September 28, 2018


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Social media, smart phones, and the seemingly never-ending desire to share our lives, have enabled technology to transform consumers from passive recipients of content to content creators.

What does this mean for your brand? And is there a benefit to being brand-jacked?  Let’s start by clarifying what the term “brand-jacking” is – and isn’t. In this instance, it’s not someone who overtakes the identity of your brand in a digital space to promote a dark agenda. Brand-jacking is when consumers embrace your brand and make it their own.  They see your brand and its story, buy into it, share it, and thereby amplify it.

In a world where brands are allowing consumers in on the story, there is one consistent common denominator for success: the big idea.  The big idea is born out of a deep understanding of where your brand fits in consumers’ lives – knowing how and why they connect with your brand and the value they derive from it.

IKEA, for example, understands its audience and what they expect from the brand. A few years ago, they created a story and took it to a totally unexpected territory.

What better way to share an expecting family’s joy than giving them a special discount on a baby crib? IKEA produced print ad that used technology similar to that of over-the-counter pregnancy tests.  Consumers were instructed to pee on the print ad to reveal a special discount. It’s no different (or grosser) than a pregnancy test, and the ad did not have to be brought to the store to receive the discount.

The result: creating a connection with families from the very start and showing a sense of humor that is consistent with the IKEA brand. IKEA’s story became part of these new parents’ stories. They quickly shared those stories with family, friends, and news outlets around the world. IKEA was brand-jacked. And they couldn’t be happier about it.

*Photo Credit: Adweek*

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