Getting Personal | Emotional Brand Experiences

05.04.17

A growing number of brands are offering degrees of personalisation, offering something that is just for you. Going the extra mile can pay dividends for brands who strike the right balance of consumer involvement versus product uniqueness when delivering a bespoke brand experience.

So what do we mean by personalisation? It works at a number of levels, from minor product tweaks to truly bespoke products and experiences that might require higher levels of user involvement.

First, products that appear personal, by creating a new emotional interaction between the brand and consumer. Take for example the recent digitally enabled online offerings from Nutella and Marmite. The brands have followed in the footsteps of the Coca-Cola sensation in 2014, who featured a wide variety of people's names on their packaging. Whilst this might feel like a brand simply calling consumers by their names, they are making an emotional connection (beyond the label) that calls out to you.

Second, services that make products personal, where brands enable you to specify your personal preference of elements that are combined to create a personalised product. Take for example your hair type. With an enormous number of variables, imagine being able to tailor your very own product to suit your individual needs. Function of Beauty enable consumers to input their hair profile and a personalised product is sent to your door. Nike ID have offered a bespoke footwear service for several years, allowing people to express their individuality through their own personal footwear design. Once the elements of the shoe are selected, your bespoke set of trainers are then made for you. 

Third, experiences that feel personal, where you are invited to engage and participate in the creation of your very own product. Adnams Brewery and Distillery have ventured into this space, opening their doors to invite you to experience how to make your own gin. With an expert gin maker you are guided through the distilling process: selecting your own botanicals, adding a name and label to your personal bottle. Magnum's Pleasure Stores have boomed in the last year, with people queueing to take part in developing their personal ice cream combination. People are willing to pay a premium for the experience and opportunity to create their own bespoke combination. Why? It's a memorable experience you share with others, and you can tailor it to your very own preference in that moment.  

Lastly, an emerging level that is intelligently personal, where product, service, and experience combined are customised into unique brand experiences just for you. Adidas Knit For You is an example of how digital technology is taking personalisation to the next level, with a pop-up store in Berlin. Patterns are projected onto you; which you can amend and alter. You can then opt for the perfect fit with a body scan. Then finally, you’re invited to tweak the design with smart swatches, before a state-of-the-art machine knits the merino wool sweater. Within a few hours it is finished, washed and dried by hand. Olay’s Skin Advisor platform is a service that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help people identify skin care products matched to their needs. By downloading the Olay Skin Advisor app, and taking a photograph of yourself, the platform will determine which specific Olay range of products are suited to your skin. Avoiding the need to navigate hundreds of products on shelf when in-store. This model challenges the idea that personalisation means a mass of personalised products. It uses an intelligent algorithm to help you find what’s already out there, improving your overall brand experience.

Brands have never had so much opportunity to orchestrate such engaging memorable moments. Whilst immersive in-store experiences can be extremely engaging, there are a mass of digital opportunities that are enabling brands to differentiate by offering personalisation. The challenge for brands is how to fully realise the potential to personalise future experiences and secure our loyalty. Personalisation creates an opportunity for brands to create a deeper connection with their audience.

The layers outlined above call on several characteristics from businesses. In some cases, flexibility and agility from supply chains to create bespoke products and services. In other cases, a high level of courage and entrepreneurial spirit to explore and experiment with new business models and value propositions.

Considering the personalisation layers outlined above, how might your brand offer something personal and meaningful to your consumers? How might you create an offer that is engaging and of value to consumers that really builds on the purpose of your brand? If you would like to consider how your brand might offer a layer of personalisation to your consumers, then please get in touch. We’d love to talk. 

By Kelly Dawson, Design Strategy Manager at Kinneir Dufort.