Who remembers Mr. Potato Head? The happiness of creating your own potato character and changing it over and over again, depending on your mood or game. If you remember that, you are probably a member of Generation X. The satisfaction derived from customizing your own Mr. Potato Head and feeling like it was uniquely yours was probably the first example of brand personalization. We live in a world where people want to feel a sense of belonging — and brands to be unique for them, shirts to speak their mind, and companies to embody what they believe in.The rise of the digitally native Millennials and Generation Z and the globalization of social media has forced brands to relate to consumers by incorporating the use of personalization to their core values. Replicate a modern version of the experience kids had with Mr. Potato, who might’ve been the first example of personalization. Here are recent examples of brands using personalization:
· In their “Share a Coke” marketing campaign, which began in 2011 in Australia, Coca-Cola replaced their logo from one side of a bottle with the phrase: “Share a Coke with” followed by a person’s name. This created a huge sense of identity from consumers with the Coca-Cola brand. So much so, that the Wall Street Journal reported that the marketing campaign helped bring in the highest number of sales in over a decade for Coca-Cola. The principle of this campaign is to get clients to identify with the brand.
· One of the first brands to embrace custom personalization was Nike. They have created a lot of initiatives recently that allow customers to customize their own sneakers and t-shirts. One of those initiatives, NikeiD, allowed customers to create unique color ways and add personalized text to their favorite Nike sneaker. Once done, the consumer has the customized shoe in their hands in a matter of weeks. This is Nike, not only embracing customization, but also trying to get the product in the customers hands as soon as possible. Nike customers can also visit their retail stores, choose from a plethora of graphics unique to that location, and press it on a t-shirt. It is all part of an effort on the part of Nike to connect with its users through custom personalization.
Furthermore, Muuaaa believes that the future of branding is personalization. Rigid identities are getting old. People change, people travel, and people evolve — so brands should too. For Muuaaa Design Studio, the future of brands should be flexible. Muuaaa is betting on creating a system that allows you to regenerate. This way, brands aren’t rigid and allow space for change, personalization, and transformation. Here are some examples we have used in the recent past that embody personalization:
· Muuaaa created the live installation “What type of Toyota are you?” for Toyota, where people would interact with 3 different games Muuaaa created. At the end, a propriety algorithm would tell people which Toyota best mirrors their identity. This type of personalization encourages social sharing, makes the car buying decision easier for potential customers, and creates a sense of ownership over the model they choose.
4. Soft Branding System
· Muuaaa created the “Soft Identity Makers” installation for the 2018 London Design Biennale. Visitors created their own, bespoke national identities by selecting the five items that they feel best represent their personality from a range of 45 images, which take into consideration their interests, tastes, social causes, and background. These are then algorithmically processed to generate a unique graphic marker. The markers generated are abstract and colorful images that mix together the selected symbols. More than half a million unique identities were generated by the system. These identities (graphic markers) were then printed on a t-shirt. This level of personalization, Muuaaa believes, is the future of branding.
The future of brand personalization is in offering customers an opportunity to put an input that creates a unique outcome (product). To accomplish this, and keep up with an increasingly fast environment, brands need to implement technology to the personalization process and do it within the parameters of their brand values. Imagine if customers are able in the near future to go to their nearest convenience store, input their name or tastes, and the vending machine hands them their own unique bottle. It conveys the consumer with a feeling of uniqueness, a feeling of individuality within a collective. This opens up a new era for branding, on how brands want to engage with their consumers. The amount of possibilities for brands could be millions. Through personalization and the maximization of technology brands will become future proof.