Ikea’s Folly Over Font Raises Social Questions
Does anyone really believe that customers might make an issue over a company’s design change from Futura to Verdana font? Apparently there is some measurable outcry about Ikea’s marketing decision to switch its graffiti fonts. While Verdana seems the more practical and is definitely the cheaper font, some people apparently just don’t like the decision to change. Are these folks opposed to change only for some salient reason and is Ikea taking a risk by stirring this pot?
A little research may have put this in perspective for Ikea. IKEA FANS, an online site for fans of the giant retailer, reveals that the design change has generated little interest or expression of opinion from dedicated Ikea customers. The screaming online opposition to the marketing and design change seems driven by those zealous to protest as opposed to those zealous to shop.
In fact, the entire tirade raises questions some deem more consequential than the customer tendencies of a furniture chain. As social networking through digitalized means becomes so prevalent in our society, are commercial marketers relying too heavily upon instant impact? Instant gratification has become the standard of our computer age. Any entertainment or information can be immediately at our fingertips with the touch of a mouse. This sort of rapid reaction is difficult for marketers and branding managers to ignore. Today, they see customer opinion as something instantaneously measurable.
Businesses construct social media profiles to be “in touch” with their customers. Up until recently, this has seemed to be a winning marketing tool. But in light of Ikea’s font folly and other misdirection, do we know the proper marketing response? Can brands jump on the customer bandwagon and expect that instant directive to be a true social reflection, or should they wait and let time tell the true customer course?
It’s not difficult to see that marketing could take a number of wrongs to turn to chase patterns that seem instantly indicative and find itself at a dead end. The old saying goes that, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and companies may find they risk listening only to the loudest voices as opposed to listening to the majority when mining for instant input through social media.
So, what does this mean for Ikea? Well, luckily they have IKEAFANS to help out. This means that they are weighing one social media output against another to attempt to come up with an accurate measure of customer response. Perhaps this should be the precedent for future marketing response. For now, anyway, the catalog font will be switched from Futura to Verdana and we’re left to wonder if social marketing or simple economics had more to do with the decision.