Since its arrival in Spain back in 1996, IKEA has earned a place in our hearts and a spot in all our homes. But, its competition is growing. In order to increase its presence and its status as a well-loved brand, IKEA gave us an exciting challenge: to build a credible and effective brand advocacy around the brand. We really couldn’t say no.
A clear challenge.
The IKEA team was super clear on what they needed from us this time :
- Improve brand awareness within their own audience.
- Connect with new audiences that could become potential customers.
Influence is often measured in terms of popularity (the number of followers), even though that metric has no direct relationship to the true ability to influence audiences.
Discovering a new path.
For this project, we redefined the meaning of influencer marketing, completely from scratch. We wanted to find those people who, despite having fewer followers, were able to generate the most credible impact (advocacy value). Thanks to them, we would generate a real trust in the audience. A more valuable, higher quality, and more cost-effective perception than any paid advertising.
It was then during our research that we discovered the brand generated spontaneous conversations. Achieving success would happen through being closer to them on social media by guiding them feeding them new stories, and boosting their visibility.
Basically, we needed a strategy that was 100% earned and totally different from what had been done so far.
The Ambässador Club.
To achieve this, we searched high and low for the people who matched what we were looking for when it came to authenticity, values, and having the IKEA gene in their DNA.
We measured their knowledge, their motivation, their connection, and, most importantly, their ability to contribute to the IKEA culture (The IKEA Way): based on values such as doing things together, leading by example, and caring for others and the planet, among others.
Thus, the first IKEA Ambassador Club had two main profiles:
- IKEA Fans: customers who belonged to the IKEA Family, are active on social networks, super mature when it comes to digital, with great affinity with the brand, and are aligned with its values. Their potential impact, based on micro-influence, was above average and they were, above all, able to reach key audiences.
- IKEA Co-workers: profiles with great knowledge and the ability to generate credibility as the internal voice of the company. Also, lending a hand with employee advocacy, generating unique experiences for them, and was an added value when communicating corporate positioning objectives to the outside world.
The first IKEA ambässador competitions.
With these types of profiles in mind, we searched for “Top IKEA Lovers” in the company’s CRM.
We analysed the candidates and measured their social audiences. We also detected opportunities within the database of co-workers, taking into account their level of digital activation. In this way, we were able to find both the external and internal ‘perfect fit’ ambassadors.
Right now, there are 121 ambassadors – between internal and external profiles – and the intention is to expand this number, although always in a limited way and maintaining a balance between each typology.
Creating a long-term value proposition for ambassadors
Most brand advocacy strategies end up having the same problem: the interest and activity of ambassadors is only sustained for a limited time. To avoid this, on one side, we defined a plan for optimisation and constant renewal according to the motivation shown by the ambassadors themselves at each stage of their relationship with the project.
On the other, we developed a strategy that brought benefits for both the brand and the participants:
- Designing a digital platform for all IKEA Ambassadors.
- Launching a relational and daily engagement strategy with them.
- Developing a branded content strategy exclusively for ambassadors.
- Defining an experiential incentive strategy for them: training, trips, events, challenges, special products, etc.
- Activating a collaboration strategy to work together on aspects linked to the perception of the brand and the company. Their decisions had an impact on the marketing strategy and specific actions.
- Launching a dissemination strategy to give them visibility through IKEA’s official social networks.
What IKEA has gained?
This mutually beneficial relationship has brought numerous benefits to the Swedish giant. Not only has IKEA increased its ability to prescribe, reach and impact new audiences, but it has also created a launchpad for ideas, co-creation and activation R&D for the brand’s entire value proposition.
The team of IKEA ambassadors also participates and helps to create important synergies with the communication activations and campaigns launched by the brand, becoming one of the most important channels for the brand.
A milestone in influencer marketing.
We’ve proven that IKEA’s ongoing commitment to building relationships with influencers without offering a monetary incentive is sustainable.
Our ambassadors have created more than 9,000 pieces of content, generated more than 63 million impressions, achieved a 5% increase in sales and an 11% increase in shop visits. And all in just 12 months of the project.
This new form of collaboration has created a true brand manifesto. IKEA has changed the rules of influencer marketing by building its own value proposition on prescription marketing, earned content and authentic communication.