

First thoughts on journey: IKEA as most touchy brand in category

 


Generally I would classify the home furnishing market as a high involvement, high feel category as it involves a lot of feelings, thoughts, desires and dreams about probably one of the most emotional territories there is: home. However, looking at how the market actually behaves and how certain players talk, it seems to be more of a rational, hard-sell climate where consumers are encouraged to think about where the best deals are.

Placing IKEA in the high involvement, high feel quadrant means my journey definately has to capture some of the more emotional aspects in planning and preparing for buying furniture and visiting IKEA. I hope combining emotional feeling stages with classic sales funnel phases will work with the "FEEL", "THINK", "DO" methodolgy...

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