What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see the brand IKEA?
Nice, friendly, cheap but decent quality furniture? Yeah
Big stores where you see everything on display? That, too.
The first living room or kitchen you ever owned? Increasingly so.
For me it was something different; when I got married we both had good jobs and no kids so we went for the high-end designer furniture we could afford. It was all modern materials and well-built, and a couple of items are still with us, thirty years and five moves later, so these were good purchases.
Except tastes change, and we have been no exception. The designer item we absolutely loved fifteen years ago does not fit in the new living room, or matches the new fittings. It was perfect in a modern high tech apartment, it is out of place in a country house.
So over time our tastes evolved in two directions: we bought (or inherited) a few antiques, but any replacements that were necessary with the growing of the family size or the various moves came from Ikea, because buying there ensured that the item would be practical and of decent (if not superb) quality. When its time would be up, we’d replace it without too much fuss or sense of guilt.
That’s the benefit Ikea gives me, and this guy made practicality of Ikea furniture into a religion; but some stuck up lawyer in Stockholm, after sitting on his highly-paid ass for eight years has decided that the name of the site infringes on the IP of Ikea and has therefore ordered it to move to another URL, causing it considerable damage.
Considerable, but not deadly.
In fact, the very initiative gave Ikea Hackers unprecedented awareness with every online and offline news outlet covering the dumbest corporate move after New Coke.
Ikea Hackers will be called something else (my suggestion: AEKI Hackers), may get a traffic blip, but will soon be back to its full force, chugging along on the strength of its authentic community.
But there is someone whose damage will be a little more: the Ikea Brand, according to Forbes, is worth about USD 11BN; being Ikea privately held, it is not so easy to estimate the company’s net worth, but Bloomberg puts it in this article at around USD 36BN – that is, a third of the company value is distilled in its brand, one of the world’s most valuable.
And now a brand that was renonwed for friendliness, eco-sensitivity and reasonable prices has morphed into an arrogant corporation throwing its full corporate weight to crush a little guy who is perhaps their greatest fan in the world: we’ll see in a year what this does to the company reputation and to its brand value, at which point the abovementioned tight-assed lawyer will have to go to Ingvar Kamprad and explain what exactly he has done to a third of the old man’ fortune.
So here I am, chipping away a minuscule bit of that brand reputation with this article and inviting you to do the same, write your own post or share this is you agree.
But do you know what is supremely ironical, wildly funny part?
I had never, ever heard of IkeaHackers before.