Brand Fan Shutdown

IKEA Hackers

If your brand is lucky enough to have a rabid fan base of people who love your products and actually help promote them, it may be in your best interest to not shut them down. In fact, you might look for ways to support them and work together to promote your brand.

IKEA, known for affordable and quirky furniture you assemble yourself, is going after IKEA Hackers, which is a fun site that shows you alternative ways to use IKEA products for various things.

From the perspective of IKEA’s lawyers, you can certainly see why a site called IKEA Hackers that suggests alternate uses for your products could cause a number of issues for your brand, including safety and trademark infringement, but it’s worth noting that IKEA waited eight years to do anything about the site. (Note: It may have something to do with ads recently appearing on the site, since there is now a commercial interest.)

From the perspective of IKEA’s brand managers, finding a way to allow IKEA Hackers to continue, and perhaps assisting it making it happen, would be a good thing. From a PR perspective, IKEA is a taking a beating right now from people who like the brand, but are upset about the bullying from a large corporation targeted towards one person running a web site for fun. (And yes, while there may be some ads on the site, they probably aren’t helping the owner of the site rake in huge piles of cash.)

One comment I’ve read a few times suggests that “IKEA doesn’t get how the Internet works” which isn’t exactly true, but it gives you an idea of the perspective of the average IKEA customer and Internet user, that ideas are to be shared, and any mention of a brand is a good thing.

There’s a lot of middle ground of course, but I tend to believe that if you’ve got people who love your brand and promote it (in a positive way) you should do what you can to help them be champions, not treat them like villains.

June 17, 2014 · Posted by in pr  


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