Inclusive brands: Ikea and the ThisAbles project
This post highlights one of the reasons why Ikea is one of my favourite brands: it is inclusive, its aim to “create a better everyday life for as many people as possible” is true. In fact I just discovered [with a bit of a delay, I have to admit] Ikea’s project named ThisAbles, a project that the furniture brand has developed in collaboration with Milbat and Access Israel in order to allow people with special needs to completely enjoy its products. Read more to know how.
Even though numerous Ikea furniture and products are already accessible, the brand launched ThisAbles. ThisAbles is a project conceived by IKEA in 2019 and realised by the brand with the help of two no-profit organisations, Milbat and Access Israel, focusing on imagining, designing, developing and distributing a new line of products able “to bridge some of the gaps between existing IKEA products and the special needs” of people with disabilities.
Businesses and brands need to be inclusive in how they develop their products and services as in their communication, representing as much as listening to the needs of people of various ages, backgrounds, cultures, abilities etc. Thanks to the ThisAbles line of products, Ikea has shown one of the ways the furniture industry can choose to be more inclusive towards people with disabilities.
In order to improve the brand experience of this market target segment without redesigning existing products and expecting disabled people to repurchase them, as perfect design thinkers do, the brand has listened and analysed the needs and desire of its customers with special needs, then it has transformed each necessity in one “add-on product” based on problem solving and creativity. Having created the ThisAbles line of products, Ikea hasn’t stopped: the brand has left a listening channel open on the dedicated website and it has shared some of the product models as part of the project so that they can be 3D printed independently all over the world. Amazing!
If you are thinking of developing a more inclusive brand positioning and brand strategy, and you want to do it by understanding your targets using in-depth research based on their lifestyle and an accurate market analysis designed on your specific goals, I would love to hear from you.
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