Skip to comments.Why do Apple, Volvo and IKEA never fail?
Posted on 12/27/2011 10:36:30 PM PST by WesternCulture
In one word; marketing skills.
No one actually needs French perfumes.
Fancy a rum and cola? - Why bother about coke?
This Christmas, I and my brother, a programmer (silly job, good pay), discussed the issue of how to define a 'smart phone'.
I'm a simple cook, but my Sony Ericsson Vivaz can do everything his iPhone could do, however, at the end of the row, we both agreed Apple and their products are among the best marketed brands on Earth.
IKEA is another example of companies that are more than companies.
Everyone has experienced sad misfortunes with IKEA furniture. Even some of the most gifted minds of engineering found on this planet.
You are not alone.
But why do we keep coming back?
I'm a Swede, prefering Swedish women, but I once had this Italian girlfriend.
She couldn't afford a Volvo (due to the work ethics down in Italy), but she owned an apartment in central Rome worth at least $400 000.
All the same, she bought most of her furniture going along with household odds and ends she needed from one of the two IKEA stores in Rome.
One day, I went there (by subway) with my lovely, cultivated Italian donna and discovered well mannered Italians sitting around in the restaurant eating not pasta, pizza, panini but Swedish "sill" (pickled herring). She explained to me; "We Italians love it!"
This experience made our relationship grow stronger.
It didn't last though, but IKEA are planning new stores all over Italy (as well as other markets).
Now, let's talk cars.
Being Swedish, I really hope their is a future for SAAB Automobile, but probably there's not.
The abscence of SAAB has allowed more of room for Volvo in the Nordic Countries (Scandinavia + Finland) and probably on other markets as well, like the Baltic Countries, Russia etc.
Chinese owned Volvo Cars (not to be confused with the Volvo Group which is a considerably larger company), one of the most successful manufacturers of premium/luxury cars of today, is one one the brands that not only speak to you, but forms your identity.
If you drive a Volvo, you're not another of them other car drivers, you are a reliable person who belives in paying bills, abiding the law and shutting your eyes to women with huge bossoms/19 year old men trying to look like Paul McCartney does today.
A Lexus is probably at par with a Volvo on all levels. - But why would you prefer to crash in a Volvo?
Americans, Germans and Swedes are good at marketing, the Japanese are not.
Yes, we all do eat sushi, but in many countries outside of Japan, sushi restaurants are not run by Japanese.
Like a certain Swede once said: "Over here in Sweden we often pride ourselves of being talented inventors and engineers, but what we're really good at is actually doing business with everyone."
Next time you bother to take a look, or even closely examine, a product you own, be it a product by Apple, Volvo or IKEA, ask yourself, "is this mine, or sooner a first step into a sphere where I feel secure and comfortable".
Why do Volvos sell so good in the midst of a worldwide economical slowdown?
Taking a close look at myself, I am brainwashed by the "little extras" that Volvo has provided me with as a V70 owner. I admit to this. But the saftey philosophy of Volvo is no gadget.
I will always gladly pay some extra money for saftey. Still, I enjoy a way better life than most drivers do heading down a German Autobahn. Among other things, Volvo seats are among the most comfortable, nay THE most comfortable, of all makes.
Why do we chose this or that brand?
In my case, purchases has a lot to do with my personal philosophy of life and what goes along well with my identity and ideals.
I might rely on a cheaper, yet highly functional kitchen knife because I, being a cook, know how to sharpen it, while I choose a nice Volvo, as I'm not a skilled car mechanic.
Ikea, Volvo and Apple have not only had great marketing, but also marketing that was first aimed at a small group that would be seen by the mass population as trendy.
For example, the first IKEA catalog I saw around 15 years ago seemed to be aimed at gays as the home are room settings for their products had models who appeared to be gay couples. They market to the gays, then the hipsters and then other segments of the population follow.
Volvo at least in the US marketed almost exclusively to middle upper income women with kids and they promoted safety and almost only safety. It worked, If I were to gather a focus group of 100 people, and ask them what the first thing that comes to their mind when I say “Volvo,” more than 80% of them will say “safety.”
When Apple first emerged as a major computer maker, they marketed towards artists and designers and the gays and hipsters within those groups. When Apple introduced the iPod it was aimed at music geeks and now they have obviously expanded their market.
Among other things, Volvo seats are among the most comfortable, nay THE most comfortable, of all makes.
I hate the seats in my husband's Volvo. They are the most uncomfortable car seats I have ever had the misfortune to sit upon. Any more than 30 minutes and I have to get out and stand up. Other than that, it's a great car, but I do prefer the seats in my Ford Escort.
Over here in Sweden, IKEA built its brand around a very different set of ideals than Volvo.
After WWII, Volvo advertised the reliable, perfect car for a family of four or five, instead of squeezing them into a mechanically inferior British or French car. IKEA spoke of saving money and their unique way of saving money for both customer and producer by apealling to that “I can”gene of ours - they struck gold.
One of the first lessons of marketing is this; although the market is a bunch of dumb sheep, these dumb herds may not choose cars in the same way they happen to choose furniture.
Why does Volvo never fail? You mean the Chinese owned subsidiary of Geely motors?
“I hate the seats in my husband’s Volvo.”
- If I were you:
1. Tell it to your husband. If he is a true gentleman, he will bother.
2. Take it up with your Volvo dealer.
3. If no reaction whatsoever occurs, transfer the seat of your Ford to your husband’s Volvo. Being a former Volvo-employee, I could agree to sending you a small contribution
to this operation.
4. Scrap your Ford.
btw, are you in marketing? :)
- Yes, Volvo is owned by the Chinese.
Let's compare Sweden, China and America in terms of economical success;
USA: Once the World's most economically successful nation. Today an economy taxing companies to death and choking on debts.
China: An old empire aiming at World hegemony, likely of repeating the mistakes made by neighboring Japan twenty years ago.
Sweden: Small, PC, Socialist, but among countries the best example of a nation truly knowing Lutheran work ethics.
Apple has failed a number of times. Apple cultists, on the other hand, erase such things from their memories.
Shouldn't user experience always be a priority. I would bet half of the Apple computer users are people frustrated with their user experience on Microsoft systems.
Microsoft gets away with mediocrity because of market share. A perfect example of that not working is Eclipse Aircraft. The former Microsoft people running that company promised a very capable aircraft and delivered a plane barely capable of IFR flight. They went out of business never delivering the promised airplane.
Personally, I think the genius Apple's resurgence was the marketing of the media. Yeah, their stuff works and is cool looking, but the iTunes store and the App Store put "new user" experiences a couple clicks and 99 cents away.
Well I know Apple almost failed but Microsoft gave them a large loan!!
- I'm trying to market rational thoughts and also politically, spiritually and intellectually sale-able ideas.
I'm a cook, but perhaps I'll go back to working for Volvo soon here in Gothenburg. I love cooking, but I also love cars and earning fantasy wages..
The best job I've ever had was slaving on the premises of my granpa’s summer house. After this, we all enjoyed my grandma's cooking.
Memories like this made me patriot.
Proud citizens of America today standing up for the ideals in which their great nation was shaped remind me of the generation my grandparents belonged to.
Believe me, other times than those of Chirac, Obama and Multiculturalism will follow.
The average passenger on a subway train in Paris forms the future of the Western World.
He might work too little, enjoy more of great red wines than Californian gym instructors and drive a smaller car than American SUV owners who've found out they no longer can afford gas, but at least he is opposed to multiculturalism.
Is there any reason for this article’s writing, other than for a Swede to make racist comments about Italians?
“Is there any reason for this articles writing, other than for a Swede to make racist comments about Italians?”
- O sole mio!
My first car, back in the 60s, was a Volvo P1800, very cool
In my later years I had 3 Volvo wagons.
When I moved to Slovakia, I saw my first Ikea store, where I bought most of my household goods and apartment furniture.
Keep in mind, it was intended as discardable, but it breaks down into very flat packages, so I shipped my computer desk, book shelves, kitchen items, lamps, and other Ikea items to my new place in the Philippines, all taking up very little shipping space along with my other items.
For the price, Ikea is excellent for young apartment starters or somewhat temporary furniture and accesories.
Several years ago, I had a project where we had to use SWE-Dish portable satellite dishes. As memory serves, the FA=150 model
Really sleek design. Elegant.
And very, very pricey.
Well, they had a very long lead time. And once we got them, we found that there was some defect with each and every dish that we ordered. It seemed that there was very poor quality control in the manufacturing process. For example, I recall that in several instances, screw holes weren't tapped out. Just silly stuff. To their credit, they were very responsive in sending somebody to fix the problems, but they shouldn't have existed in the first place.
My neighbor across the street has a Volvo. That stupid car is in the shop it seems more than it is in her driveway.
My folks once owned a Saab. Same thing.
And, if you go to Ikea, you will see bins and bins of spare hardware in their customer service area. Same thing.
Bottom line: all of the stuff has a really sleek design. But not very good quality control in the manufacturing process...they had to make it up through post-sale customer service.
(And what is it that they won't let you take the shopping carts on the escalators? They are designed so you can do just that!)
“And what is it that they won't let you take the shopping carts on the escalators? They are designed so you can do just that!”
- Here in Sweden you can. I guess it has to do with regulations were you live.
“(..) stupid car”
- European cars are definitely not stupid. You select music, enter the Autobahn, set the farthållare/Geschwindigkeitsregelanlage/cruise control, go to sleep and wake up to your wonderful holiday down in Provence or Tuscany the following morning.
Yes, you could in Italy and in Germany also.
My wife used to buy Ikea stuff. It fell apart.
I don’t care if you use million dollar fasteners, if you screw them into soft pine, it’s firewood, not furniture.
Like the article says - marketing. It's not that they never fail, it's that they know how to create the illusion that they always succeed.
I have three IKEA sofas that have been around for years. Love them! Their kitchen cabs are pretty high rated although I don’t have them.
On Christmas I brought up IKEA to my SIL and she said “What’s IKEA?” She must live under a rock!
The last Ford I owned bled out it's second transmission's fluid on the lot of a Lexus dealership. I think they took it in trade so they could get it off the lot faster.
Now I can't say the same thing about all Fords, quite a few people are happy with theirs, but I managed to get hold of quite a lemon. Never again...
1. Tell it to your husband. If he is a true gentleman, he will bother.
OH, he knows, which is why, when are going to be in the car for any great length of time we use my car.
Never say never. These companies will all fail eventually.
I always enjoy your culture posts. My cousin, Hans Lofstrand works at volvo and got a tour for us several years ago. He is now testing up in the north of Sweden somewhere. I got my first Volvo in 65 with 2 small kids.Gave that one to my son when he went to college. Now have an XC90 in Maine which is about my 10th Volvo. My fav was a 70 P1800 I bought used in Calif about 1979 but sold it in 96 when I came to Maine. We hope to move to Florida,leave everything here to my daughter and furnish our place with IKEA. No more Volvos, though too costly.
Apple sucks. I’m glad Steve Jobs is dead, the POS that he was, he couldn’t make anything perfect. Screw him.
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