The Periphery of the Brand

By | December 5, 2008

(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.”

2 thoughts on “The Periphery of the Brand

  1. mattbg

    I’ve always found it kind of interesting that a company’s customers can ruin its brand. I guess it’s something the company should have an eye out for, but consider something like BMW, too, where the image they project is of a serious driver’s car, while the customers that actually buy them just end up annoying everyone else on the road.

  2. Luke Slomka

    in a similar vein, when people are trying to sell there houses they might work wonders sprucing up ther house but then leave things like the the garden a mess, lawn unmowed, they might smoke not knowing if the perspective buyers are smokers (i am not) theymight have pets running wild when i am trying to look round. its a battle to stay objective about the house, and not be prejudiced by superficial factors.


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