Tuesday, October 02, 2012
What happens when an issue is acceptable in one culture but not in another? You can't win. Ikea is finding that out after eliminating photos of women in its catalogs sent to Saudi Arabia. From a commercial standpoint, It was the right thing to do. From a company value point of view, it was wrong. Ikea is apologizing to the public, but one wonders how that apology is being received in Saudi Arabia where women are still second-class citizens? My guess is that Ikea's Saudi business is not so large that it will deeply affect the company's bottom line if it is boycotted in Riyadh. Still, it is a matter of principle with Ikea and from a public relations perspective, it erred.