Crafting the Connection Through Audience Engagement

Audience engagement best practices from High Point and beyond.

05/08/2019
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(Photo: Pexels user rawpixel)

As an editor, it’s my job to ask questions and from the insights craft a story that will connect with my audience. That’s in my job description. By trade, I’m a storyteller.

But so are you. As designers and retailers, you also share a story each time you connect with your customers. You share a piece of yourself when you design for a client or help a customer choose a sofa. The trick is, how do we make those stories stick? How do we leave a lasting impression?

In today’s digital world, storytelling seems easy. You have an opportunity to tell your story to potential clients, peers or suppliers with every blog, Instagram post or tweet you share. But are you making the connections? 

With online retailers, it’s easy enough for consumers to order home furnishings without leaving the house. These platforms make it easy to buy and to return, and while they can share details about a product, they most often aren’t sharing the stories behind the products. In our experience economy, differentiation is key. For the consumer, it’s not as much about the piece of furniture itself as how that piece makes them feel. 

At High Point Market last month, we walked many showrooms and were so impressed with the product styles and innovation. What showrooms were most memorable? If I learned of the inspiration behind a product or got to know a little about the designer, I felt connected. 

In a couple of showrooms, written stories accompanied each product and shared some of the personality behind them as well. Even if no one was there to attend to us, we were still able to read the stories and make a connection — table talkers that shared a performance fabric’s benefits in a fun way (no crying over spilt milk); clever names that personalized a light fixture and inspired a smile; or descriptions that depicted the inspiration behind abstract art or sculptural vases (dreamed up after a trip to the farmer’s market). Those showrooms begged to be wandered.

In this month’s feature, we talk about dining rooms and the impact of “top of the table;” how consumers are entertaining with the good china that Mom would have kept tucked away, only brought out on special occasions twice a year. It’s the stories behind those pieces that make them special, and today’s consumers are using them to add a storied layer to their entertaining. 

We’re also telling the stories of our Showroom of the Year finalists. Learn how these retailers have elevated their businesses to achieve finalist status in the 10th Annual Showroom of the Year Awards.  

Storytelling is important in business, whether it’s on the page, through digital means or face to face. A dining table is beautiful, but a dining table where the pedestal base was inspired by an antique bud vase makes an emotional connection. And if we can make those emotional connections, we have an edge. 

Photo: Pexels 

Diane Falvey

Diane Falvey is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture, Lighting & Decor, leading the editorial direction of the brand, and continuing to build the brand’s reach and messaging through print, digital and event platforms. Falvey came to the brand from Dallas Market Center, where as Editor-in-Chief, she was responsible for creative and content direction for the Source magazine and the Market Center’s other editorial publications. Falvey also served as Editor-in-Chief of Gifts & Decorative Accessories, a monthly trade publication and digital platform designed to support gift and home retailers.

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