Future Focus

Conversation with Laurent Tiersen, Country Marketing Manager, IKEA UK & Ireland

The home remains one of the most personal spaces in today’s digital world. In conversation with iProspect, Laurent Tiersen discusses the constant focus on staying relevant to their consumer. 
How would you define consumer trust? What do you think are the main drivers of consumer trust?

As a value-driven organisation, IKEA has always wanted to have a positive impact on the planet and to help create a better everyday life for people. Now, more than ever, brands have a responsibility not only to take actions for the greater good of society but also to enable customers to take part in this positive movement and to support them in taking small actions that could have a big impact. Our Live Lagom programme is just one example of how we share our sustainable life at home expertise with consumers. 

 

In the age of misinformation, information overload and constant consumer connectivity, as a marketer how do you ensure consumers see your brand as credible, relevant and reliable? 

We are constantly evaluating how we can remain relevant in the eyes of consumers. Affordability has always been a core pillar of our business, however we know that customers increasingly value convenience. Through our recent business transformation, we put speed into adapting to these needs. In the UK and Ireland, we recently announced our City Centre Approach starting with London and we continue to invest in being more convenient through our enhanced service offer (Task Rabbit, next day delivery) and digitalisation. We also work consistently with our consumers to understand their needs through thousands of home visits, to feed in our range development and our range presentation online and in store. Furthermore, we offer many home furnishing ideas through UGC on our own channels and social media.

“We want to create a positive social impact for everyone across the IKEA value chain.”

How important do you think it is for brands to be active in social causes? 

Consumers are increasingly favouring brands that rise above the rest and cause cultural change. As a value-driven organisation, IKEA already has a very strong brand purpose. Our vision to create a better everyday life for people leads everything that we do. From how we work with suppliers as a global brand (I-way), to how we treat and develop our co-workers (employment standards, inclusive policies, equal opportunities for competence and career development), to our responsibility for the future of our planet. This is an ongoing journey and we constantly look at how we can have a positive impact on society. Through our recently updated People and Planet Positive strategy we want to inspire and enable more than 1 billion people to live a better everyday life within the limits of the planet. We are also transforming into a circular business, becoming climate positive and reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits, and we want to create a positive social impact for everyone across the IKEA value chain. 


How does your organisation balance the needs for personalisation and privacy to build trust in the long term? 

Whilst we adopt more personalised solutions in our communications, we are very conscious of not compromising consumers’ privacy. Whenever our customers shop with IKEA, we want them to feel certain that their personal data is secure with us and handled correctly. It is one of our highest priorities to be compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and to safeguard the personal data of our customers, co-workers and business partners. We have initiated and implemented multiple activities to ensure that we have the right competence and knowledge in place to protect personal data. 

How do you connect your online and offline actions to create relevant seamless experiences for consumers?

This is a long journey for an established brand like ours which has some legacy systems, however there are some good examples already. We are integrating our push commercial activities under our own “customer experience map” which is giving great results in e-com traffic whilst maintaining our physical stores as a destination. Since we have integrated ‘store visits’ as a metric to measure our online channels over the last few years, we can clearly see the contribution that online channels have to effectively drive visitation to our stores. 

As a result of identifying the importance of alignment between our online and offline channels, we continue to explore different avenues of online channels to find the most effective and efficient ways to aid the offline shopping experience. We have previously tested a Local Campaign with Google, formally known as Map Ads, as a means to raise awareness of our in-store offer. We are also investing into pull capabilities and working towards a single view of our customer to align the whole customer journey pre- and post-purchase. 

This article is excerpted from Future Focus 2019: Searching for Trust.Download Future Focus 2019 for key insights and success stories on navigating truth and authenticity in 2019.