LONDON: Nearly 30 years since it launched in the UK, Ikea is seeking to recreate the "buzz" it generated at the time and sees creative marketing as key to its success, the Swedish retailer's UK head of marketing has said.
Peter Wright, the furniture retailer's head of marketing in the UK and Ireland, told Marketing Week that Ikea wants to connect emotionally with consumers and not be seen as a good place just for low-priced furniture and meatballs.
"When we first came to the UK 28 years ago there was a huge buzz – we are looking to rekindle that and creative marketing has to play a big role," he said.
"There is more to be told about who and what we are as we have a reputation for being secretive…We have a great story we must start telling as we've never really got into or explained it before – there is a lot of work still to do," he added.
On top of its "Wonderful Everyday" campaign, which was launched last week, the company is seeking to broaden its appeal with smaller format stores.
Famous for its large out-of-town warehouses – it currently has 18 in the UK – Ikea is now seeking to complement them with some high street stores with the first scheduled to open in Norwich this autumn.
"If you look at the number one reason why people don't shop with Ikea it is accessibility as many Brits live several hours away," he said.
"There is a logic in making the brand more accessible. If you work in retail, 90% of brand building happens in-store and by offering compelling experiences, so advertising is relatively unimportant."
The company has a good platform on which to grow. According to YouGov BrandIndex, its index rating – covering consumer perceptions of quality, value, satisfaction and reputation – has grown 4.4 points to 33.8 over the last six months.
Ikea's reputation may grow further with news that it will become the first national retailer in the UK to pay its staff more than the government's new National Living Wage.
From next year, Ikea staff will be paid a minimum of £7.85 per hour, or £0.65 more per hour than the new compulsory living wage announced in the Budget earlier this month by Chancellor George Osborne.
Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff