5 challenges behind a sustainable lifestyle campaign

The simplest ideas can have the biggest impact. IKEA’s Live LAGOM project aims to help customers save energy, cut waste, reduce water use and live more healthily by giving 150 of them £500 each to spend on IKEA’s most sustainable products, and then encourage them to tell their stories. Why did they make the choices they did, what were they hoping to achieve, did the products meet their expectations, have they been stimulated to live more sustainably?

Turning this simple aim into reality is complex as it has ramifications across the whole business. Here are the five biggest challenges that have emerged to-date.

Challenge 1 – Hidden Gems

The first challenge is how to highlight the 400 plus IKEA products that help customers live more sustainably and explain why they have been chosen to be part of the range. The response has been to create a new ‘Hidden Gems’ catalogue making it easy for all customers to see the link between their purchasing choices and a more sustainable lifestyle. Beautifully produced, it sits easily alongside other IKEA catalogues helping take the sustainability concept into the mainstream.

Challenge 2 – Engaging employees

The second challenge is ensuring IKEA’s employees are aware of the products and are able to give customers great advice. Each store selected a project leader who was trained by IKEA and Hubbub. Store visits have been arranged for all participating households so that they can see the products first-hand, talk to interior designers and ask questions. All of the households will be visited at home by Hubbub and the IKEA project leaders to discuss how the project can benefit them and to consider wider behaviour changes that could save money, reduce environmental impact and create a healthier life.

Challenge 3 – Measuring impact

Measuring behaviour change impact is notoriously difficult. The University of Surrey has been brought into to create the evaluation framework for the project building on their extensive experience in this area. Their guidance has already proved invaluable in helping select a diverse range of households, ensuring the data collected has academic integrity and helping shape long-term ambitions.

Challenge 4 – Making it compelling

Live LAGOM is seeking to reach a mainstream audience who wouldn’t describe themselves as deep green but who are open to exploring a more sustainable lifestyle with the right support and prompts. An email to IKEA family members generated over 7,500 enquiries. Hubbub and the University of Surrey have helped IKEA select the participating households, aiming for a diverse geographical and social spread.

A range of sustainability experts such as the designer Oliver Heath and the gardener Alys Fowler have been recruited to provide motivation, ideas and answer questions. Inspiration bulletins will be sent regularly and activities in store will reinforce messages and build a sense of community. We will use a closed Facebook group to enable participants to share stories and ideas with each other and to keep the momentum going.

Challenge 5 – Spreading the word

The hope is that households will openly share their stories with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Social media training is being provided to help overcome concerns about plunging into the world of Twitter and Instagram. A number of specialist bloggers have been recruited to participate and they will be sharing experiences with their networks. Hubbub will be working with IKEA to pull together the most compelling stories on websites and through videos.

The results from the first phase of Live LAGOM will be available in the summer of 2016. They will be the launch-pad for two further years which will see the campaign extend to further communities and other companies.