Tag Archives: Milton Keynes

The Periphery of the Brand

(Updated Dec 8 with comment from IKEA)


I’m always amazed at how companies work really, really hard on their brand, and then blow it all on the periphery.

The pictures here are taken from the Milton Keynes branch of IKEA, an otherwise wonderful store that caters to kids, has the usual IKEA range of stuff and generally lives up to the company’s brand in spades.


Except at the entrance. The trash repository is right in front of the door, and is littered with cigarette butts, burger wrappers, ash, IKEA cups and a half-drunk glass of orange that, presumably, came from the IKEA cafeteria:


It stands out like a sore thumb, depressing newcomers and those leaving the store alike. At a guess it’s not maintained, or maintained enough, because it’s just beyond the scope of the store, and so is probably not, strictly speaking, the responsibility of the store. There’s probably no guideline for this sort of situation in the IKEA manual. But IKEA is the only user of the building, and the stuff being left here is all from IKEA shoppers—some of it sporting the IKEA logo.

The periphery of the brand is often just beyond the reach of all the normal boxes a manager would tick in ensuring the brand is looking good. But that is often the exact point of contact for a customer—coloring either their first impression or the lasting one they have when they leave.

IKEA have promised to address the problem: In an email, they said: “At IKEA Milton Keynes, we strive to maintain high standards of tidiness across our store both inside and out to give our customers the best possible shopping experience. On this occasion, the maintenance of the bin does not reflect these standards however, we are addressing this, and are stepping up measures to make the necessary improvements.”

BT Brings Broadband To ‘Remote’ Milton Keynes

I couldn’t help passing this one on, though I don’t mean to mock either Milton Keynes, a charming artificial town in England, or Online Journalism, a very worthy project of the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review.

Online Journalism today picks up a piece from the BBC about how British Telecom is trying to extend broadband connections across the country. (I’ve written about this before after visiting a village in Northamptonshire, which got around the problem of BT’s glacial broadband program by building their own Wifi network.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the BBC article talked about extending ADSL reach from its present range from a broadband-enabled exchange from 6 km to 10. Testing site: Milton Keynes, a town that could not be more in the middle of England since that was why it was built there a few decades back. It’s a garden city, and its sprawling layout and majestic avenues make it the butt of jokes, and more importantly, broadband a hotbutton issue. not But remote it’s not: An hour from London, an hour from Birmingham, an hour from more or less everywhere.

Unfortunately Online Journalism got the wrong end of the stick and wrote about “Remote towns in U.K. to get broadband service: Soon, remote areas in the U.K. will have broadband Internet access, reports the BBC News. BT, the leading ISP in the U.K., is currently running a test in the remote town of Milton Keynes in hopes of establishing broadband service for the area. The town was chosen because 18% of residents experience great frustration over Internet access, a higher percentage than in most U.K. towns due to the city’s remote location.”

I don’t know whether Milton Keynesians are going to be happy about this. The Shetlands are remote. The Scilly Isles, maybe. Milton Keynes? No.