Saudi Arabia has been witnessing massive growth in the home furnishing segment due to the construction boom. The various players in the market have responded to this demand by offering a mix of local and international designs. Competitors tend to focus more on price advantages since Saudi consumers are recognised as very price conscious. The Saudi retail market is driven by ‘sales promotions’ and all brands have semi-annual promotions as part of their calendar.
IKEA takes a different approach with seasonal sales and its communication focuses on home furnishing solutions and the quality of products. Carat was asked to build on the brand’s 30th Anniversary in Saudi Arabia to pay tribute to a large segment of loyal consumers and overcome the lack of semi-annual sales promotions by finding creative ways to drive traffic to the stores.
The challenge lay in convincing non-loyalist consumers to overlook the convention of waiting for a sale to refurnish their homes and instead embrace the benefit of buying quality home furnishing solutions.
Agency research revealed that Saudi consumers are price oriented and that their purchase journey is highly triggered by “good deals”, nevertheless, most of them will not compromise on quality. Surprisingly, “solutions” were rarely mentioned when asked about a furniture brand – Carat recognised this as an opportunity. The second insight was that in store – high traffic at weekends led to low customer satisfaction, mostly at the cashiers. Carat had to push footfall in store during the week to avoid this problem.
Finally, the heavy usage of social media among Saudis would shape the campaign. Saudi Arabian’s consume online media very heavily and spend hours engaging on different platforms – they have the world’s highest YouTube consumption per capita as well as exponential Facebook growth.
IKEA launched a competition that would see 30 individuals rewarded a full room makeover. To apply, users had to record a short video on why they loved IKEA either at home or in specially created video booths in store. All of this user generated content was uploaded to IKEAs Facebook page and the videos with the most likes won.
The holistic solution consisted of a heavy OOH, print and radio campaign as well as the in store promotion. A renowned local comedian Ibrahim Saleh was enlisted to create a promotional video to be posted on Sa7i YouTube channel to elaborate on IKEA 30th anniversary. The promo was also posted on IKEA KSA Facebook page to a following of over a quarter of a million people. IKEA then took part in a famous local YouTube series “Khambalah” and mentioned the 30th anniversary within the show, reaching over 4MN views.
All the 30 makeovers were recorded reality TV style with the winners’ stories posted on YouTube and IKEA Facebook pages.
A 15sec TVC was created based on these 30 makeovers inviting viewers to visit IKEA Facebook page or YouTube channel to watch the makeovers. The TVC ran on MBC1 - the highest viewed channel in KSA and on Rotana Khaleejiah’s leading female show with a live interview from IKEA Head of Marketing. Taking into account second screen viewership in Saudi Arabia, Carat used YouTube pre rolls and a sponsorship on Rotana Khallejiah – making sure the message was visible across all platforms.
This campaign transformed the brand image of IKEA – altering perceptions and behaviour towards furniture shopping and ultimately creating a massive return on investment for the client.
• In store footfall: Target – increase visitation from 1.2m to 1.4m per month. Achieved: 1.7m (40% increase and doubled the target figure)
•Sales increased overall by 22%
•Website visits: Target - 225,000 to 325,000 per month. Achieved: 446,000 (27% increase)
•Social: Facebook ‘likes’ grew by 20% reaching 265K fans (highest growth by any retailer/competitor during this period), Instagram followers increased 21% reaching 56K fans and Twitter followers increased 430% reaching 23,100 followers.
There was a huge amount of buzz around the campaign, driving consumers both in store and online to experience IKEAs offering. The jump in social fans/followers meant that IKEA was able to reach over a quarter of a million people online where Carat posted all of the footage from the home make overs. This wasn’t just a giveaway, it was about giving people the opportunity to experience IKEA’s furniture solutions by showcasing how good a room could look with a the full package.