With so many companies supporting high profile and “popular” charities, I often wonder if their support is genuine or just a move to gain visibility and goodwill? IKEA, popular maker of well-functioning, affordable furniture for the masses, seems to be doing it right with their latest “Better Shelter” campaign.
IKEA is taking its own unique style to a whole new level by creating “Better Shelter” units for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as temporary homes for refugees around the world.
In keeping with their simple approach to furniture, the 10,000 “Better Shelter” units are all flat-packed, can be put together in four hours and require no tools for assembly, making it possible for displaced refugee families to benefit quickly from the improved living conditions.
IKEA’s support and participation in this program with the UNHCR is a stellar example of corporate philanthropy at its best. Let’s face it, helping refugees isn’t high profile — the amount of media coverage the story got is miniscule. So clearly, IKEA wasn’t going for a shotgun approach to appeal to the masses. Instead, they chose a charity that stayed true to their values and brand vision of creating a better everyday life for everyday people, now including refugees. Kudos, IKEA.
Reality Check: Do what’s right, not just what’s popular. (We seem to like this theme at GWH, don’t we?) Corporate philanthropy is a good thing and should be embraced by companies everywhere. But it’s at its best and most believable when done in a manner that’s genuine and compatible with your brand mission. Would you have had the guts to propose this tie-in?