Featured

Q2 & 3 – Marketing Predictions

Quarter 1 of 2022 has come to a close and we are nearly half-way into Q2 . Our prediction for Q2 continues to see further increase in M&As and a consolidation of markets. Throughout Q3 and beyond, we will also see stronger collaboration through joint ventures and initiative. Equally, we will see a down-turn and a change in consumer’s willingness to spend, continued move from global to local markets and an increased use of AI for marketing purposes.

While hospitality and event industries are re-inventing themselves, other business segments are trying to meet the uplift in sales. The job market has turned into a job seeker’s market and the propensity to switch employer has never been higher. There is some slowin

More change is coming and the continued political volatility (caused by more extreme governments, the Ukraine war, the instability around China and the change of conversations in the Middle East ) and a shift from global back to more local markets will continue to drive innovation but also demand more agile (closer to home) supply chains.

The World Bank is predicting slow-down for 2022 and increase of inflation (https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/01/11/global-recovery-economics-debt-commodity-inequality). In the meantime, we will see the META world growing exponentially and non-fungible-tokens become the ‘speculative-happy’s’ favourite past-time. Unfortunately, this will also mean that many will find escape in this surreal world and an outlet for their gambling habits – and while they are not gambling on sports, they will be giving their money away to purchase yet more non-real-life assets.

This is in the minority world.

The majority world, however, is seeing even further market decline and the developmental chasm will deepen. Yet, a number of countries like India and Nigeria might just prove this prediction wrong. Their recent investment in technology and entrepreneurship has the potential to support some of the newly created supply issues the minority world has yet to resolve.

Now what does that mean for marketing? Here our top 7 marketing predictions for Q2 and some of Q3 2022:

Advertising spending will rise initially with a focus on talent acquisition and small business innovation.

Culture wars in the US and somewhat later in the UK will most likely see more radical advertising and marketing campaigns. A good example of this is the recent campaign for Jeremy’s Razors which is not about the razors, but about a worldview. Brands previously following the loudest voice will have more opportunity to express alternative views. This could provide an interesting platform for creatives in the industry. Not just in Q2 and Q3 but beyond.

Brands need to keep an eye on disruptors from the majority world. Including these in any market research of online analysis will be prudent. Disruptors might not be local to the majority world, but might be a competitor who has chosen to take advantage of the increased know-how in majority world countries coupled with the still relatively low pricing.

Marketers will need to engage with the Meta world whether they want to or not. The talent of tomorrow is likely to hang out in this or similar spaces. Advertising in a magazine just does not cut it anymore :).

PR and what was traditionally known as ‘below the line marketing’ will continue to grow in importance. However rather than courting the media, brands will aim to drive more of their audience to owned media as well as courting them in online spaces. The difficulty will be how to balance resources and the vast array of spaces a brand could engage with.

AI for marketing: the sheer amount of work needed to identify, find and engage today’s online audience will see more and more brands use AI to meet the challenge.

Finally, with an increase in inflation, possible food shortages caused by the war in the Ukraine and resulting supply chain issues for agricultural commodities such as fertiliser, and an increased sense of insecurity, consumers will move to buying less and buying cheaper products or products which seem to offer more value. Marketeers need to be aware of this change and consider that anything which indicates price hikes or sacrifice for things such as Net Zero might no longer be welcomed as readily as in previous seasons. A shift in messaging will be away from “Net Zero” towards “Energy” and “Energy Security” in all its forms.

We live in a time which will require marketeers to think very strategically about the long-term market development. More than ever, it will be important to give time and resources to understand not only the economic situation but the impact the political stage will have on business, brands and spending.

(To read our Q1 forecast post, click below.)

Featured

Chocolate Freedom

Meet Simon and Sarah Wood, owners of Freedom Chocolate, an artisan chocolate brand, which appeals not to a niche of people, but young and old from all walks of life.

Freedom Chocolate makes it possible for those with allergens to enjoy rich, allergen free chocolate.

Simon and Sarah have developed a treat which is also ideal for vegans who love good quality and ethically sourced ingredients! 

Simon creates all chocolates by hand and uses only the finest of ingredients. He and Sarah ensure that all ingredients are ethically sourced and of the highest standards. For a small business this can be costly, but both agree: “It is worth it if it means people, especially children, are kept safe a result.”

Pick up some great tips about how to run your own chocolate business. What are the the ins and outs of setting up a chocolate business? How do you take the next steps from start-up to early stage business?

To find out more about Simon and Sarah and Freedom Chocolate, go to:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-wood-ab794a68/

Instagram.com/freedomchocolate

Facebook.com/freedomchocolate

https://freedomchocolate.co.uk

Featured

Leadership beyond 2021 – what do we really need?

What kind of leadership do we need in 2021 and beyond?

Will it need to be different? In which way? Or will we simply need good leadership, leadership which reads the times we are in and knows what is needed?

Does knowledge get in the way of leadership?

Is leadership purely transactional, based on knowledge, only based on data or do we need another level of leadership which puts wisdom, experience and possibly emotional intelligence first?

Is wisdom more important that knowledge?

Which countries’ leadership style will serve our future?

In this episode of Zeitgeist Leadership Pulse we explore where leadership is heading through and after the pandemic of Covid19 and what type of leadership will be needed 2021 on beyond. After (or still in) a pandemic, with Brexit in the UK and an increasing call for collaboration, what kind of leadership will succeed and where do we need to think differently?

We are talking to Stephen Gibbs, Principal Lecturer for Business and Leadership at the Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, University of Cumbria, UK.

Connect with Steve here. He also has a fantastic blog, don’t miss! :
e. stephen.gibbs@cumbria.ac.uk

m. 07544 581601

linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-gibbs-5452a2a/

twitter: https://twitter.com/Stephen_Gibbs

blog: https://bloggulentgreytripe.com/

To find out how we at Zeitgeist Communication work with leaders to develop successful strategies and focus on clear communication with stakeholders and customers, contact us at hello@zeitgeistcomms.com or connect with us on our website at http://www.zeitgeistcomms.com.

Featured

Social Media Hashtags 2021

Getting ready for 2021? The more organised, the better you can deliver on your social media and PR goals. There are many hashtag days you could include and it can get confusing what to use and what not.

We have made this easy for you and have curated the most useful hashtags for 2021 for small business owners or marketing and PR professionals working for SMEs or charities.

To get your free copy of the 2021 selection, register below.

Also, if you are looking for a social media planning tool which let’s you plan out multiple categories, schedule the same post several times, post directly to Instagram and more – and yes this is an affiliate link, but we really enjoy this tool and are sure you will, too – head on over to SmarterQueue.

And before we forget: we are also giving you access to a set of free Lake District-inspired social media backdrops. Sign up below and then head over to your email to download this free resource

Featured

Reputation, the last thing on your mind? Think again.

Mistakenly leaders invest in PR when it is too late

“In your kind of business, you have to convince people that they need you.” – These words were spoken almost as a through-away comment in a business conversation. Yet, they are so true. Public Relations and reputation management far too often do not come into play until the crisis has hit. Then, naturally, people are convinced of their usefulness.

Business leaders are rightly focused on the next sale, the next hire, the next meeting and the way forward. Excellent business leaders, however, realise that tomorrow’s business relies on today’s reputation. Hiring PR professionals only as a way to ‘clean-up’ or to ‘prevent the worst’ rather than investing in your brand and good standing is a miscalculation.

Steady investment drives business

“Why?” The steady investment in a good reputation and strong relationships with stakeholders and media, while no insurance, provides the backdrop needed to call upon support and understanding when the chips are down. Furthermore, sales depend on reputation.

Trigger-happy finger pointing

The current Zeitgeist in countries such as the UK and USA is marked by purchase decision-making which is no longer based on products and prices. Rather, we are seeing a strong desire to see brands contribute to the community in one way or the other. Unfortunately, this is compounded by trigger-happy finger-pointing at brands which do not measure up. The result is brand damage and loss of sales.

Public Relations must be part and parcel of any marketing strategy in today’s business environment. It cannot be an add-on.

Excellent reputation management will include three core elements:

– a consistent stakeholder strategy,
– an engaged social media strategy,
– committed media relations with long-term focus.

It is only through ongoing relationship building and dialogue that brands will be able to ascertain where the market and customers are heading. A clear Public Relations strategy identifies where reputational issues might pose a threat. Strong relationship management can build the understanding businesses need to create sustainable success. It is here that brand loyalty is won.

In today’s climate, business owners and leaders who spend little time and money on brand reputation are likely to be making a very bad investment decision.

Return on investment is about finances. Reputation is its breading ground.

If you are not thinking about reputation as a key vehicle to drive your ROI, think again.

Fall ’22 Marketing Forecast

The summer has gone, fall is on its way. With it comes a multitude of negative forecasts, talk about cost of living crisis, energy crises around the globe and continued volatility in markets in general.

Taking stock of our last marketing forecast in April, we now look towards the end of 2022. Fall 2022, will continue to see an increase in digital advertising. Search advertising continues, but watch out for new Google requirements around destination. The lines between owned and paid media are becoming more blurred. Brands tapping into the sustainability and low carbon agenda are at risk of getting lost in a sea of the same brand messaging from their competition. Now is the time to find your USP again!

Here, in blue, the predictions we made in spring::

Advertising spending will rise initially with a focus on talent acquisition and small business innovation.

– What does that look like for the rest of the year?

Advertising spend continues on an upward trend, without any major jumps up or down. While digital advertising continues to capture the largest share of the available advertising spend, traditional media seems to be stabilising in terms of its share. The top 5 markets to spend on advertising are the USA, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany (in that order, see Statista “Advertising Worldwide”).

Culture wars in the US and somewhat later in the UK will most likely see more radical advertising and marketing campaigns. A good example of this is the recent campaign for Jeremy’s Razors which is not about the razors, but about a worldview. Brands previously following the loudest voice will have more opportunity to express alternative views. This could provide an interesting platform for creatives in the industry. Not just in Q2 and Q3 but beyond.

– Will political interests continue to dominate the conversation?

Culture wars continue via traditional and digital media. Brands across countries such the UK and USA are using owned channels and social media (which while it looks like owned is not really) to tap into politically motivated messaging. Siding or disputing messaging or even blocking potential customers from accessing their products (Ben and Jerry’s) or, in Elon Musk’s case, casting doubt on others (Twitter) has raised eye-brows and brands.

As the US heads towards its midterms and then towards another presidential election, we will see increased support from influencers and brands for either side of the messaging divide. This will spill over from owned media into social media and then paid media with the lines blurring in the digital communications space. Interesting will be to see if and how messaging in the UK might change. The Queen’s funeral and most recent appointment of a new Prime Minister with more conservative messaging and policies could bring about considerable change. Watch that space.

Brands need to keep an eye on disruptors from the majority world. Including these in any market research of online analysis will be prudent. Disruptors might not be local to the majority world, but might be a competitor who has chosen to take advantage of the increased know-how in majority world countries coupled with the still relatively low pricing.

– We hold that this is very much still true. Equally, the energy crisis creates opportunity for innovation and this could come from from smaller national brands. This, a threat to incumbents but an opportunity for start-ups. This is the time to be brave in terms of messaging and advertising.

Marketers will need to engage with the Meta world whether they want to or not. The talent of tomorrow is likely to hang out in this or similar spaces. Advertising in a magazine just does not cut it anymore :).

– The META world and the continued rise of Tic Toc

Meta continues to widen its digital footprint. Yes, it is struggling with talent retention and might possibly have moved slightly out of sync with customers adoption speed, but its past tells us that META is here to stay. In lie of an alternative which offers users greater value, it is here that more digital ad spend is expected. Then there is Tic Toc, with an estimated 12 billion dollars in advertising spend, this is the most in-demand social media advertising channel of our time. It has grown up and is attracting users across generations with an almost equal split between the age groups 10-19, 20-29, 30-39 and 40-49 (the younger bracket still slightly ahead in the count). The platform is particularly interesting for B2C marketing but starting to see some traction for B2B brands as well.

Complacency is never a good idea in marketing. It is all about the target audience and the following audience does not follow Tic Toc trend: The ever-increasing age group of those over 55 years of age with a high amount of expendable income are mainly found on Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube. To clarify, Pinterest particularly applies to the female demographic. (see Statista 2022).

Statistic: Reach of leading social networking sites used by those aged 56 and older in the United Kingdom (UK) as of 3rd quarter 2020 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

PR and what was traditionally known as ‘below the line marketing’ will continue to grow in importance. However rather than courting the media, brands will aim to drive more of their audience to owned media as well as courting them in online spaces. The difficulty will be how to balance resources and the vast array of spaces a brand could engage with.

– Certainly the above is still true. Key here the ever-increasing pressure to conform with market messaging such as messaging around climate change and sustainability, has started creating brand confusion rather than differentiation. This an issue brand the PR professionals will need to tackle if they are to successfully break through the thick fog of the green ‘us too’.

AI for marketing: the sheer amount of work needed to identify, find and engage today’s online audience will see more and more brands use AI to meet the challenge.

Finally, with an increase in inflation, possible food shortages caused by the war in the Ukraine and resulting supply chain issues for agricultural commodities such as fertiliser, and an increased sense of insecurity, consumers will move to buying less and buying cheaper products or products which seem to offer more value. Marketeers need to be aware of this change and consider that anything which indicates price hikes or sacrifice for things such as Net Zero might no longer be welcomed as readily as in previous seasons. A shift in messaging will be away from “Net Zero” towards “Energy” and “Energy Security” in all its forms.

– The last two points are still very much true. The increased need for digitally aware communication professionals who can use data and artificial intelligence to communicate well and who can think ahead, pre-empt and change course in an increasingly volatile market has never been more prevalent as today.

As 2022 heads towards its wintery end, there is a lot to keep brands and their marketers on their toes.

Are we reaching people’s reality?

Not META nor Twitter nor their messaging are at the heart of people’s reality. Just one look at Queen Elizabeth’s memorial events and the outpouring of grief, love, recognition and respect tells us that their reality lies elsewhere. It is not necessarily about the monarchy, yet it is deeply rooted in the values the Queen represents which, resonate with everyday people: the importance of family, hard work, kindness, charity, tradition, leadership, service and for very many also faith. I wonder if we will let this moment go by without taking stock and resetting how we do life, how we do work and how we treat those around us?

2: Communication know-how and leadership success with Josh Hoffman, Bechtel

Josh Hoffman from Bechtel shares his thoughts on leadership and the need for purposeful communication. We discuss that leaders often  fail to get the best out of people due to lack of communication skills, inability to express what they really want and unwillingness to listen first. Josh also talks about leadership in the wider sense and is own growth as a leader.

 Josh grew up with his two parents and older sister.  Due to the nature of his dad's job in oil and gas, they lived in Washington State, USA, California, USA, Singapore and the UK.  From an early age, he enjoyed tinkering and was very inquisitive.  This, along with his dad's engineering influence, was the reason he chose to study Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.  While at university, he was able to break out of his shell and develop his passion for continuous learning.  He started his career moving to Houston, TX working for Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals as a Project Engineer.  This gave him the opportunity to dip his toes into the corporate world and utilize his engineering degree.  11 years and many assignments later, he lived in Soyo, Angola, travelled to New Delhi and London to train co-workers and commissioned a liquified natural gas facility in Western Australia.  Along the way, he met his wife, Lizzie, and managed to squeeze in their wedding a week before the world shut down due to COVID.  He enjoyed stints in Engineering, Business Development, Financial Planning and Analysis and now finds himself working as a Senior Cost Engineer in Pittsburgh, PA.  Josh has always been fascinated with the sociological dynamics of the workplace, getting to know people, what motivates them and how different people communicate and lead effectively.

 

Favourite Book: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

 

Favourite Leadership Quote: “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell

 

How to connect: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-hoffman-89a01034/

Welcome Lizzie

#GrowingTheBusiness – We are excited to welcome Lizzie Hoffman as a new team member. Lizzie has come aboard as Digital Marketing Specialist.

Lizzie will be supporting our work in the UK and USA with a focus on the development and running of our clients’ Marketing campaigns. We asked Lizzie about coffee – well, we like coffee and just wanted to know where she stood :). Here what she said: ” I am an admitted coffee snob, and a big fan of independent business – we have a regular coffee haunt where my husband, dog Delilah and I wonder off to after a nice long hike.”

Well, we think that ticks the good coffee box and we are sure that Lizzie’s creativity and experience will certainly tick all the right boxes for the work with do with our clients. WELCOME LIZZIE! #Cumbria #LakeDistrict #USA #Strategy #CampaignPlanning #PR #Marketing

2022: M&As, IPOs and ‘true community’ brands

2020 and 2021 turned business upside down. On the one hand we’ve seen plenty of businesses close. On the other, in 2020 more than 4.3m new businesses started up in the USA alone (Forbes). Combined with the increase in digital innovation across SAAS and app development markets and the shift towards sustainability, the market is ripe for further growth, change and quite quickly also consolidation.

what’s the forecast?

2022 (and 2023) will be a year of mergers & acquisitions, listings and strong brands. The market is shifting. Bloomberg estimates that the global market will grow by 4.5% in 2022. This, of course, means very little if not compared against a backdrop of pre-pandemic predictions. The 2019 outlook, as per the International Monetary Fund read: “Global growth remains subdued. Global growth is forecast at 3.2 percent in 2019, picking up to 3.5 percent in 2020”. Now, of course, we realise that the pandemic created some interesting changes in the market and predictions, based on fiscal support, even estimated a 6 percent growth in 2021.

However, the 2022 figure is much more interesting. It is a reflection of forecasts which see a petering out of the Covid pandemic, stabilising of the supply chain and a drive to encourage spending. It also takes into account a globally new-found entrepreneurial spirit, the incessant drive to #netzero and, the every-rising influence of the new super-power, China and the wider Asian markets.

Deals will be made

Deals will be made, no doubt. Organic growth will continue, but quite quickly, we are likely to see consolidation, particularly in the clean climate industries which are under pressure to deliver at speed.

Will your brand be META or GREEN – or is there another way?

It is here that strong brands will be needed. The market is crowded with new new names, new brands, new ideas. It is in the midst of all this noise, that brands will need to find new ways to raise their game, lift their name and stand out from the rest.

So, what kind of branding are we likely to encounter? My prediction is that we will see two trends. One heading in the virtual direction of the META’s of this world and the other in the direction of even more green and simple.

Design-wise this will mean a move towards the psychedelic, tech inspired and, on the other hand, presenting the clean and simple a move towards ‘non-design’.

The Third option

Then there will be a third group. A group of brands which will capture people’s heart, tap into their need for true community (not simply artificially constructed online) and desire for stress-free, worry-free, common-sense clarity.

How to create a stand-out brand in 2022

For a chat about how your brand can achieve this and be part of community rather than dictating to the consumer, contact us. We’d love to help.

Oh, by the way, we can make flyers, but we don’t. We specialise in strategy.

Need PR support for your merger or acquisition?

And if you are looking at a merger or acquisition and need strategic PR support, reach out. With more than 25 years’ experience across industries, not-for-profits and education and dealing with M&S for Fortune 500s, our strategy consultants can help.

Communication know-how and leadership success with Josh Hoffman, Bechtel Zeitgeist Leadership Pulse

Josh Hoffman from Bechtel shares his thoughts on leadership and the need for purposeful communication. We discuss that leaders often  fail to get the best out of people due to lack of communication skills, inability to express what they really want and unwillingness to listen first. Josh also talks about leadership in the wider sense and is own growth as a leader. Josh grew up with his two parents and older sister.  Due to the nature of his dad's job in oil and gas, they lived in Washington State, USA, California, USA, Singapore and the UK.  From an early age, he enjoyed tinkering and was very inquisitive.  This, along with his dad's engineering influence, was the reason he chose to study Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.  While at university, he was able to break out of his shell and develop his passion for continuous learning.  He started his career moving to Houston, TX working for Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals as a Project Engineer.  This gave him the opportunity to dip his toes into the corporate world and utilize his engineering degree.  11 years and many assignments later, he lived in Soyo, Angola, travelled to New Delhi and London to train co-workers and commissioned a liquified natural gas facility in Western Australia.  Along the way, he met his wife, Lizzie, and managed to squeeze in their wedding a week before the world shut down due to COVID.  He enjoyed stints in Engineering, Business Development, Financial Planning and Analysis and now finds himself working as a Senior Cost Engineer in Pittsburgh, PA.  Josh has always been fascinated with the sociological dynamics of the workplace, getting to know people, what motivates them and how different people communicate and lead effectively. Favourite Book: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Favourite Leadership Quote: “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell How to connect: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-hoffman-89a01034/
  1. Communication know-how and leadership success with Josh Hoffman, Bechtel
  2. The Leadership Journey with Dianne Richardson, CEO BECBC
  3. Chocolate Freedom – running a chocolate business
  4. Leading without the job title – interview with Sellafield's Matthew Henry
  5. Leadership beyond 2021 – what do we really need?

1: The Leadership Journey with Dianne Richardson, CEO BECBC

This episode is the first in our second series of podcasts. Our second series will be exploring leadership journeys and the question of 'what kind of leadership is needed?' at a time when life and work feels uncertain, when globalisation and local priorities seem at odds. 

Our first episode in this second series is a conversation with the CEO for Britain's Energy Coast Business Cluster, Dianne Richardson. Quite quickly we discover that Dianne is all bout people – listen in and be inspired in your own leadership. 

Why does Amazon want to become the Earth’s Best Employer?

Any leader can tell you that people are at the heart of organisational success, more than procedures, more than promotion, more than any other element in the strategic mix.

People are the life-blood of strategy

Without people, strategies are no more than empty hieroglyphs on digital screens or, on occasion, also in print.

Interesting is that Amazon’s former CEO (who just stepped down this week), Jeff Bezos, did not seem to rotate his business around the human core. It is astounding, more so as he clearly has been extremely successful.

With what looks like a u-turn or a re-think, Amazon has, in the meantime, vowed to not only make Amazon the ‘Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.’, but also the ‘Earth’s Best Employer’. (https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/company-news/2020-letter-to-shareholders).

The vision, as you would expect from Bezos, is large, especially as ‘Amazon, best employer’ does not really ring-true. Yet, equally, as we consider its success, we will not be surprised – I certainly will not – if his vision becomes reality.

Customers and employees are not distinct

However, here is where I struggle to see how the two, the customer-centricity and employee-focus ended up in two different stages.

From a marketing and communications point of view, both, external customers and internal employees are indeed customers. Separating the two out is counter-productive.

Why?

It is simple. The reason lies in the concept of ownable truths.

If those on the ‘inside’ of the organisation experience and practice a customer-focused, customer-friendly, customer-centric approach and see their fellow employees as CUSTOMERS not colleagues, then this will translate on the outside.

What we experience on the inside rings true on the outside. What we say towards the outside rings true on the inside.

Brand delight

As a result, our brand identity experiences a oneness – and carries integrity – which translates into higher internal customer satisfaction and external customer brand delight.

Bezos’ desire to increase internal satisfaction has likely been born out of the fact that Amazon’s brand, if anything, has experienced the most dents around its perceived ‘just enough’ treatment of employees.

The speed of growth and strength of the brand’s competitiveness has somewhat covered up the less than perfect employee-brand relationship.

Stake in the business

Organisations wanting to grow at speed, while also building for the future, must see employees as customers and, to some extent, as partners. And while not all have shares in a business, they have a stake in the business.

Allocating funds towards their well-being, their involvement and their fair pay will, ultimately, pay off.

So the answer to the question, Why does Amazon want to become the Earth’s Best Employer?, is obvious; the realisation of it, potentially too late.

If there is nobody to provide excellent customer service, soon there will be no excellence, no service and no customers.

How to leverage the IKEA Effect

At first glance, the idea that someone would prefer a product they have to put work into, seems outlandish. Yet, a 2011 study (by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, Daniel Mochon of Yale, and Dan Ariely of Duke) identified that buyers were happy to pay 63% more for something they had helped put together. You see where we are going with this – IKEA!?

The idea is not that they prefer putting things together – who really enjoys assembling an IKEA piece of furniture? But when the buyer is involved in the making of it, their concept of how valuable the product is, rises. Their own input, their ability to use their skills and creativity increase the perceived value. This, of course, being a wonderful example of how cost of a product or service is very different to its value.

So, how can we leverage the IKEA effect for other businesses? Here some examples:

Consumables

If you are selling more than one variety of your product, offer consumers the opportunity to create a mixed bag or box. Vegetable box, chocolate selections, pick-mix, cook your own food from a fresh box etc.. Think about it, for the seller, there is less work involved in offering a ready made box of goods, but knowing the the personal assembly adds value, they offer this option in stead. In this case, the perceived value arises from the assembly itself, but also from getting various versions of the same product. A third value factory, of course, being a reduced price for bulk-buy.

Large purchases like homes

Anyone who has bought a new home and was able to choose the colour of their floor, kitchen furniture or similar, knows that this part of the purchase immediately makes the purchase more interesting and we feel like we are getting more value for our money.

Not just consumables

Another example of the IKEA effect can be seen with Build-a-Bear, where customers get to choose all the pieces it needs to put a teddy bear together and can then assemble the bear.

Get working while you holiday

An increasing trend in tourism is the combination of staying somewhere as part of a holiday, but then actually working. Examples are agricultural holidays where holidaymakers work on the farm, helping with animal husbandry, burning in the harvest or similar. This type of holiday being particularly sought after by the millennial generation with a strong passion for all things natural and environmentally friendly.

Consultancies or Training providers

Now here is a thought. If you provide consultancy services or training, why not consider getting your clients to contribute to the ‘making’ of advice or training? One way to do this is to involve them in one piece of the puzzle and to get them to bring a certain input to a training session, for example and to present this. Another way would be to get them to do the write up of a meeting, not because you cannot be bothered, but to help them make the work ‘their own’. The effort put in will translate into a higher perceived value of the service you are providing.

What not to do

The IKEA effect backfires when customers participate in the process of creating a product or service, but become frustrated by the complexity of it. This, essentially, will have the opposite effect and the perceived value for the product or service will go down.

The IKEA effect is an interesting phenomenon for marketing, which, was not just discovered with IKEA, but has had a strong tie to the furniture industry well before the Swedish home brand came into existence. It’s name, however, ever so apt.

Next time you plan out a new product or service offering think ‘less is more’ and see if you can get your customers to participate in the creation process.