What better way for a furniture manufacturer to promote its products than to let people use them? That’s what IKEA has been doing in Europe in the past few months.
In November, IKEA hosted a sleepover in its Essex store in response to a Facebook group called “I wanna have a sleepover in IKEA,” which has almost 100,000 fans. IKEA made their dreams come true and, through a contest, invited 100 of these fans to spend one night in its store and treated them to goodie bags, midnight snacks, hot chocolate, massages and manicures, and even a midnight movie and bedtime story read by Sam Faiers from The Only Way Is Essex. (Sounds like my type of evening.) The experience included a sleep expert and was designed to help educate people on how to get a great nights sleep, well, in addition to the fact that 100 people had an entire IKEA store just for themselves for an entire night. I wonder if they were allowed to make purchases.
The second example is still in the making, but IKEA fully furnished a 54-square-meter home (about 177′) for six people to live in, in the middle of a Parisian metro. From January 9th to the 14th the apartment in the Auber metro station in France’s capital will be home for these six individuals and frequenters will get a glimpse into the daily routines of five of their fellow Parisians. The project is called “The IKEA Apartment – 54 Square-Meter Ideas to Life” and aims to highlight how IKEA furniture is compatible with small spaces.
These are two great examples of listening and responding to customer, connecting the online and offline worlds and, most importantly, turning fans into advocates by allowing them to experience the brand instead of just bombarding them with meaningless messages. Sounds like XXI century marketing.