IKEA is one of the most recognisable brands in the world, serving millions of customers across the planet. With a rich heritage in providing similar, but tailored, experiences to consumers in each of the markets it operates in, social media presents an opportunity for the brand to forge even deeper relationships with its customers.

It was recognised that the business would benefit from not only discovering insights in real-time, but also sharing them swiftly with the teams that would be able to act upon them. For IKEA’s digital development team, establishing a capable system that promotes a unified and socially intelligent online strategy was crucial.


Although the value of social was understood in some areas of the business, investment in social media was inconsistent and its usage differed widely in different markets and departments.

One obstacle to many of the brand’s internal social media evangelists was that IKEA is a tremendously successful business – growth has been achieved using traditional business techniques. Fostering momentum behind disruptive change inside an organisation that is already performing well can prove far more difficult than within a business in desperate need of a shake-up.

Furthermore, IKEA’s data was often siloed within divisions. This meant that valuable insights and techniques uncovered by one team may have never reached another. IKEA needed systems that would encourage a broader cultural shift toward internal sharing and social intelligence.


IKEA decided that creating a listening hub for the organisation would be crucial in taking the first steps to becoming a socially intelligent business.  The listening hub would be a physical space, strategically placed in the head office where senior staff and other relevant teams would observe and engage with the center.

It developed the listening hub using Brandwatch Analytics and Vizia. By employing a highly customisable listening platform and social media command center, IKEA is now able to intelligently detect, understand and distribute actionable insights throughout the organisation.

The listening hub ensures that 15 stakeholders, working across five continents, are all able to understand what consumers are saying about their brand in an easily digestible way. For IKEA, that means a more informed digital strategy.


After setting up the listening hub, key IKEA stakeholders were able to view what customers were saying about the brand in a digestible and engaging way. During the course of a three month pilot program, a number of insights were discovered this way.

Brandwatch Analytics was used to compare online conversation from May to August in 2013 and for the same period in 2014 over Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs, websites, online forums and news sites.

Using powerful Boolean query operators available within the Brandwatch platform, the company tracked conversations that mentioned “customer service” or “cust serv” and other content in relation to IKEA.

They then used rules-based analysis to segment conversation from specific social channels, and by using location features, IKEA was able to filter conversations originating in either the USA or UK.


IKEA was able to filter the conversation by volume across all sites which highlighted that Americans were more likely to turn to Facebook than Brits to complain about IKEA. In the US, customer service complaints on Facebook made up 36.5% of the total conversation during the studied period. In contrast, UK consumers were far more likely to take to forums to discuss customer service issues about the brand, with sites like Yelp and O2 helping make up 31% of this type of conversation.

By sharing insights like these with other departments, the digital development team were able to inform IKEA where online they could take action to improve the perception of the IKEA brand, which ambassadors they could influence and which topics to focus on in order to boost the brand’s reputation online.

There were eighteen other instances like this during the initial three months of the program, each helping different areas of the business improve operations, and lubricating the flow of information across teams throughout the company.

The establishment of the listening hub ultimately helped prove to the organisation the benefits that social data can deliver and encouraged positive change. Brandwatch Vizia acted as a focal point and as the underlying technology powering this change, assisted the digital development team in undertaking the hardest and earliest steps toward becoming a truly intelligent business.