Premium POV

The Premium Nature of Personalization

Once upon a time, few things signified a premium touch like monograms. Whether on the cuff or pocket of a dress shirt, on the front of a briefcase or luggage, or even on a set of bath towels, the personalized monogram signaled a touch of class and premium elegance.

Today, the formal monogram has taken somewhat of a back seat to more relaxed fashion trends, as well as a preference for designer logo marks (think Lauren’s polo pony insignia as an example) in place of your initials set in Old English. Personalized marks as a sign of status have waned somewhat.

Or have they?

In a recent Adweek article, author Kristina Monllos writes of the new trend in consumer personalization driven by some of the biggest brands in the business. Her research led her to the revelation from an industry insider that consumers – especially millennials – are crazy about customized, personalized brand experiences. And that translates into packaging that speaks directly – personally – to each of us on a personalized basis.

That explains the overwhelming popularity of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign that replaced the Coke logo with one of 1,000 popular names.  So, instead of reaching for an icy cold Coke, I was instead reaching for a delicious, refreshing “Steve.”  How premium of a personalized experience is that?  One of the most – if not THE most – recognizable brands in the universe put my name on its package!  Rarely have I felt so special!

And special it was. Coke racked up a 2.5% gain in sales thanks to the campaign, along with over 1 billion impressions in social media.  Impressive to say the least. But perfectly understandable to another industry insider, who chalks it up to younger generations embracing individuality, noting “it makes people feel like the brand is more about them than the about the brand itself.”

So if you’re in charge of a brand’s marketing, look for creative ways to personalize the brand in a way that makes an individual connection with your customers.  It needn’t be including their name on the product or in a communication. It could mean leveraging another property or category that your audience holds dear – for example, sports, musical or art acknowledgements can often trigger a direct, emotional link for many.  Again, it’s all about showcasing a customer’s individuality in a way that makes them think positively about your brand.

In the meantime, can an everyday brand like Coke ever deliver more of a premium, personalized experience directly to a consumer than they just have?  Possibly.  But it might require them to individually monogram those cans and bottles next time.

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