The IKEA Foundation is one of the world’s largest charitable foundations, donating more than £100 million last year to partners such as Save the Children and UNICEF as part of its ongoing programmes to help 100 million children living in poverty create a better life for themselves.
But, despite its size, the IKEA Foundation suffers from low awareness, even among staff at IKEA, of which it is the charitable arm. Agency Kindred was tasked by IKEA to create an innovative way to help colleagues, friends and family find out about the work of the Foundation. The task was complicated by the fact that it is impossible to contact colleagues during working hours, as they are on the shop floor, making it imperative that the initiative was compelling enough for them to share in their personal time through social media platforms.
The strategy was two-fold. After identifying colleagues who were keen to witness the work of the Foundation, a series of visits to countries benefitting from its funding were organised. The I-Witnesses became ambassadors for the Foundation and were encouraged to create content about their experiences which could be shared through their social media accounts. (Research had confirmed the majority of IKEA staff are on Facebook.) Among the I-Witnesses was IKEA sustainability specialist Paula Kade who was one of six colleagues to visit South Africa to see the store’s ‘Soft Toys For Education’ programme, where IKEA donated $1 for every soft toy purchased during a specific period to fund educational initiatives, in action. Her story even reached her local newspaper.
More than 250 I-Witnesses had been on missions by May 2015, and had enthusiastically shared the stories of what they had seen. Such has been the success of these ambassadors that IKEA’s Facebook community grew to more than 500,000 followers in 2015, and posts on the visits generated more than 1.3 million engagements last year.
The judges loved this initiative. They said: ‘This was a great campaign, that was nicely executed with a relatively small budget. It enjoyed some great stats and obviously is making a difference to how the corporation is being perceived both internally and externally, which is what it is all about.’