Ikea: We work as closely with our agencies as we do our furniture designers

As it launches a new campaign celebrating how to relax at home, Ikea shares the secrets behind its long-term partnership with agency Mother London.

Ikea has unveiled a new integrated campaign aimed at helping Brits ‘relax into greatness’. Centered around the story of the ‘Lion Man’ as he recharges in his living room (predictably filled to the brim with Ikea furniture), the character is later revealed to be a father in a costume taking a break from his child’s birthday party.

The integrated campaign, which was designed by Mother London, will run in both 60- and 20-second formats from the 15 July across press, TV, cinema, digital and OOH channels.

The ad – partly inspired by the fact that lions spend up to 18 hours a day resting – is part of Ikea’s ongoing ‘The Wonderful Everyday’ brand positioning, which has already seen previous ads focus on how the retailer can inject joy into daily scenarios such as cooking and sleeping.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Ikea’s UK marketing boss Laurent Tiersen says the retail brand still has a “long list to work down” when it comes to extending ‘The Wonderful Everyday’ campaign to different attitudes around the home. And he says the campaign will carry on for “at least another year”.

Creating true collaboration with its agency

In an era of brands chopping and changing their advertising regularly, Ikea has sustained a long-running relationship with its agency Mother London. And Tiersen says this is because it’s worked out how to create “true collaboration”.

He explains: “We prefer to invest in a long-term partnership and not keep hopping around. Therefore, we make sure all our agencies, from creative to media, develop things together. We work with Mother London like we would work with a designer on a new piece of furniture; there’s collaboration every step of the way.

“If we work with a designer we also work with the supplier to find the right set up to make sure their product is ethical, functional, beautiful and sustainable. It’s the same process with our creative and media agency partners. We regularly ask Mother London’s advice on wider business decisions such as how we can position ourselves in the UK market or how we approach prices. This level of collaboration is key to our success.”

Looking at value differently

Tiersen also gave an insight into how Ikea’s marketing could evolve over the coming years. Moving forward, he says Ikea is focused on communicating a different kind of brand value, which moves beyond price.

“Perhaps in the future we will have great advertising stories to share like how our products help people on low disposable income or the fact we were one of the first to pay our staff the living wage,” he says. “There’s also an opportunity to talk about the waste efficiencies we’re driving. Above all, though, I want the brand to be about more than price.”

We work with Mother London like we would work with a designer on a new piece of furniture; there’s collaboration every step of the way.

Laurent Tiersen, Ikea

He adds: “In 2017, our shoppers aren’t just poor of money but of time as well, so value isn’t just about offering low prices but also showing how Ikea can make them feel better and is a lifestyle. We need to keep on communicating about how Ikea is about more than just selling furniture.”

Bringing Ikea to the high street

Ikea has ambitious expansion plans and is aiming to open two stores per year nationally, which will add to the 20 it already has across the UK and Ireland. However, Tiersen says this two-store figure might not just include the out-of-town sites you’d typically associate with Ikea, but could also add new smaller high street format.

The Swedish retailer has already experimented with smaller collection points in the UK but in 2018 will debut smaller sites, some of which are in high street locations, in areas such as Greenwich and Exeter.

He concludes: “If the high street concept is successful we could potentially then roll it out at speed. From what we see from our trials we have good footfall on this format. People are engaging with the brand in a different way and it’s more personalised. These high street sites could be good for generating more impulse buying.”

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  • Harry Cole 13 Jul 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Intigration of ideas and goals, a long term business relationship and a versatile strategy. What a great partnership between an agency and client, that is serving up some excellent campaigns and marketing opportunities.

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