22 January 2010

The IKEA Social Media Campaign. @ the heart of great strategy is simplicity.

Genghis Khan 1221, the greatest of all the Khan conquerors of Asia, Middle East, Russia and most of Europe had these words engraved on a simple stone pillar, as a sort of spiritual signpost for his followers.

"I turn to simplicity;
I turn again to purity"

Today, there is no better advice for anyone developing interactive marketing strategy enabled by complex digital channels. Let alone social media marketing.

Simplicity, as they say, is not about being simple. It's the challenge of articulating what's evolved from a creative or complex thought process to address specific objectives, in a form that's easy to comprehend, execute & measure.

Eons ago, the great Drayton Bird  related a rather damning criticism of advertising once made by a client of his. "You advertising people.... you go very deeply into the surface of things, don't you?" Perhaps, that client would today remark  brands continue to stay put on the surface of digital marketing possibilities - focused on executing broad based, digital marketing efforts, that tick the display, email, search, social media, website, Widgets, Mash Ups, A/B Testing... boxes..., but are shallow on insights and complex in execution.

Amidst this scenario, the recent IKEA Facebook campaign inspired & made me envious at the same time.

The task was to engage people in the opening of a new IKEA store, ensure the campaign can stand on it's own legs and create a ripple effect to extend the campaign beyond the borders of Malmo.

The solution to me is elegant as it's centered around a popular activity (photo tagging) on a popular social network (Facebook) to address all of the above objectives.

The campaign mechanics were simple - an account was created for the store manager, 12 photos featuring catalogues were uploaded as his album, and taggers could be keepers. This simple idea was such a hit that demand for photos grew, the pictures spread to thousands of people via profile pages, newsfeeds & links to address the second part of the brief.

Importantly, all of this was done using existing features & functions. And could still provide key metrics to measure the campaigns success: # items tagged, # participation, # Conversational threads, Conversation Valence, mentions in other social & digital channels and offline coverage of the promotional campaign.

And lastly, the freshness of the idea and it's execution made it a "social object" even for interactive marketing practitioners like myself to post about it 2 months after the campaign!

The IKEA social media campaign is beautifully summarised in this video:

IKEA's Social Media Campaign rocked it. For all those involved in making this happen, congratulations and thank you for raising the bar!
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