As a young employee, you are always happy to have the opportunity to prove your skills and grow through challenges. Such a junior award is perfectly suited for this purpose ...
This is roughly how our boss' argumentation began when he wanted to motivate us to participate spontaneously one week before the deadline for the 2019 Junior Challenge concept. After all, if you have a really good idea, you don't need the full month and a half of the actual processing time anyway. An absolutely unbeatable argumentation. So we, Katha and Büsra, set to work.
But after a short time we were really enthusiastic, because the task was really exciting. We were to design a flagship store of the future for a brand of our choice. Taking into account social issues such as sustainability and climate neutrality, diversity or equal pay. Our concept should take into account that these topics are becoming more and more important in society and can very quickly have a major impact on companies through strong movements such as #metoo. Our concept should be realizable within five to ten years, be omnichannel of course and take into account everything that technology has made possible until then.
The first big question was: Which topic do we take as our focus? We think diversity and equal pay are important, but we feel that they are already quite present in marketing. In ten years' time, we will be exactly one year away from the milestone of the climate targets. So it's about time that, in addition to greenwashing, something really happened in the companies. So the focus fell on sustainability and climate neutrality.
The second important question was: which product or which brand do we want to use? Of course there were many that came to mind. But after a short consideration it was clear to us: we would like a product that accompanies us every day and appeals to as many people as possible. So: furniture. And since we are both big IKEA fans and IKEA is also the market leader in the furniture and interior design segment, the second question was answered very quickly.
So we thought wildly about what we would like to offer in the furniture store of the future. Of course we also googled "sustainable living" and found out what was already available. After a very short time, our whiteboard was filled with many exciting ideas, including projects such as the German Happiness Foundation and IKEA Hacking Blogs. We soon realized that if we were serious about sustainability, we couldn't design a shiny flagship store. They are like campaigns: short-term, consumer-oriented - and thus not sustainable at all. So we simply extended the question a bit and came up with a new business model. IKEA's future business model will be based on extending the product life cycle and reusing raw materials. So no more hyperconsumerism and no more social phenomena like peak stuff.
Consequently, there are no longer flagship stores, but flagship houses all over the world. We all know the Flagship Houses already - because we live in them. Because only at the customer's home is it possible to experience how IKEA furniture is used sustainably. We make the Flagship Houses in the IKEA Stores tangible through virtual reality. Customers can thus immerse themselves in sustainable country life in Sweden, in the creative living project in Berlin or in the mini-apartment in the middle of Tokyo. This is supported in the store by huge, interactive screens on which customers can playfully immerse themselves in the sustainable manufacture of the products. In addition to new products, extension products for upcycling existing articles are an elementary part of the range.
We underpin the concept with an emotional message: #onlyonehome. IKEA has been taking care of our homes for decades. But our home does not stop at the front door. After all, we all have a single home: our planet. And from now on, IKEA will also take care of this home.
Of course, this idea will be implemented omnichannel. With creative and entertaining content across all channels and of course the right message at the right time. With an app that gives AI-supported recommendations, customers can find out which armchair really fits into the living room - and how to give the Billy shelf a new look with upcycling ideas. There is also a co-creation award, which allows customers to submit their own ideas for upcycling. And of course with the IKEA catalogue, which is now only available in digital form. With 28 million copies, it is the book with the highest circulation in the world. Approximately 22400 trees are felled annually. They will remain standing in the future! The concept also integrates IKEA campaign classics: "Knut reloaded" no longer throws trees out to make room for new furniture. The Christmas trees have roots and are planted back into nature.
So in response to the challenge, we have not developed a short-term campaign, but a long-term rethink. Therefore, in the future there will no longer be flagship stores, but flagship houses all over the world that can be experienced in the stores. This means that we are closer to our customers and their needs than ever before. And we reach many loyal brand ambassadors with a common goal: Are you still living or are you already living sustainably?
After one week we got the feedback that we could pitch our idea in front of the jury in Berlin. This went so well that one day after the pitch presentation we got the acceptance for the final on the DMEXCO stage.
Full of excitement and expectation we used every lunch break afterwards for dry runs with colleagues to get the best out of our presentation. Well prepared, we set off for Cologne. The day just flew by. Soon we were standing at the BVDW stand, received the last briefing and were wired backstage. Shortly afterwards we had exactly 400 seconds on stage to present our idea. The decision was not long in coming. The screen announced us as winner. Even before the presenter could say it, we were already in raptures, as were our fans in the audience. The whole performance at DMEXCO can be viewed here.
Proudly we carried the oversized winner's cheque across the exhibition centre for the rest of the day and celebrated the triumph with our colleagues on site - and the following day with everyone in the office. After all, many of our colleagues cheered us on in the audience on site and in the public viewing in the offices. This mutual support is just one of many reasons why we love Namics so much.
Our prize is a trip to the Cannes Lions next year, and we're really looking forward to it! Until then, we'll reminisce and prepare ourselves - by the way, we didn't have to wait long for travel tips from colleagues for the Côte d'Azur ;-)!
Here are a few impressions of the day: