IKEA brand taps into a higher purpose to support the Red Cross in Syria

 brand strategy melbourne

Meaningful branding builds deeper customer loyalty

An unwritten law of commerce is that we do business with those we like. This applies equally to B2B sales as it does to B2C where it’s often about how much we like the brand rather than the face-to-face service staff. This isn’t just about good customer and client service, this is about going above and beyond to create relationships based on what you do as a brand that appeals to the hearts of those most important to your success. So what are you doing to add likeability to your brand?

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IKEA have demonstrated their understanding of the role a higher purpose can have in building those positive brand relationships. IKEA has transformed one of its display bedrooms in its Norwegian flagship store into a replica of a Syrian home as a fundraiser for he Red Cross’ effort in Syria, and to increase awareness  of one of the worst ever humanitarian crises. Since a civil war broke out in 2011 an estimated 11 million Syrians have left their homes, with about six million in temporary accommodation in Syria.

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Working with the Red Cross and creative agency Pol, IKEA installed a ’25 metres-squared of Syria’ project to give consumers a realistic look at what life is like in the war-torn country. The tiny space is a replica of a two-bedroom apartment outside Damascus, belonging to a woman named Rana and her four children. It has rough cinder block walls, poor lighting and few usable appliances. Beds in the home are made from thin sponge mats and old blankets and rugs are used instead of sofas. Families who haven’t been able to escape Syria often live in bombed out or crumbling buildings. The wonderful brand gesture saw tens of thousands of customers donating €22 million to the Red Cross.

Want to explore how to create a more meaningful strategy for your brand?

Anyone familiar with the store design strategy of IKEA can envisage the impact of this brand gesture. To come across this instillation whilst wandering the beautifully styled, warm and friendly customer journey through an IKEA store would be a powerful experience. I’m not sure about the idea of adding IKEA product into the instillation – that feels a little like it stepped over the boundaries of decency. However, for IKEA to understand the importance of this gesture demonstrates a sophisticated brand strategy with investment targeted at activities that do not produce short term sales, but are designed to build long term, rich and loyal brand relationships. The brand loyalty ROI on a project such as this would be as impressive as they will be rewarding. A reward well earned in my eyes.


Dave Ansett
David is the founder of Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. David has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food & beverage and entrepreneurial clients. Find out more at…
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Pics Courtesy Pol




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