IKEA just delivered a brand and PR ‘non-story’ that has everyone talking…

April 15, 2019 • 2 minute read

When IKEA announced it was revealing a new logo everyone sat up and took notice; was the Scandi brand going Eric the Red colourful or Swedish thriller noir?

Neither, it turns out. At first glance, the logo looks pretty much the same as the old one. You can see it here.

However, despite apparently being an absolute non-story IKEA have managed to create a buzz, as well as to strategically implement a large-scale business change.

From our perspective, there are three ingenious elements of brand and PR here:

1. No-story can still be a story

Firstly, there’s just the PR story of ‘no real change’. The expectation is for the radical and so this story immediately grabs our interest. How is the world’s favourite Scandinavian furniture store changing? Will I like it? After all, we’ve lived with the existing brand for a long time now. But the fact that you can’t tell there is a change will, and has, created headlines, in turn creating additional value for the brand in building the strategy and developing media interest.

2. Identity equity

With the subtle changes, there’s no loss of equity in the identity. Many brands have advocated incremental evolution to their logos over many years, including Coca-Cola and Shell. After all who would sacrifice the millions in investment made to ensure consumers recognise you and continue to positively associate with you. Furthermore, the increments of change are made with consumer interest in mind; for instance subtle colour changes to ease the assault on our eyes as we wander the vastness of the IKEA superstore is all for us. IKEA, this says, loves us and wants us to be happy in their stores. Sometimes brand refreshes are about maximising what you have, and not ripping up the blueprints to start afresh.

3. Cost effectiveness

Finally, the transition from old brand to new brand is at minimal cost, in fact, it’s positively cost-effective. Great news for customers and shareholders. The change isn’t radical, in fact it’s so subtle that only the discerning (or those paying attention to the media) will tell. Therefore, no need for immediate and costly binning of millions of $’s worth of packaging, catalogues, signage for IKEA. The migration can be strategically and financially managed over time protecting existing cashflow, investments and product-pricing.

This is all good news for IKEA, who have had a good recent track record of using brand and design in tandem with PR. Just look at their approach to unicorns

Smart thinking. We tip our hats to you.

Cameron Webb, Head of Brand & Creative