Since entering the China market in 1998, IKEA has successfully established itself as the go-to provider of affordable home furnishings. The company plans to open 40 stores in fast-growing China by 2020, yet it risked being seen as just another retailer. Marketing and communications at the iconic company is globally aligned around home furnishing solutions each year, yet it's getting difficult to excite Chinese consumers who are demanding more relevance from brands. How can IKEA convince Chinese consumers that the brand has their interests at heart?
Unlike previous launches that relied on media to convey these messages, IKEA took the bold step to engage influencers and consumers directly in a series of TedX-style talks and hands-on, creative workshops using IKEA's home furnishings. By deviating from the traditional approach where IKEA's in-house designers presented a solution, consumers could witness a stronger display of innovation and inspiration from design fanatics. These elements enabled us to appeal to a wider audience and generated a wealth of content that captured the imagination of Chinese consumers.