Creating inspiring brands.

Buying lifestyle rather than buying furniture

For the last several days on my way to work I’ve been driving by a certain billboard promoting a new furniture shop. The poor design of the billboard intrigued me so I looked for the brand on the Internet and found something even more saddening. I found a story about the brand built solely on low price. And as we all know, these kinds of stories, not having something more to it often end up poorly. When I found the catalogue from the same furniture shop in my mailbox earlier today, I just couldn’t keep staying quiet about it.

The strategy of this furniture shop is quite clear. It is a B brand of another furniture shop, aiming to be differentiated in the market place by selling furniture at the lowest prices. While this sounds quite reasonable, it is the lack of other brand values that makes this story superficial and quite unreasonable in the long term.

Let me explain this more clearly using the most obvious example – Ikea. As we all know, Ikea sells furniture at very low prices. But the price isn’t the only thing that sells Ikea. It is the urban lifestyle with functionally designed furniture at affordable prices that sells it. Through each of its touchpoints Ikea promotes a vision of simple and comfortable living with low prices acting as means to achieve that vision. Ikea’s catalogues, ads, web pages and guerrilla-marketing stunts all promote not just pieces of furniture, but true and fun living spaces. The people who buy at Ikea aren’t perceived as people with low budgets, they are perceived as stylish and urban people that want good value for their money.

The price can’t be your brands only competitive advantage, for it is the easiest thing that can be copied by your competitors. But combine an inspiring vision with a good price, and you may be onto something great. If I had to choose to buy a low priced sofa or a stylish and modernly designed sofa at a low price, I would always choose the second one. Which one would you choose?

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