a his & hers weblog of worlds apart
Ikea is an anomaly in the world of branding. It’s a cult brand that millions of people love. Yet, a core element of the brand experience — assembling their products — is considered among the most frustrating furniture adventures imaginable.
So, how is this? If a brand is the sum of all experiences with a product or company, how does Ikea get away with causing its loyal customers so much stress?
This was a question I asked a few co-workers who were struggling through assembling some gear for our office. Where we landed was that the Allen-key battle is offset by 1) all of the other brand magic that IKEA injects into its retail and marketing efforts 2) the personal satisfaction of having played a role in “making” your furniture. To quote one colleague…
‘It’s kind of like birth. Once you’re through with it, you forget how hard it was — it’s all worth the pain.’
This very phenomenon (explanation 2) is the main subject of the third chapter of _The Upside of Irrationality_ by the behavioral economist Dan Ariely.
Thanks for the heads-up Mischa! Here’s a review of Dan’s research coincidentally titled The Ikea Effect: When Labor Leads to Love.