Lead with Purpose; IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad Leaves Behind a CX Legacy

Lead with Purpose; IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad Leaves Behind a CX Legacy

Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of IKEA, recently passed away in Sweden, leaving quite a legend behind him. IKEA, the beloved furniture store not just for Americans, but for people all over the world, first came to the United States in the 1980s, slowly revolutionizing the way consumers shop for furniture and household items.  

IKEA is a company that knows its purpose, understands its customers, and provides value and consistency. We all know an IKEA customer, right? I mean, it’s certainly the place to go for college kids and “20-somethings” looking to furnish their apartments, especially the first one. IKEA customers want simple, modern designs, quality products, and don’t want to spend a lot of money on furniture. They’re even willing to spend time building their own furniture to save on the overall cost of the piece. With the customer in mind, IKEA has also provided a service that will assemble your furniture for you, at affordable rates.

Ingvar’s guiding vision that he stated in his
Testament of a Furniture Dealer in 1975 is still the company’s clarity of purpose to this day.

“To create a better everyday life for the many people, this is the IKEA vision. Our business idea is to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”

This clarity of purpose and dedication is a core aspect of the company’s customer experience and a contributing factor to its global expansion. Companies need a clarity of purpose to guide choices and unite the organization. A clarity of purpose elevates people from executing tasks to delivering experiences customers will want to repeat and tell others about. This is a concept that Ignvar truly grasped and expounded on in his Testament.

Ingvar also placed high value on his employees, which is another core tenet of customer experience. He understood that they are the backbone of the company. We must never forget that the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience. Employees need to be champions for their companies, contributing to its overall reputation and hopefully, positive experience for customers. In fact, IKEA was listed as one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2017. Ingvar also stated the following in his Testament: 

The true IKEA spirit is still built on our enthusiasm, from our constant striving for renewal, from our cost-consciousness, from our readiness to take responsibility and help out, from our humbleness in approaching our task and from the simplicity of our way of doing things. We must look after each other and inspire each other. Those who cannot or will not join us are to be pitied.

It’s this spirit of IKEA, the idea to create a better everyday life for many, that would “make mom proud,” as I like to say.  

So thank you, Ingvar – for creating a furniture shopping experience with an easy to follow layout that doesn’t frustrate folks, for the Swedish meatballs served in the cafeteria (because you know people spend a lot of time here), and for the option to either build the furniture myself or pay extra for an IKEA service to build it for me.

In the next few months I’m going to be building upon this “make mom proud content” in anticipation of my forthcoming book, “Would You Do That To Your Mother?” to be released this spring. Add this book to your wishlist on Amazon to get a reminder when it comes out!

2 comments to " Lead with Purpose; IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad Leaves Behind a CX Legacy "

  • Stuart Gilchriest

    Hey Jeanne,
    Interesting post and clearly a great man who left behind a lasting legacy. I have to say that I do disagree with the IKEA shopping experience part though as I do find it really infuriating. I know it works for a lot of people, but I always stayed away from IKEA in my 20s (and beyond) because I simply couldn’t stand being over-commercialized by being forced through a very specific journey when all I wanted was one or two specific items. It’s also frustrating to be stuck behind ‘browsers’ on a narrow pathway when all you want to do is get to the bedroom section, for example. I realize they hide shortcuts in their store design- and that they’ve got better at highlighting those- but that hasn’t changed my overall viewpoint and sense of dread that I feel whenever anyone mentions visiting IKEA.
    Of course this is a personal view, but I would say that people tend to either love or hate the experience. Take nothing away from the founder and organization as a whole though- I have a lot of respect for what they’ve achieved!

    Keep up the good work, I love reading these posts and reflecting on the ideas within them.

    • Jeanne Bliss

      Hey Stuart,
      I agree and understand completely. People either love or (hate) that experience. I’m honoring their deliberateness in knowing what they are, and what they aren’t. And the vision of a guy at a crazy young age of having a vision that would eventually become the largest furniture company in the world. May he rest in peace.

Leave a Comment