BY GIL HORSKY
INNOVATION PLATFORM LEAD, GLOBAL CHOCOLATE, MONDELĒZ INTERNATIONAL
The fast technological evolution of digital printing algorithms that enable millions of design permutations and 3D printing have opened up new possibilities in terms of product and packaging personalisation. We are all familiar with Coca-Cola’s named bottles and Oreo’s customised Colorfilled packs.
The Share a Coke campaign saw the brand exchange their iconic logo with 250 of the most popular teen names across the world. Consumers were prompted to create virtual Coke bottles shared, with Coca-Cola gaining 25 million new Facebook followers, and 7% consumption increase. Such successful campaigns clearly demonstrate that for teens and millennials, personalisation is not just a fad, but is in fact, a way of life.
As we reach the end of 2016, it is also clear that just because it is now easier for brands to offer personalisation, it doesn’t mean they should. Personalisation is after all a bit more than adding a consumer’s name on a pack, and it is not obvious that brand owners are asking themselves whether personalisation is actually adding anything.
It’s important to also recognise the difference between customisation and personalisation. Personalisation is adaptive; it’s when the product or system you’re using tailors itself to your behaviours, wants and needs without your active input. Customisation is getting into your car and adjusting the climate control to the desired temperature. Personalisation is when the car knows it’s you, and then automatically adjusts the climate to suit you.
A sophisticated example of personalisation would be Volvo’s ‘Volvo drowsiness detection’ feature which, quite literally, scans the driver’s facial expression for signs of tiredness. When the driver hits a certain level, the car advises the driver to take a break, purely based on the user’s subconscious behaviour.
Brands need to understand what consumers really want and why they may want to customise or personalise. With those of the ‘millennial’ demographic or younger, part of the drive towards personalisation is linked to sharing one’s possessions and demonstrating social status via social platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.
In turn, successful personalisation campaigns tend to enable consumers to co-create and allow them to take control and to enjoy sharing content with their friends and family. Where it does work is in categories that consumers are naturally expressive, and have a desire to create something unique for themselves or someone else, categories such as: shoes, food, makeup, music, scents, bags and beyond.
The Cadbury Joymaker platform is a great example of enabling consumers, in a highly emotional and engaging category, to customise their beloved Cadbury chocolate products for themselves or as special gifts to others.
Personalisation and customisation is evolving far beyond packaging or a ‘one-off’ campaign, and starting to become the overall product experience and consumer benefit of some new offerings.
The Ripples coffee maker is a great example of a coffee machine tailored for the foodservice channel that enables you to customize a cup of coffee by printing photos, messages or any other visual content on the milk foam. This provides consumers with the same coffee experience that they know and love, but with a surprising personalised element beyond their expectation.
The Pepsi Spire device allows users to become their ‘own mixologist’ and customise their favourite Pepsi drinks through selecting up to three flavour shots, which can result in 1,000 different combinations.
Overall though, whether its customisation or personalisation, brands across different segments can utilise an individual’s need to express themselves in a range of different ways. Whether it’s for an advertising campaign or to offer a new lifestyle choice, it’s clear this trend is in its infancy and will continue to grow as consumers continue to share more of themselves online.
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