Working in marketing means keeping tabs on trends and innovative thinking at all times. Creativity in everything from branding to social media to advertising is constantly evolving and shifting how we view the world. Every now and then I like to zero in on one company that is doing stand-out work and take a closer look at their marketing. Last year I focused on Zappos and their devotion to customer service. 
 
Lately, it seems as though there is no escaping IKEA. One of the world’s top furniture sellers is doing so much more than creating no frills, Swedish-inspired end tables. I can’t think of a brand that is touching as many different industries as IKEA is of late. The company is mentioned in news reports almost weekly and the collaborations and marketing campaigns pop up on social media at a dizzying rate. It’s not as though any of this is new for the company, (who could forget the rock climbing apartment of 2014?) but the ideas are being pumped out faster than ever before. 
 
Their furniture generally follows a “less is more” approach, but the IKEA marketing strategy is a bit more elaborate. It’s as though someone told them you can’t do everything well, and they said “Oh yeah? Watch us.” Here are just a few of the many many schemes IKEA has been cooking up lately. 
 

IKEA RECIPE SERIES:

Leave it to these guys to put a fun “assembly required” spin on the mundane task of cooking. During some in-store events in Canada, guests were treated to special posters that served a dual purpose. Aside from promoting the IKEA frozen food offerings, the parchment paper posters also doubled as a way to measure ingredients, no measuring cups or baking sheets required!
 

BALENCIAGA TAKEDOWN:

When French fashion house Balenciaga released the $2,145 “Arena Extra Large Shopper Tote” people were quick to note that it was nothing more than a glorified IKEA Frakta bag. The iconic totes have been a signature symbol of the furniture retailer for years, and with fashion’s obsession with the highbrow/lowbrow dynamic, the imitation should come as no surprise. What set this case apart, however, was IKEA’s witty response on social media.
 
Their “how to spot an original IKEA Frakta” post went viral instantly and the internet lost its collective mind. 
 

INTERNET SPIN-OFFS:

You know you’re doing something right as a company when one thing leads to another and the consumers are doing the heavy lifting for you. The Balenciaga hype had barely died down when people started popping up all over the internet with IKEA-inspired fashion of their own. Bloggers and brands alike were showing off their creative, albeit sometimes bizarre creations in the forms of gowns, sneakers and even underwear. All IKEA had to do was kick back, relax and bask in the brand recognition. What a time to be alive.
 

APPLE AUGMENTED REALITY:

Once an Apple partnership is announced, you can assume big things are coming. This fall we can look forward to an augmented reality IKEA shopping app that according to Tim Cook, is going to change the whole experience of how we shop. IKEA has confirmed that the app will allow customers to test out products virtually “in their own home” and alter things like color, materials etc. before purchasing and having the items delivered. I repeat, (less sarcastically this time) what a time to be alive!
 

FAST PACED AND CONSTANTLY EVOLVING:

Trying to focus on a few key areas when it comes to the IKEA marketing strategy and the breadth of unique campaigns is difficult. One Google search will give you a number of other stories. Are they or aren’t they going to sell on Amazon? Are metal mixing bowls dangerous, or a fascinating science lesson? 

The key is that IKEA is no stranger to experimentation. They aren’t afraid to venture into areas that would at first appear far from their original goal. Instead, they have taken their basic model and stretched it carefully into other industries in a way that feels both playful and natural. I’m not alone when I say I’m genuinely excited to see what they have in store for us next, and that’s an unexpected level of enthusiasm to feel about the place I bought my last bed frame. 

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