Editor’s note: A few weeks ago, AKHIA Change Agent Amanda Vasil attended Content Marketing World. Here, she reflects on the enduring power of a printed piece.
This may be old news by now, but IKEA is pretty freaking innovative. Selling furniture that consumers have to assemble themselves with nothing but pictures for instructions? Genius.
So in early September, when IKEA parodied Apple with its “Experience the power of a bookbook™” sensation, I was impressed but not surprised. You owe it to yourself to watch this video if you haven’t already. And hell, even if you’ve already seen it, watch it again.
Beyond how polished and clever the video is (and I’m talking squeaky clean and super witty), I’m more excited about the message: You don’t need to be a new app or social network or mobile device or even something digitally driven to generate a ton of buzz—and make a big impact on your audience. In other words: It’s still cool to engage with paper.
What’s even more interesting to me about IKEA’s “bookbook”, though, is how well it was received. Because on the contrary (and not too long ago), Restoration Hardware took multiple punches for its 17-pound bundle of 13 “sourcebooks”. Now, I’m a little (okay, A LOT) obsessed with Restoration Hardware… so maybe I’m wearing rose-colored glasses about this massive catalog totaling 3,300 pages.
But if you unwrap that monster mailing from the home furnishing retailer, you’ll find page after page of well-constructed, smartly targeted content. Rather than showcasing individual furnishings and fixtures, RH features spread after spread of beautifully designed rooms, giving the reader crystal clear visuals of how their purchase might fit into various spaces throughout the home. And not only that: The cross-selling of other RH products to build the perfect room is admirable.
And then there are the stories. Each RH sourcebook showcases editorial on the woodworkers and fabric weavers and countless other artisans who construct the expensive but carefully crafted pieces found throughout the catalog. So brilliant. It connects to the RH customer who is looking for the superior quality and an element of uniqueness that sets him or her apart from friends and family. Not to mention, it also breathes life into the pages of RH, creating a human element to a luxury brand in a crowded market.
Am I saying I love storing a catalog in my home that weighs more than a 6-month-old baby? Not necessarily. But where IKEA received so much positive attention and praise for its clever video promoting a paper-based catalog, I think the sheer size of RH’s catalog caused many to miss a content home run. I guess people do really judge a book by its cover.
Thank you, Content Marketing World, for introducing me to the IKEA “bookbook” video and reminding me I still have 11 RH sourcebooks to get through…
What do you think of IKEA and Restoration Hardware’s content marketing strategies?
Amanda Vasil is Change Agent at AKHIA.