Consumers desire experiences that are personally relevant, uniquely intimate like a friendship, and plain old fun. Easier said than done. Creating a unified brand experience that also meets individual desires can be mystifying, even for companies that genuinely desire to be People First.
If achieved, however, personalization can be a crowning moment for a brand. Engaging and personally meaningful experiences build a relationship between brand and consumer. Relationships build trust, and trust leads to more and better transactions.
First, we believe that personalization done right is about building connection, just as you would with a friendship. It’s about building a reciprocal relationship in which brand and consumer speak the same language, desire the same outcomes, and are mutually willing to invest in one another.
One example of building connection can be found from Whoop, a fitness tracker that offers rigorous physiological data to help drive behavior change, fitness improvements, and injury reduction. The company offers not only scientific data about your health, but also allows you to track performance on your specific activities, join affinity communities, and receive insights and coaching that are tailored for your needs and goals. The brand builds connection by investing in what you’re into. Name the sport or activity and you’ve got instantly relevant data, insights, and community at your fingertips.
Second, it’s about inviting co-creation, giving consumers a stake in decisions that matter. When Girlfriend Collective launched their innovative new athletic wear made from old water bottles and fishing nets, they invited consumers in by literally giving their product away for free to anyone who was willing to give them a shot. Yes, they got product feedback, but beyond that, they created connection, community, and helped early users feel like they played a part creating something good.
Third, technology (e.g.,QR codes), can help drive personal pathways. Armani Beauty is planning an innovative personalized retail experience in its newly opened global flagship store Armonia, in Shenzhen. “Armonia” means to bring forth and reflect harmony in Italian. To accomplish this, as shoppers enter, there is a water ritual in which shoppers speak a personal mantra/message out loud, which is then written in water; a fragranced stone ritual, to help reveal their emotions; and a light ritual, meant to unveil their energy. Shoppers are then prompted to scan a QR code that suggests a unique and tailored shopping pathway based on a harmony profile developed from the previous steps. Among other personalized experiences, there are:
Individual consultations at skincare stations
An Emotion Lab where shoppers can use calligraphy brushes and ink to draw their emotions on an interactive screen, which then shows what Armani Privé fragrances are in sync with their mood
A Light Lab experience, which involves a consultation under various types of lighting to attain a makeup look. People are given a photo of themselves in the look — which can be saved on WeChat — that shows how their makeup appears under different lights.
Meaningful personalization is indeed hard to achieve. But every day, we focus our work on helping brands connect with consumers through:
Connection and friendship: inviting consumers in, getting to know them intimately like real people, inspiring them, surprising them, reassuring them, being honest with them.
Co-creating and working together: prototyping together and giving consumers a real voice in decisions that affect the brands we love
Creating and using technology, especially QR codes recently: blurring the lines between physical and digital has allowed us and our client brands to build stories and customer experiences that recognize shoppers as the unique store on the retail stage
Now, we’re inviting you in, so that we can build personalized experiences together for all to enjoy.