IKEA has forged a particularly strong bond with the people of Quebec, a testament to their keen appreciation for Scandinavian design. This connection is rooted in several elements that resonate deeply with Quebec's cultural and aesthetic ethos.
Quebec's unique identity – a fusion of North American dynamism and European charm – finds a parallel in Scandinavian design, which skilfully blends modernity with tradition. Scandinavian design's hallmark of minimalism, functionality, and comfort mirrors Quebecers' penchant for practical yet fashionable choices. This minimalism isn't just about simplicity; it reflects a certain sophisticated restraint.
The opening of an IKEA store in Quebec City in 2018 was a long-awaited event, particularly after years of travelling two hours to the nearest outlet in Boucherville near Montreal or utilizing the local Pick-Up and Order point – which, by the way, boasted one of Canada's highest sales levels for this format.
To achieve the visitation and sales objectives for the opening week, the marketing strategy for the grand opening was straightforward yet potent: capitalize on the existing excitement to generate even more buzz for what was going to be a landmark event.
The campaign's creative thrust was encapsulated in a single, powerful message: The Scandinavian accent is finally coming to Quebec City. The creative expression used a simple device to dramatize the news: replacing accents on French words with the distinctive umlaut.
Employing mainly print, out-of-home, digital and social media, the campaign exceeded expectations, drawing in both IKEA aficionados and the newly curious.
The new store's opening saw an overwhelming response, with crowds of eager shoppers – many of whom camped out overnight in the parking lot, eager to be the first inside. They lined up around the block, undeterred even by rain.
Successfully embedding a brand in Quebec's market landscape hinges on a nuanced understanding of adaptation – whether it's adopting established practices from other markets, or tailoring communications specifically for the local audience. For IKEA, this meant blending time-tested strategies from other successful launches with locally nuanced communication, ensuring the global brand resonated with a distinctly local flavour.