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brand.139 One of IKEA’s goals is to build its brand without compromising people or the environment. The goal for IKEA is to be a positive force in today’s consumption society140 and a clear communication of this through CSR offers a more positive perception of the brand. However, the interviewees do not perceive CSR as driving consumer preference and customer loyalty to any greater extent. S. Koerfer for instance has noticed that the younger generation of customers has an interest in

these issues but that it does not “mean everything”.141 customers and most important for others”.142

She sees CSR as being “important for some

4.7.4 Communication of CSR initiatives

IKEA has been strongly criticized at times, which has led to more rigorous efforts on CSR. However, the company has avoided communicating its CSR efforts to the greater public as it is aware of it’s own imperfections143 and believes that: ”to market these issues is crazy!”144 This is in line with IKEA’s “modest” approach in its general communication strategy.145 IKEA strives to use PR and new forums such as blogs to inform the public about its CSR initiatives146, this tactic has been shown to be more useful in reaching and informing customers. According to the store manager at Barkarby, a profile on IKEA's CSR in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, was more successful in reaching customers than most of its usual communication efforts:”Everything is on the website but it doesn't highlight our efforts in any way”147. Even so, ”It is a very thankful job to market IKEA, because many people just assume that we take our responsibility”.148

The way IKEA wishes to communicate CSR to customers is through the actual products149: “There is a lot of transparency when it comes to the actual products, IKEA lets the products speak for themselves”150. As CSR is becoming more of a hygiene or base factor for an increasing number of consumers it is important to start communicating these issues.151 CSR is not yet part of the franchised IKEA concept, due to IKEA’s complicated corporate structure, which is why the marketing and CSR communication is not standardized and thus varies between countries. Cultural differences make CSR

communication more or less important depending on which country IKEA operates in.152 to all franchisees to choose which path to follow.

It is thus up

4.7.5 CSR communication challenge

A positive CSR reputation can increase IKEA’s popularity as an employer since ”especially young people want to work for a company that takes its social responsibility very seriously”153. To ensure that the company will remain attractive154, it is clear that CSR communication is key to attracting the

139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154

Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13, Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Edvardsson, B., 2008-10-13, Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13. Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13. Interview, Edvardsson, B., 2008-10-13. Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26. http://medieakademin.welcom.se/barometer2008.pdf.

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