5 Branding Lessons from IKEA’s Life at Home Report

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Earlier this year, IKEA released its Redefining a Better Life At Home report. The 14-page PDF is an insightful overview of some of the learnings they unveiled throughout this pandemic. IKEA surveyed 20 families around the world to understand what they’re thinking about and hoping for as they explore what this new life in confinement means.

Their findings go far beyond the physical elements of a house. These conversations examined how homes can fulfill individuals’ emotional and even professional needs at a time like this. In doing so, they offer a refreshing sense of perspective about brands’ roles in designing products that truly advance human lives in 2020 and beyond. Let’s take a closer look at five ideas uncovered in this report that have important implications for brands in every industry, but particularly for those in the Interior, fashion, and home design spaces.

As a result of these reflections, IKEA believes that our collective lives at home have changed forever. Here’s a beautifully put recap of what they learned:

This time of pausing the hamster wheel of life has presented some extremes of uncertainty. But on what for many feels like the other side of the most intense time of that uncertainty, comes the gift of perspective (which we called ‘exquisite clarity’ ) – and ultimately feelings of positivity.

1. Enhance comfort

A key transformation we all evidenced early on in this pandemic was the comfort associated with being indoors. When you have free, open access to the outer world, spending time outside can feel recharging and soothing. But when being outside involves ample preparation, social distancing, personal protective equipment, and severe caution, that’s when staying in becomes inevitably associated with a sense of calm.

Suddenly, we started to wonder if there was anything we could do to make the space around us feel more energizing and a greater source of well-being. Perhaps like never before in our lives. As it turns out, there’s plenty we can do. IKEA, as a home furnishings retailer, is obviously interested in learning more about the impact of certain material elements in this sense of comfort. However, there are larger lessons here that are not attached to a particular brand. How can your product or service support buyers intentions’ of elevating their quality of life at home?

2. Infuse personality

Show me your home and I’ll tell you what you’re into. Consciously or subconsciously, we tend to adapt our surroundings to a worldview that is unique to us. Our experiences, preferences, sense of taste, and aesthetic point of view all come to life in the smallest details. During these lockdowns, we’ve also learned that creating a space where we feel creatively represented can be invigorating. If you share a household with others, you may have also discovered that it’s essential for each family member to enjoy boundaries and have spaces of their own — no matter the size. How can your brand support buyers trying to express themselves through their homes?

3. Enable productivity

For many, the pandemic brought about an immediate transition to remote work. What that means is the space you normally occupied to rest and entertain yourself, suddenly also became your office. And here’s the catch: when your employer designs the space in which you think, create, and build you are delegating your definition of a productive space. With a home office, you get to really explore what keeps you inspired. The layouts that best suit your personality and productivity styles. The routines and motions that change your day for the better.

4. Reconnect with nature

As soon as we were forced to work, rest, and recharge within the bounds of our own home, access to nature became a priority. Whether growing an herb garden, reclaiming the lawn, or rethinking the balcony, human beings turned their attention to the spaces that allowed a connection with nature.

5. Elevate gatherings

This last insight is more closely related to the reopening phase. As stay-at-home orders relax and inner family circles reunite, prepare for a revival of hosting. Dinnerware, furniture, recipes, and resources that can help you create an atmosphere for intimate gatherings are all going to be key. As IKEA knows too well, this trend is not about high price points. Even the simplest, most subtle details can turn a space around. They don’t even need to be store-bought: The Economist highlighted a rise in home baking and Bank of America flagged an uptick in DIY home improvement projects.

How is your life at home?

Your turn now. Has anything changed in the way you experience your own home this year? What have you found yourself buying more of? What did you stop buying? Share your thoughts below or email me at laura@laurabusche.com.


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