Ikea brand strategy / positioning case study

Ikea Brand Strategy Analysis

Retail – homeware stores

Owner of the brand:
Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Key competitors:
Home Depot, B&Q, Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart

Brand essence

Creating a better everyday life for the many people.

Brand values

Design, accessibility, inspiration, sustainability.

Brand character

Warm, friendly, positive, creative, inspirational, for everybody, Swedish.

Dominating archetype

Ikea was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 in a small Swedish village called Älmhult. The brand’s name is an acronym formed from the initials of the founder’s name (I and k) and the farm and the village where he lived as a child (Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd respectively). For the first five years, the company did not sell furniture, but smaller items such as pens, wallets, watches and picture frames.[1]
In 1951, Ikea published its first catalogue, which remains its main advertising channel to this day. All Ikea stores (except for one store in the Netherlands) operate under franchise agreements.


Although Ikea’s founder became one of the richest people in the world, he was famous for his frugality (for example, he used to drive second-hand cars and wear clothes from flea markets)[2]. He has instilled cost-consciousness in Ikea’s DNA and as a consequence, accessibility has become the brand’s underlying value. Ikea prides itself on the fact that its products are affordable and therefore for everyone. “For us, good design is the right combination of form, function, quality, sustainability and a low price. We call it “democratic design”, because we believe good home furnishing is for everyone. It’s why we’re constantly exploring smarter, thriftier ways to do things“.[3]


The core of Ikea’s brand strategy lies in recognizing the prominence of celebrating everyday life, while acknowledging that your home, big or small, is the most important place on Earth and your quality of life affects your well-being and happiness. Ikea defines its brand vision as “creating a better everyday life for the many people”, highlighting its focus on both great design and functionality (“better everyday life”), as well as low prices (“for the many people”). This vision is implemented in every level of the organization – from Ikea’s business model to its product and marketing strategy.


Although Ikea’s global brand strategy is consistent worldwide, certain differences in the way it is communicated across the world are apparent. For example, the messaging in the UK is softer and more emotional, focusing on admiring everyday life and making it more wonderful (e.g.,”Enjoy the little things in life, maybe they are really the big things[4]). In the US, the communication has traditionally been more action-oriented and focused on improvement rather than celebration. In the UK, Ikea uses “The wonderful everyday” tagline. In the US, the brand for a long time described itself as a “Life Improvement Store” and only recently started using the “Make the dreams yours” tagline.


Ikea’s employer value proposition (EVP) is consistent with its overall brand strategy. Unlike other big companies, which focus primarily on creating a high performance culture in which individual effectiveness matters more than anything else, Ikea takes a different approach, placing a stronger emphasis on teamwork (“togetherness”)[5] and the empowerment of employees. The company wants to ensure that its employees and suppliers take an enthusiastic approach to what the company is trying to achieve – a better everyday life – and at the same time, attempts to create a better everyday life for them (“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people – for customers, but also for our co-workers and the people who work at our suppliers.”[6])


Ikea grasped the concept of the Regular Guy archetype like no other brand – everything the brand does is about the beauty of everyday, which can be experienced by everyone.


Dominant colours: blue and yellow (the colours of the Swedish flag).

Most important campaigns

1. “Why We Make” (2020, US)

2. “Lamp Recycled” (2018, Canada)

3. “IKEA – Hooray! To The Wonderful Everyday” (2017, UK)

4. “Wonderful Life” (2016, UK)

5. “Every Other Week” (2016, Sweden)

Official brand statement:

Our vision and business idea
At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.[7]

Interesting facts:

In 1994, Ikea launched a campaign in the US which is believed to be the first to feature a homosexual couple; it was pulled after several weeks due to terrorist threats directed at Ikea stores.[8]


1. Ad Age on the “Why We Make” campaign
A. Pasquarelli, “Ikea Spells Out Its Commitments In New Brand Campaign For U.S. Market”, Ad Age, Jan 2020,

2. “The wonderful everyday” case study
L. Tiersen, K. Mackay, “Ikea And The Pursuit Of Everyday Wonder: How The Retailer Revived Its Fortunes”, Campaign, Oct 2017,

3. Adweek on the “Make The Dream Yours” campaign
R. Klara, “Ikea Says The American Dream Is About More Than Just Buying Stuff”, Adweek, Sep 2016,

4. Ikea explains its brand vision
“Life At Home – Where Our Vision Begins”, Ikea, Dec 2013,


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