I always love it when a company decides to use a different marketing approach to subtly promote who they are. I recently discovered that CRM software manufacturer Zendesk has started producing a series of documentary shorts that have nothing to do with Zendesk. I came across the videos on Vimeo while actually looking for something related to their product and then discovered the link to Zendesk Helpers a microsite which has the purpose of being helpful and encouraging, and a little bit of software promotion.
One of the things that I love about the site and the videos, is the high quality production value that is presented. Especially the videos. These are not shoot it on your iPhone and edit in iMovie (although I have seen some videos done that way that look really amazing). All of these have a fairly large production crew and it shows.
Beyond the production however, is the quality of the content itself. Each video left me feeling good about humanity, something we all need these days. As of February there were a total of 5 video stories available on the microsite. I’m hoping they are in the process of producing even more, because these are great.
We set out to look for helpfulness in the world and were amazed at the stories we found. Because being helpful might sound simple, but it’s actually badass.
IKEA gets its customer base and target audience. They consistently produce online content that is designed to entertain as well as market their products. The latest offering is part research, part entertainment, and part marketing. IKEA has put 70 years’ worth of catalogs online for anyone to browse. The only caveat is that they are all in Swedish, so if you don’t speak the language, the descriptions will be pretty meaningless.
I have to say that the mobile or iOS version of the site is pulling off some really nice design. Full frame video with a transparent overlay video on the landing page. You don’t or at least I didn’t get that on the desktop in Chrome.
The site supports the IKEA Museum (yes there really is an IKEA Museum) and if you use the hamburger menu in the upper right you are taken to a minimalist landing page with additional information and activities. The nice thing is IKEA doesn’t attempt to drive traffic to the online store. This is truly for the fans of IKEA design and design principals.
One thing I do find interesting is the fact that the catalog layouts have remained fairly consistent across the decades, and quite a bit of the product line has as well. It’s a testament to a winning formula that IKEA has banked on for years.
I have been maintaining this blog site for more than 10 years now, and it has also been a place to showcase my portfolio and resume for freelance and contract opportunities. For the last 5 of the 10 ten years, I’ve been posting to Modular 4, I’ve been saying to myself I really need to create a separate site that is exclusively focused on the work I’ve been doing and remove the portfolio and resume form here. Unfortunately, life just always got in the way. I’d think about it, procrastinate, fiddle around with a new site layout, get caught up in something else, forget about it, try to come back to it and never actually get anything done.
Well, guess what? I finally got off my butt and got something done. The new site for Wade Johnston Graphic Design features projects that I have worked on over the last 10 plus years, and services offered. It took me long enough, but the site is finally live. So I’m tooting my own horn and saying I’m open for business. That’s a bit of a lie though, I’ve been open and doing design business for the last 30 years. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to new opportunities though, so if you need design and advertising help give me a shout. I’ll be updating the new site regularly with new featured projects and projects that showcase specific skills, so if you are interested check back every so often. I’m also in the process of connecting the new SquareSpace site to my social media accounts so new pages and posts should start populating publically soon.
I’ll continue to post here but within the next few weeks, the menu items for my portfolio and resume will be removed. This website will continue to be what it has been for the last decade, a place where I can sound off about whatever I want, however, I want. If you have been one of the people that have read my posts here over the last 10 years, thanks. I really appreciate it.
If you hop over to the new site, I hope you like what you see.
A few months back, I received an email from IKEA for the IKEA Home Tour contest. The team was coming to Kansas City and they were looking for entries. All you had to do was make a short video of your space in need and send it in. So, I busted out the iPhone shot some down and dirty footage of my sad basement office space, cut it together, sent it in and thought “That’ll be the end of that.” Much to my surprise, we made the finalists for the area, and to my surprise again, we are one of the two chosen. Today, the team arrived to shoot video, check out the space, and plan out what they are going to do with the space.
This post is not about the makeover though. It is about how IKEA continues to take excellent advantage of digital media as a marketing tool for the brand.
If you go out and look at the Home Tour site, you see a polished website that leverages video, a blog, social media, product placement, and tips to extend the IKEA brand. With each short video, product that is used in the redesign is featured and linked back the IKEA page where the product lives. The Pinterest section leads back the dedicated Pinterest board where recipients have posted their images as well as the team, and there are hooks to related boards, all of which drives back to product and enforcing the IKEA brand. The design blog takes you to a curated section with short right ups and videos from the Home Tour teams progress. And then there are the videos.
Video is the fast growing consumed media on the web, your phone, and in other digital spaces. It has rapidly taken over because of its ability to tell a story in a short digestible bite, and the ability to link back to longer form content if needed. In addition, with prices on gear falling, the availability of high end editing software, a DIY maker movement, and the ease of sharing content, it is possible for a skeleton crew to put together a solid bit of video work that has tremendous impact. The crew at my house today consisted of 5 people. 2 of them were producing the video. This is the same crew on every makeover, doing each shoot. They have a limited budget, and tie frame, but they are creating solid work with definite reach and penetration for the IKEA brand, which brings me back to the fact that IKEA gets digital marketing better than most. I’ve posted a number of articles on what I KEA is doing in the digital space and this is just one more.
To date the team has produced 203 video segments according to the numbering on the site. Pretty impressive when you think about it. 203 videos that average 3 minutes in length. 203 videos that show the problem, the fix, and then go through and talk about the IKEA product used. Think of it as a long form commercial that is less about in your face selling, and more about how IKEA helps you solve a problem.
That is a winning marketing solution and another winner from IKEA’s marketing division.