IKEA is one of Sweden’s most famous brands. Their stores are widely popular all over the world and the fact that all product names are in Swedish doesn’t seem to bother anyone. As a principle they only sell products under their own brand. The exception to this rule has been the Swedish stores outside the cashier’s line. Inside that store – customers all over the world has been able to buy Swedish candy, crisp bread, pickled herring and the world famous snaps – all original brands.

That is no more.

The products in the Swedish store are now to be sold under IKEA´s own brand. A decision consistent with their general brand strategy. From a purely business perspective it is probably the right thing to do. The revenue IKEA gets from selling other brands in a small store is probably not even noticeable in the annual report.

My question is more on a brand level. Is it possible to stretch the IKEA brand from beds and laundry baskets to crisp bread and pickled herring? Honestly  – I don’t think so. The brand is an emotional thing. A painful lesson Melitta learned when they tried to sell vacuum cleaner bags with their brand on the package. Business wise that looked like a dream – but it turned out to a financial black hole.

Personally I think IKEA goes to far. The IKEA brand loses the dimension being a Swedish mass culture embassy and the stores becomes a bit boring. And I don’t think my friends in France, Switzerland or the U.S. are as thrilled by crisp bread from IKEA as they were by the original from Leksands Knäckebröd with the red Dalahorse on the package.

This is not a pro/con entry for the Swedish royal family. It’s not about wether we should have royalties or not. This is (again) about brands and this time it’s about the brand Sweden. The wedding this weekend gives Sweden as a brand an exposure very few corporations of the world could pay for.

In Germany they will show they will broadcast the wedding live in national TV. For 8 hours. In Austria they settle for 4. Recently I sent a package of wedding souvenirs the a dear friend in France  - the first country in the world that got rid of royalties. And so it continues..

When this wedding craziness is over and the last of the over 1500 reporters has left Stockholm on the royal newly weds it would be interesting to see how much media Sweden actually got. And the value of it.

UPDATE (rather late one though): A very careful estimate done by Swedish Mediapilot ends up on a media space worth of 2.5 billions crowns (little less than 250 ooo ooo €). However, TV was not included in that estimate! So the value has to be much more. What would be the cost of 8 hours of nationwide advertising in Germany? Whatever you might think of the royal family…to me it looks like a rather good investment for the brand Sweden.