Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ikea's "America at Home" experiment in social media

We are the edglings and we’re experimenting with new forms of media, not to gain fame or fortune, but to change marketing from a business of bullying, bullshit, and deception, to a genuine form of respectable and valued sense of service and personalization. - Brian Solis, PR 2.0

As Ikea begins their more heartstring-pulling, emotional new ad campaign "Home is the most important place in the world," they are also experimenting with social media with their "America at Home" project. This week-long (September 17-23 with an additional 2-day grace period until the 25th) contest asks anyone to submit their photos of their home life (there are different catagories such as "morning rush" and "bedtime rituals") in an attempt to be featured in an upcoming book. Ikea wants to inspire Americans to bust out their digital cameras and capture the essence of "home" and submit them to the site, creating a digital "time capsule" of home and family life.

I think this is a good example of integrated social media by a company for a few reasons:
  • it's easy - just snap photos of your home and family engaging in everyday family activities and upload them to the America at Home website. Fun + simple = more likely participation.
  • there's an element of being rewarded for your contribution. There's the excitement at the potential to have your photos chosen for the book, but it's rewarding enough to be able to add your pictures and see them amongst others around the nation. I think it would be easy to get caught up looking at everyone else's submissions, even if I chose not to submit my own.
  • you're associating your brand with positive ideas: family, patriotism, the sanctity of home life. The more people submit and browse photos out of their own interest, the longer they are exposed to your brand. If your company can use social media to encourage the customer to associate your brand with valuing their input while making it fun and rewarding, then congrats - you win the web 2.0.

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