March 2, 2012
Quick: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of IKEA? I bet some of you thought of a big blue building. Others likely thought of good-priced home furnishings. For me, and I imagine many others, it is a memory of frustration and confusion.
We all know the source of that annoyance — it’s those darned instructions. My first IKEA experience occurred maybe five years ago when assembling a bed at my college apartment. Since then, I’ve cursed my way through the assembly of no fewer than four other pieces of furniture (cabinet, dresser, table and crib) — all of which were interrupted during an exasperated “why don’t they have a video instructions channel on YouTube?” moment.
And that was the just the irritation of a man, not a marketer. As a marketer, I found it hard to believe that a company the size of IKEA would not remedy what I figured was such an obvious reputation issue. Is it possible they really don’t know about this customer backlash, I thought? It’s right under their nose! Have they really not seen Seth Rogen making jokes about them in “Funny People“? Or Jimmy McNulty struggling to put together one of their bunk-beds in “The Wire”? Or any of the IKEA fail moments floating around online?
I don’t know if someone finally broke the news to them in a focus group or something recently, but the Swedish company uploaded their first how-to video a couple weeks ago for its popular MALM bed. With pop-up tips, on-brand animations and soothing music that could prevent some from putting their fist through a wall, it’s pretty good. I almost want to go buy a PAX LYNGDAL Sliding Door so I can put it together with help of the second video uploaded on the “How To Build” channel. OK, not really, but you get the point.
Now that they’ve started with this strategy, I’d like to see IKEA full-out embrace the notion that its printed materials are laughably hard to follow. How about a video of IKEA employees racing to put something together, full of confused moments? It could end with the CEO acknowledging IKEA furniture can be difficult to assemble and him or her inviting consumers to submit requests for which how-to video is made next. Just a thought.
Will you, builder of IKEA things, turn to these videos instead of the old-school manuals? And, I’m curious, what other brands can you think of that have seemingly obvious opportunities that they ignore for whatever reason?