Jamar Connor

Storytelling As a Force for
Connection in Home Branding

Why Compelling Narratives Matter

For millennia, stories have entertained and delighted us. They allow us to impart hard-earned lessons while building a strong sense of community. Whether shared around the campfire, through the written word, or in stunning works of art, these stories play heavily into our collective humanity.

It should come as no surprise, then, that we seek compelling narratives in all areas of our daily lives, ranging from in-person interactions to social media and even the furniture and decor that surrounds us.

While interior design might, at face value, seem less impactful or important than other forms of storytelling, it actually can play heavily into our everyday emotions and even our quality of life. Brands that recognize this reality — and actively strive to build it into their design and marketing efforts — are more likely to develop genuine and lasting relationships with their target customers. We explore this concept below, along with examples of brands that have already made their mark through the undeniable power of storytelling.

Crafting an Authentic Brand Narrative

Storytelling efforts will not resonate with consumers unless there is actually a story worth telling. It is the brand's prerogative to determine what, exactly, that story involves and why it's so important. This may take some soul-searching, although, in many cases, it's built into brands' origins.

This narrative fulfills many important functions: it reveals why the brand exists, what, exactly, shapes its core values, and which steps leaders have taken to ensure that their brand fulfills its most meaningful objectives. Then, by looking to the past, consumers can feel more excited about (or confident in) a particular brand's future.

Beyond this, brand narratives harness the simple, but important power of emotion. The most effective stories will produce some sort of emotional response in both future and current customers, perhaps reminding them why they are committed to a particular cause — or simply revealing how they might feel when they invest in a particular product or service. While this is accomplished, to some degree, by product styles or digital designs, it is arguably the story behind the design in question that makes it feel truly meaningful.

The Power of Visual Storytelling

Home brands enjoy a distinct advantage that drives effective storytelling: the ability to draw on distinctive visuals to share their core message and connect on a deeper level with target customers. This is accomplished via the products themselves, which, ideally, will conform to the brand's core messaging purely on the basis of aesthetics. Packaging also matters, however, and can help to drive home the brand's message and build strong expectations before customers begin to explore their new purchases.

Visual storytelling should extend beyond the products and their physical packaging to also include logos, website design, social media updates, and even marketing emails. Every effort to interact with customers should feel true to the central narrative that drives each brand. When browsing digital marketing materials, customers should never second-guess which brands they're checking out; a cohesive design will make it clear that customers (and the brands they support) have their story straight.

Showcasing the Human Side of
Home Brands

Consumers are increasingly invested in the people and the visions that underscore their favorite brands and products. They want to feel confident that they share core values with brands that play an important role in their lives — and if they observe and interact with home furnishings on a daily basis, it's only reasonable for these customers to want key elements to feel consistent with their unique take on life.

While brands' core values will frequently be — as we've explained — evident in the look and general functionality of their top products, it doesn't hurt to add further interest to the experience by sharing meaningful stories on social media or via other digital marketing strategies.

The About Us page provides a start: an initial chance to explain, in detail, what drives the visionaries behind the brand in question and what, exactly, makes that brand unique. Customers often resonate deeply with these stories, which, once understood, may shape how they interact with their favorite brands.

About Us explanations will not be impactful, however, unless they are accompanied by clear messaging and a cohesive design throughout the entire website — with the intention of reinforcing and building on the central messaging whenever possible. From bios to landing pages, testimonial areas, and even Contact Us pages, there are numerous opportunities to reveal how a core, passion-driven vision drives the brand and all who support it.

Case Studies of Home Brands

From Unknown to Household Name Through Storytelling

From furniture designs to social media messaging, storytelling should be purposefully built into every aspect of home branding. This end goal can be difficult to achieve, however — especially if you are still struggling to craft a compelling story or develop some semblance of consistency with what that narrative involves or how it's told.

Often, the best insight comes from success stories. Thankfully, many of these are available within this diverse and exciting niche. To that end, we have highlighted a few noteworthy home brands that, despite their humble beginnings, have grown considerably by harnessing the simple power of storytelling.


Magnolia represents the ultimate example of home brand storytelling done right. As the masterpiece of the renowned Chip and Joanna Gaines, this home and media empire is built on the success of an acclaimed HGTV show. The brand has a decidedly distinct personality, in keeping with the Gaines' memorable aesthetic. Chances are, even if you've never watched Fixer Upper or viewed the Gaines' online content, you can picture the basis of their style: modern (yet somehow quaint) farmhouse spaces in which neutrals dominate — and where chipboard and barn doors are used extensively.

The Gaines' story has been instrumental in transforming Magnolia from a humble, renovation-oriented initiative to the force it is today. As a branding effort, this story is regularly shared in every manner imaginable: on the Gaines' website, during TV features, and even in a book rightfully known as The Magnolia Story.

Magnolia conveys the importance not only of developing a meaningful story, but also, using every opportunity to share that message with customers or followers. This is evident not only in the wide range of storytelling initiatives highlighted above, but also, with brick-and-mortar locations (such as the iconic Magnolia Market) and even the charming script so frequently incorporated in packaging or other text-based details.

Yinka Ilori

Exemplifying the storytelling value of design, furniture genius Yinka Ilori uses his vibrant pieces to weave memorable tales highlighting his Nigerian heritage. He is similarly proud of his British background and strives to incorporate both aspects of his background into his work. Storytelling is purposefully built into all he does, in part, because he was so impressed by all he learned while pursuing his Furniture and Product Design Degree. This was where, as he tells the creative community It's Nice That, he found [his] love for furniture and how important storytelling was going to become for [him].

This priority is further explained on Ilori's website: Drawing on Nigerian parables and verbal traditions, [he] touches on a multitude of themes that resonate with a global audience. Signs of his heritage are especially evocative within retail environments such as his initial pop-up store, where he aims to explore how stores can encourage consumers to connect, experience and discover in a continuation of design work that is inspired by his heritage and storytelling.

Kelly Wearstler

The forward-thinking Kelly Wearstler has long been a leader in contemporary furniture design. She refers to this process as a sort of falling in love over and over again, adding that, with each new project, she gets the opportunity to embark on a fascinating journey that her fans and customers will ultimately share. She strongly feels that design is akin to storytelling, explaining to Forbes that, like any solid story, this will draw on many sources of inspiration.

The goal? Mixing raw with refined, high and low, vintage and modern, patterns, textures and colors in a signature way. Despite this nuanced blend, she still strives to remain true to her core philosophy: creating beauty through thoughtful design.

This priority is immediately evident when gazing at Wearstler's pieces, which are distinct, yet refined. These are showcased to great effect on her personal Instagram page. This digital space allows each image to convey a memorable atmosphere in which viewers could easily place themselves as protagonists in a compelling and still-unfolding story.

Embrace the Power and Potential of Home Brand Storytelling

There is no substitute for storytelling in today's fast-paced marketing landscape. While styles and modalities are constantly changing, the power of a strong narrative will never disappear. Any effort to weave a genuine and meaningful story will be rewarded with strong engagement and, ultimately, a newfound level of customer loyalty that would otherwise be out of reach. Don't miss this chance to create a home branding initiative that truly resonates.

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