Advertising Age did an article some time ago claiming that branding is everything. The idea is that branding is moving from just a products positioning to experiential orientation, then every touchpoint becomes a critical factor in your brand perception. So it’s not just the drink at the bar, but the service, the environment, how they made you feel and the drink.
It may have always been that way and now we are realizing it; or because products are pretty much the same, we are looking for any kind of differentiating metric to help us make decisions on where we spend our money. Either way, the emphasis now is on the holistic approach. Which is a long way to taking you to IKEA.
I was in IKEA, a really big, big-box store. I thought the prevailing winds said these were dead. This store in Chicago was packed. It looked like holiday shopping time, not the middle of July. IKEA does a lot of things right. They are so smart with the design of the store, but it is the graphic management of the store that so impressed me. Especially the iconic color of the building. Now that is color branding that makes an instant impact as you drive up. High contrast yellow makes their logo pop.
It’s basically a home store, but the cafe had a line a mile long. The cafe is not a throwaway junk-food department. It had fresh food worth standing in line for, before you stand in line to check out. They even had a place for you to give feedback after you were done with your meal.
IKEA is measuring its success not only by the bottom line, but also by the bottom line of customer experience. And that means everything to branding.