Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
#BuybackFriday represents a culture-shifting in-store experience for customers, leading to a seismic shift in brand affinity. By successfully integrating circularity into IKEA’s business model and reimagining the IKEA long-term customer journey (from when people’s new furniture becomes their old furniture), IKEA succeeded in transforming the customer relationship to embrace sustainability, brand loyalty and longevity.
With over 61,000 pieces of furniture resold around the world and 3.7B impressions, IKEA drew their customer base into their sustainability strategy with a positive, collaborative solution. This has optimised the customer experience and positioned IKEA as a frontrunner in sustainability.
Increasing circularity is vital to sustainability. More sustainable practices are needed.
IKEA makes durable furniture at affordable prices. It is also deeply focussed on sustainability, with a goal of becoming a circular company by 2030.
Actions already taken includge prioritising recycled and sustainable materials, introducing energy-saving and water-saving solutions for the home and using more plant-based foods into their restaurants.
Nevertheless, IKEA’s price-point and easy home-assembly means that it is still better known for its flat packs than for its sustainability credentials and vision.
IKEA wanted a sustainability campaign that would make a ‘statement’ about sustainability and promote their credentials in that space.
• Help position IKEA as a leader in sustainability, recognised for its action and commitment
• Inspire and enable people to live more sustainably
• Inspire and lead transformational change in the business community
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
Consumers want to see brands take real action. Token gestures are scorned. Brands must demonstrate their values and make an impact on the world.
IKEA’s statement about sustainability would have to be backed with iconic action. A one market stunt would accomplish nothing. They had to think bigger.
On Black Friday – a day of excessive consumption - IKEA did something radical, at an unprecedented global scale...
It started buying customer’s furniture back.
In 20 countries all over the world, from Black Friday onwards, IKEA customers could return their unwanted furniture to stores, in exchange for up to 50% of its original value. The second-hand furniture was then fixed up, displayed in-store and sold on to other customers at reduced prices. Any unsold furniture could be donated to charity or recycled, ensuring that nothing went into landfill.
(Activity built on relatively unknown local pilots in Canada and Australia).
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
Instead of talking about sustainability, IKEA disrupted their business model the world over and went all in for unprecedented action, rather than communications.
Our strategic approach was to:
• Introduce clear brand action which would have tangible impacts for consumers as well as the planet.
• Embrace and promote the use of second-hand furniture, giving IKEA a visible place in the circular economy.
• Promote this circular activity vs. new furniture brand deals on Black Friday, earning media attention and evidencing the authenticity of IKEA's sustainability ambitions and commitment.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
In 20 countries around the world, IKEA adopted this game-changing approach, using Black Friday launch date for maximum attention.
The practicalities of introducing this circularity into IKEA’s business model required big changes to their operating model:
• New pricing models for used IKEA furniture were devised.
• A new digital valuation tool was built and rolled out for consumers and staff, enabling purchase back and resale.
• IKEA in-store space was adapted to accommodate the receiving, handling, presenting and selling of the second-hand goods.
• 160,000 co-workers worldwide were onboarded through an internal program, training them on the circular economy and new business practices
An online film and TVC made the idea public and highly shareable. This then went out on owned platforms, social and to journalists and media outlets with the full press release.
Social media posts, print and outdoor pushed visibility of the initiative further.
List the results (30% of vote)
• More than 61 000 items resold
• 1M+ items quoted
Reach and Engagement
• 3.7BN+ impressions
• 5,800+ total mentions (number of online news articles, blog posts, or social media posts)
• 1,200+ mentions across news and blogs
• 4,600+ mentions across social media
• 88.6K+ total engagements (likes, comments, shares)
• 1,546+ news articles have mentioned the campaign
• 37+ countries have shared the news to date
• Coverage was achieved across vast spread of top tier media outlets, including BBC, CNN, Reuters, AP, Fast Company, ABC News, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Hypebeast and Bustle, to name just some.
• 96% neutral to positive sentiment across online news and social media
Please tell us how the brand purpose inspired the work
1. IKEA exists to make homes better, and the home we all share is our planet.
2. IKEA is deeply focussed on sustainability. It aims to become a circular company by 2030 and has taken numerous steps towards this goal. These include prioritising recycled and sustainable materials, introducing energy-saving and water-saving solutions for the home and using more plant-based foods in their restaurants.
IKEA’s price-point and easy home-assembly means that it is still better known for its flat packs than for its sustainability credentials and vision.
IKEA wanted to think bigger to instigate real, global change and was willing to make bold changes to its business model to do that.
So they did something radical, at an unprecedented global scale... they entered the circular economy for real and offered to buy customer’s unwanted furniture back.
The initiative launched on Black Friday to gain maximum traction for the disruptive idea.