This article was first published on 4 August 2020 and has been updated with additional reporting.
Starting in Sweden, IKEA quickly became a huge hit in the furniture industry worldwide. With their new store opened in India in 2018, IKEA can be found in 40 countries/territories worldwide. Through IKEA’s marketing strategy, they were able to expand around the world within six decades.
With IKEA’s marketing strategy propelling their success across the world, we can also use their strategies to help rebrand ourselves for our career.
Personal branding involves building a brand around a person, rather than a business. This can help to further your career as well as land new opportunities as a business owner.
Here are 4 marketing strategies that IKEA uses which you can adopt to rebrand yourself.
#1 Take Advantage Of The Digital World To Create A Social Presence
Digital marketing is significant in IKEA’s marketing strategy as just having physical catalogues isn’t enough in our digital world. IKEA has taken advantage of the digital age by using multiple social media platforms to reach out and connect with their customers.
Through multiple platforms, IKEA is able to update and keep their customers engaged on news, promotions and giveaways. They also use creative ways to keep you interested such as having an augmented reality app that allows you to virtually view IKEA products in your own homes.
Similar to IKEA’s strategy, you should take advantage of this digital age to create a social presence for yourself. A 2018 CareerBuilder Survey shows that majority of employers also screen candidates through social media during their hiring process.
Customers are also likely to find out more about your business via your social media channels, website or other online materials.
Social media isn’t just meant to help you connect with people that you know but also to help you establish yourself in your industry. Use platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to develop a network of contacts in the industry that you are in and stay engaged, be it by starting a discussion on key ideas in your industry or getting involved in discussions.
Apart from just a social presence, there are many other ways individuals and businesses can take advantage of digital tools. For companies, the need to buy, sell and operate online can be the impetus for your next growth phase. OCBC has partnered IMDA Go Digital initiative to put together a guide on digital solutions for small businesses and SMEs.
#2 Keep Yourself Fresh Through Improving On Your Skills
IKEA constantly updates their catalogue with new products that become a part of their collection permanently. This creates an incentive for us to constantly come back to check out new items as well as attracts interests of new customers.
Similarly, you should constantly seek to improve your current skills and learning new skills. For business owners, while you don’t need to reinvent your company, you need to offer fresh and contemporary ideas. Constantly improving what you can offer as an individual or business will differentiate you from other candidates or competitors.
This can help keep current employers or clients engaged in your work while also help to reach out to others that are discovering you.
#3 Think Of The Bigger Picture
While IKEA started in Sweden, it has quickly expanded worldwide. IKEA’s products are mostly simple and minimalistic, which allows it to blend well into different cultures and countries. Besides its products, IKEA also considers how customers will buy their products and the convenience of getting to their stores.
An example is in China. IKEA stores are mainly located in the outskirts of cities to allow customers to use public transport to get to stores, due to the lack of car ownerships. While in Europe, their stores are located in the suburbs rather than the outskirts as more customers get to the stores by personal cars.
Like IKEA, having transferable skills and deep knowledge of your customers will allow you to adapt regardless of the tasks. As an individual, this helps if decide to change industries or find work in a different country. For businesses, you need to constantly work with new clients as well as customise and add new solutions that will work best for each client.
#4 Amplify What You Offer
The first thing that comes to our minds when we think about IKEA other than furniture would be the cheap meatballs and hotdogs. However, according to Statista, In 2019 IKEA’s revenue in Germany was €5.28 billion, of which, IKEA’s restaurant made a revenue of €250mil. While IKEA’s food products only make up of a fraction of IKEA’s revenue, they use their cheap food as a strategy to lure customers into the store.
Gerd Diewald, who runs IKEA’s food operations in the U.S. stated that “we’ve always called the meatballs ‘the best sofa-sellers… when you feed [customers], they stay longer, they can talk about their [potential] purchases, and they make a decision without leaving the store…”
IKEA places their restaurants in the middle and end of their stores to stimulate our shopping experience. Having to go through half of the store to get to the restaurant increases the chances that you might walk past an interesting product that catches your attention.
Similar to IKEA, you should find out the best way in which you can stand out in your target industry and amplify that it to others. Amplifying yourself in your target industry will help you stand out among others. You can do this through multiple online platforms as well as networking during conferences and workshops.
(Additional reporting by Dinesh Dayani)
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