Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can IKEA convince families that self-assembled furniture will improve their lives?


For years IKEA’s bread and butter customers have been college students and studio apartment dwellers. Now, with furniture sales still on the decline they have hired a new agency – Oglivy & Mather, and are attempting to tap into some of the latest lifestyle trends.

Customization is a key part of the strategy, and the integrated marketing plan includes both a contest for star volunteers, and media targeting the Latino sub-segment.

But will it be enough to convince people that their furniture doesn’t have a cold European style, and isn’t appropriate just for lower-income groups? (Vega, 2010)

Vega, Tanzina (2010, September 13). A Focus on Families (and Furniture). Retrieved September 15, 2010, from


  1. At this point, I think IKEA's furniture is mostly used as accents in addition to the existing furnishings. I think the idea of shifting to becoming the central provider of home furniture is a difficult thing to accomplish but that positioning it with the angle of customization would be a great idea. I'd love to be able to get furniture that I could specifically add and take away things from to cater to my specific needs, more extensively than the simple height of a shelf. The only problem I really have with IKEA's furniture in general is that the self-assembly leads to unintentionally personalized products. I have a small table from IKEA whose legs are uneven due to the way I assembled it and screwed in the legs. If this defect or feature of the assembly and design could be corrected so that the items could be added or removed in some universal way, I think this could be a really great idea.

  2. I am an IKEA fan! Ever since I discovered the store for the first time about 5 years ago. The functionality of the furniture, the design, the simplicity, and the ease of construction is what made me an IKEA consumer. I furnished 2 houses and an apartment with their furniture. Ads get stale and thus sales may become stale so the company is looking for a fresh ad idea and has a fresh new market to target. The new tag line may work, but as far as I'm concerned, customization has been a foundation of the products. They are to furniture what Apple is to electronics. IKEA stores are all about experience and the products are advertisements unto themselves. If O & M focus clearly communicate the message of what's important to their target market, IKEA will continue to be successful, people will begin to put higher value on their pieces, and that the design is cutting edge and fashionable. By the way, a little shout out to those swedish meatballs!

  3. I already see IKEA as a cheap furniture store, so the idea of bringing in a seemingly cheap brand will not effect the company badly. I also have found it annoying that a lot of IKEAS furniture requires you to buy a lot of other IKEA products. For example, I wanted to buy a curtain, but in order to buy the curtain I had to also buy the IKEA rods, bolts and screws. I am hoping that with the brand that allows for customization and personalized products, I will be able to avoid this issue. I think this is a good idea, but I also am a fan of the old European look...

  4. Modern, sleek, affordable: these are the first three words that come to mind when I think of IKEA furniture. IKEA has always been proud of their Scandinavian roots, they even sell swedish meatballs in their restaurant. This notion of simple yet chic furniture is especially attractive to young adults because they can get a "cool" look on an inexpensive budget. For older consumers however, like my parents, the hassle of journeying through the massive IKEA warehouse-like stores usually in remote locations for assembly-required furniture is not ideal. They would rather drive down the street to Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn and spend the extra money because of their convenience. Although I was surprised to see "the comfy side of quality" featured on IKEA'S homepage, I believe Oglivy & Mather first needs to evolve the IKEA shopping experience into a more family friendly affair. If IKEA can get families into their stores to see their affordable alternatives to such brands as Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn costumers will be more willing to self-assemble.

  5. I think this is a good marketing idea, but perhaps they should focus on the fact that you do have to put the items together yourself. The fact is that most of us in this day in age do not actually build things with our hands and may gain a feeling of accomplishment after doing so. I love building ikea furniture, because I feel proud that I was able to put something together with my own two hands rather than just clicking away on my keyboard or mouse. Tapping into this trend of "DIY" might be a good idea as well.