“Innovation is the calling card of the future.”
If there is one name that has been revolutionary in the world of furniture for over 70 years, it is IKEA. Being the world’s largest furniture store, IKEA today enjoys the status and reputation of a cult in its domain. An acronym made up of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad (the founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up) and Agunnaryd (his village in south Sweden); IKEA has taken furniture making way beyond its basic and plain existence. It has turned it in to a unique process of innovation, functionality and an ode to the modern lifestyle. Let us tell you how it all began.
Mr. Ingvar Kamprad, his vision and the emergence of a brand
Showing the signs of entrepreneurship right from the age of 5, Invgar Kamprad found IKEA at the tender age of 17. He began the venture with the reward money he had received from his father for his success at the school! Isn’t that just fantastic for a teenager when the rest of his friends would have been happy going out clubbing with that money?
Initially, Ingvar’s aim was to sell goods by mail orders. Gradually, he began offering furniture produced by local manufacturers. He then started advertising about these furniture products in his brochure called IKEA News. Following the success and growth of the business, Ingvar came up with the first IKEA catalague in the year 1951 where the focus was entirely on furniture and home furnishing products. These IKEA catalogues today have become almost as iconic as their brand itself is.
IKEA catalogues proved to be a great idea for the brand. The business grew beautifully and by the year 1959, Ingvar Kamprad had 100 employees working for his company that he had started as a teenager.
The Turning Points
- The arrival of IKEA stores :
By early 1950s, IKEA made a major change in its way of functioning. The culture of doing business by mail order was witnessing a claustrophobic competition. It was deteriorating the overall market experience for both the customers and the business owners. IKEA decided to exit this scene at the right time and decided to create IKEA stores – a permanent and directly accessible space for the customers where they could view the products before purchasing. This overcame the flaws that business by mail order had.
These stores turned IKEA in to an experience for its customers. Here, the customers got to see and touch the affordable and well-made goods in an actual room setting. This idea proved to be both sensational and successful.
- FLAT PACKING – an innovative, incredible and ingenious move :
A small problem can give way to a big idea. A consumer who bought one of its wooden tables was finding it difficult to get it in to the car for the transportation. IKEA didn’t let it’s consumer’s issue go unnoticed and instead took revolutionary measures to solve it. They started making furniture which can be unassembled for the transportation purpose and can be assembled later on. Interestingly enough, it also involved the customer in the whole IKEA experience by letting him assemble his furniture on his own. Now, is that not just brilliant?
IKEA – The Furniture Phenomenon
Today, IKEA is more than 70 years old furnishing empire and is still going just as strong. Along with many other things, IKEA is the pioneer of self-serve furniture warehouses. The consumer just has to decide his budget, select furniture, pack and carry it home. That simple! It has 345 stores across the world in 42 countries(and still counting). It has 150,000 co-workers working under it. Its turn-over has reached the total of 29.2 billion Euros. IKEA magazines have now also been converted in to mobile apps and guess the number of its downloads – it’s 9.7 million! It all sounds so surreal, doesn’t it? Well, hard earned success has its own charm. And, at this point, let us whisper this to you one more time – IKEA was all started by a 17 year old boy with his reward money!
A thing or two to learn from IKEA
What IKEA has offered to its fans/consumers is an intense brand experience. The way the IKEA stores, flat-packing and the self-serve furnishing warehouses have generated more of the consumer’s participation in IKEA ethos, it sums up as an outstanding example of brand immersing. Its casual and friendly connect with its buyers has created an absolutely relatable and enjoyable brand essence. No wonder the buyer gets convincingly hooked on to IKEA in the world filled with many other rivals.
There has always been many names out there who made furniture. But, not everybody could become ‘IKEA’. Why? Well, IKEA never lost its grip on its consistency. Be it its unified way of communication, reinventing itself at the right times or keeping the consumer’s convenience in the centre of everything – it has always maintained its brand perception. It has a knack of keeping its consumer engaged with IKEA by a marketing tool as small as the IKEA catalogues to its latest mobile phone apps. It has always been right on the track when it comes to generating a strong brand recall. Changing times did not matter at all! IKEA never missed out on adding value to the brand experience it offers. And, THAT what makes IKEA what it is today.