IKEA hej: How Agile Principles Can Bring Content Production and Community Building to a Whole New LevelDienstag, 16. August 2016

IKEA hej community content co-creation

IKEA hej is a lot more than just an online magazine about home decoration and furniture. It is a community of roughly 13,500 registered members where IKEA customers, brand marketers and influencers come together for inspiration and help, or just for having fun!

Community members show how they decorated their homes with IKEA products, influencers weigh in with tips and tricks and IKEA staff provide service around the products.

Christian Möhring, Head of Digital at IKEA and Preethi Mariappan, Chief Creative Officer at the agency Razorfish, will be giving insights into hej at the Content World Conference in Frankfurt – we managed to get a first preview of what they’ll be talking about and what makes the project so special for IKEA.


At the Content World Conference in Frankfurt, you’ll be presenting the project IKEA hej. How important is IKEA hej for your brand marketing?

Christian Möhring: “The concept of hej is very important to us from a brand perspective. For us, it is a chance to co-create stories together with our users and consumers and show our products in real homes. The co-creation and the creative value coming out of this helps us add another dimension to our brand messaging. We use hej and the things in and around hej to add to what we want to say as a brand. Essentially, that is the core of our whole social strategy.”

Preethi Mariappan: “I think IKEA hej does not really approach the community from the marketing end. We are not marketing TO the community. We approach it from a customers’ point of view. It is all about using content to create a community, about providing service and help to the IKEA community. The whole model is built around engagement.”

Christian Möhring, IKEA: "hej gives us the chance to show products in real homes"

Christian Möhring, IKEA: „hej gives us the chance to show products in real homes“

How do you plan the content? What do you consider most important when it comes to editorial planning?

Preethi Mariappan: “I would say insight analytics. When you are looking at such a customer-centric approach, you want to understand what your community is interested in. Where do they look towards IKEA for help? That is a key driver.

Christian made a really important point about co-creation. The whole principle of how we create content is built on co-creation. We do not create content from IKEA to the customers. We create WITH IKEA customers, with the community, with influencers. We focus on being able to create content that is really relevant and authentic, something that they are willing to engage with.

The third aspect is to focus on the right content makes. There is such a big hype around what content and marketing means these days. Most of the time, people refer to YouTube videos and YouTube campaigning, and there is very little attention paid to other, more editorial content driven formats. We look at broad format makes, based on our experience of the last 3 years.”

Preethi Mariappan, Razorfish: "We look at broad format makes."

Preethi Mariappan, Razorfish: „We look at broad format makes.“

Christian Möhring: “The way we produce and create content is quite unusual, compared to all other brand marketing activities we are running. That is what we like about the project and what brings a lot of value to the IKEA brand. Especially, when you see how things are coming together from various angles and various involved stakeholders and, most importantly, our consumers. We have also run co-creation activities with very influential partners.

There is a lot of value in not just to coming from an IKEA perspective, but to involve existing communities and influencers. On hej, they all come together. It is a great platform for presenting what we have created together.”


Preethi: “We approach content production in a completely different way from how agencies traditionally produce content. We have a physical space in the agency called the IKEA content lab, with an agile team and agile workflows. It gives us the flexibility to assemble content production very quickly.

Working with an influencer, you’ll be able to set up the space for an indoor garden shoot. You can instantly create content and use it on your platforms and social channels and see what the response is. But then you can quickly change it around to show maybe how to create the perfect working space. It gives you a lot of flexibility and agility, when you link production very closely to how you approach engagement on a moment-to-moment basis with your community.”


How does IKEA monetize the investments in such a community project?

Christian: “For us, it’s an easy answer when you look at the content production and the value coming out of it in terms of the creation, creativity and the stories. This is something unusual. The way we create the content is very efficient and very effective at the same time. There is a lot of creativity in how things come together. The whole idea of being agile and flexible is very interesting from a financial perspective, too.

„Looking at the business side, this is something that we would frame as social commerce. We see people coming from a brand or user story to visit the IKEA.de website, straight to a product to either order online or prepare their visits in a store. We are tracking this to get a better understanding of how this influences each other. “

IKEA hej has ca. 13.500 registered community members

IKEA hej has ca. 13.500 registered community members

Preethi: “When you look at great success stories, I think it is never just the agency or just the client. The partnership model is critical. That is something that has worked very successfully with the IKEA story. We’ve been able to get a working group with IKEA, the agency, the customers and the influencers that matter and connect them. We’ve been consistent about how we’ve driven that success across the years. “


Did that whet your appetite?

Why not join Christian, Preethi and a whole bunch of other great content marketers at Content World Conference in Frankfurt, 17-18 October 2016. Here’s all you need to know about the event and how to register.

Johannes Kahl
About the Author

Johannes F. Kahl ist Senior-Projektleiter bei Management Forum der Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt. Er ist u.a. verantwortlich für die Content World Konferenz und die Jahrestagung Digital Marketing. Nach einer Ausbildung bei der FAZ hat Johannes verschiedene Positionen im PR- und Marketing-Sektor inne gehabt.

Tell your story / Leave a comment