Nike, Coca-Cola, Mini and thousands of companies worldwide have had tremendous success with letting consumers personalise their design. The reason is that it strengthens the emotional relationship between consumer and brand. And because of technology, everybody has access to these new possibilities and on a much larger scale than ever before.
But what happens to the brand in the midst of all this personalisation? And how is it relevant for your brand?
A platform for self-realisation
We choose brands to reflects our values and identity. Personalisation is taking this identity construction up a nudge. And brands can tap into this trend.
Take Nike, who lets consumers design their own shoes. They understand how consumers use brands to express their identity. So when consumers can personalise their sneakers it brings them a sense of exclusivity and makes the products seem more relevant.
Giving consumers more control is both a sign of trust and an effective marketing move. In a society overloaded with information, we need to feel control. We make the choices not the companies – even though the brand provides the framework and makes money at the same time.
There are other and less complex solutions when it comes to personalising products.
Coca-Cola’s infamous campaign ‘Share a Coke with’ achieved a feeling of personalisation even though it was at an enormous production scale. After putting thousands of names on their iconic label, Facebook and Instagram were flooded with pictures of people who had found their own or a friend’s name on the red cans.
Nutella’s million of unique jars is a fun idea but without the names, it is difficult to reach the same level of personalisation. It doesn’t strengthen the brand or a consumer relationship. On the other hand, ABSOLUT showed their dedication to creativity when they launched 4 million unique vodka bottles. It told us something about the vodka brand.
Perhaps in such a case, an approach like Adidas’ would have been better. They made less detailed personalisation by producing different running shoes for London and New York. Thus, people could represent their favourite city.
And finally, some considerations
If you’re wondering how to get started with personalising your product we bring you five thought-starters in the following.
1 – How much control are you ready to give up in exchange for strengthening the bond between brand and consumer?
2 – How easy should it scale? If the personal element disappears in mass-production, perhaps, you should use the unique products to tell something about yourself rather than your consumers.
3 – Is there a cultural occasion that could link to the personalisation? Which events, festivals and anniversaries affect your audience and how can you help them express their identity and standpoint? Be critical of your brand’s relevance and “right to play”.
4 – What is the branding context for personalization? Consider how your brand universe can be expanded and developed and how personalization can be a step in this journey.
5 – How can you simplify the personalization process for consumers? It is about finding the right balance between freedom and constraints, so your brand acts as a framework for consumer expression but is still clearly represented.