In Bed with Brand – How IKEA Turned a Facebook Group Into Customer Engagement Success

Tabatha Laverty    February 5, 2015

Organization: Ikea
Industry: Retail
Web References: PSFK – Professional Search for Knowledge, HVAS Worldwide, Bazaarvoice Incorporated, Social@Ogilvy, IKEA UK

In Bed with Brand – How IKEA Turned a Facebook Group Into Customer Engagement Success

20 years ago, sales and marketing success hinged on finding potentials clients through individual business networks, making one-on-one connections with those prospects and convincing them that they needed what you had to offer.

Social media has completely changed that strategy for many companies.

Today’s customers may be easier to find via social networks but they are also highly educated and opinionated on what products and services they want. They also have high standards for service and quality and easy access to platforms to express their opinions publically.

Gone are the days where brands told consumers what they wanted and needed. Also a part of the past are operational models that consider customer service and marketing as separate business functions. Today’s consumers want real relationships with brands they feel are relevant to them and they want the brands they support to understand their needs – to “get” them.

In this audio clip, John Bell, Global Managing Director at Social@Ogilvy explains how consumer behaviour has changed over the years and how marketing teams have had to change to adapt to a more vocal and demanding customer base.


All this means that brands need to stop “marketing” to consumers in the traditional sense and start LISTENING to their customers to discover what they find exciting, relevant, valuable and engaging.

An excellent example of responding to consumer conversation is IKEA. In 2011, the UK division ran a Facebook contest. The prize? A one-of-a-kind sleepover experience at their Essex store.

The idea for the contest didn’t come from expert strategists, marketers or social media analysts. It came from customers.

A group of loyal IKEA fans started an independent group on Facebook called “I want to have a sleepover in IKEA.” When the group attracted 100,000 followers, SM CE - QuoteIKEA took notice and designed a campaign that culminated in a draw that granted 100 lucky customers their wish.

IKEA planned an elaborate party including goodie bags, hot chocolate, snacks, eye masks, free massage therapy and slippers. They even had a local celebrity come to read a bedtime story.


You may be thinking “sounds like a big investment” and you’d be right! However, IKEA turned this consumer engagement event into a brilliant marketing opportunity with real ROI.

First, they limited participants to 25 years or older – a targeted audience with disposable income. Then, they let all 100 participants select the mattress and bedding they’d be sleeping on – perhaps they also perused the rest of the collection. And before the lights were turned out, a sleep expert gave a presentation on the importance of selecting a good mattress and developing good sleep habits – “hey this new pillow might help me sleep better”.

Finally, IKEA created a fully integrated plan that promoted the event with videos, social media posts and via traditional outlets like radio and television. The promotion took place both before and after the participants were selected and the videos sharing the experience ran for weeks after the event. The Facebook campaign alone reached over 23,000 people in addition to the 100,000 who “liked” the original independent group page.

No only did the participants make additional purchases but the exclusivity of the event created a buzz that generated over 330 additional editorial pieces. Additionally, the contest dovetailed with IKEA’s simultaneous Capture-d’écran-2012-01-04-à-10.30.34-550x268“Happy to bed” campaign that highlighted research on healthy sleep habits and the importance of a good mattress and a positive sleep environment. Now bedroom merchandise is IKEA UK’s most popular product line.

It’s easy to see why the campaign earned 5 international awards and was duplicated at IKEA locations across the globe. The new social media landscape has made it essential for marketers to listen, engage and respond to the desires of their consumers in order to build brands that last. In this case, the fans clearly told IKEA what they wanted and IKEA was smart enough to respond.

Submitted by Tabatha Laverty. You can contact the author at

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