IKEA recently announced a major expansion in the U.S. What makes this company so powerful that it can expand in a soft economy and in the highly competitive U.S. retail furniture market?
IKEA has become one of the most valuable global brands through years of effort. The Swedish furniture maker practically created the category of flat pack furniture and has managed to outpace competitors. Without doubt, the shrewd leadership of founder Ingvar Kamprad, lean operations based on vertical integration, a clever tax strategy, and tight controls have all contributed their fair share to the company’s success. However, there are other drivers that deserve credit including the amazingly simple yet stylish designs at affordable prices, the quirky Swedish brand personality, the thoughtfully designed superstores which entice customers to buy things they never knew they wanted or needed, and a knack for relevant innovation.
If you are in a situation where your success is attracting many imitators that threaten your market position, your best offense and defense is having the strongest possible brand. With that in mind, remember:
- Powerful brands are almost always built on a simple idea which is intuitive and appealing to broad audiences.
- Powerful brands are lived from within and radiate their true values outwards, thereby never overpromising or under-delivering.
- Powerful brands pay great attention to their customer and stakeholder touch points, thereby reinforcing a strong bond through positive experience which eventually turns into loyalty.
- Powerful brands use customer insight for relevant innovation.
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