Personalising products differentiates brands and deepens their relationships with consumers, attracting new ones and driving loyalty. Yet today, personalisation typically comes down to choosing from a standard set of products. Technology and process limitations have stood in the way of true personalisation, where brands tailor products to a person’s unique biology, condition or preferences. But we’re now at a tipping point where we can deliver the diagnostic, technical and manufacturing solutions that underpin personalisation. In our experience, there are five enablers of truly personalised products:
While bringing all these enables together is possible, it still isn’t easy to create and launch a truly personalised product. In our work with global consumer and healthcare brands, we’ve learned there are five areas you need to focus on to be successful.
1. Challenge your business model
The technical enablers of personalisation all open the door to new and more rewarding business models. So, consider a different approach, like D2C, subscriptions, returnable and reusable packaging or novel sales channels. All these offer ways to differentiate yourself in the market and create the opportunity to scale and learn quickly.
It’s unlikely you’ll have deep expertise across all the enablers of personalisation. So, look to partner with others who do cover the necessary specialisms. For example, if you can manufacture a truly personalised moisturiser but don’t know how to identify a person’s unique needs, partner with a company that has expertise in diagnostics. By bringing together organisations with different competencies, you can take a product to market faster.
Start-ups are quick to adapt: their funding and continued existence depends on it. Large corporations, on the other hand, don’t have the same pressure to develop products quickly. By creating an internal start-up and adopting a mindset that embraces risk-taking, innovation and rapid development, big brands can bring a pilot to market quickly, test it with consumers in the real world and iterate for continued success (without jeopardising the core business).
Technology is continuously evolving, so marrying a personalised product to a single technology platform risks it becoming obsolete as new features and benefits emerge and consumers switch platforms. Being technology agnostic also allows for partnerships across brands and platforms, introducing more opportunities for innovation and rapid evolution.
Understanding how consumers are finding and using your product is crucial to continuously improving your personalised offering and building consumer loyalty. And using consumer technology, learning algorithms and analytics to understand consumer behaviour across the end-to-end experience will highlight opportunities for improvement and growth, letting you make evidence-based decisions.
As more brands pursue personalisation across industries, consumers’ expectations of what good looks like will change. For big brands to stay relevant in this changing world, they must challenge their business models, build new partnerships, behave like a start-up, be technology agnostic and look at consumers’ end-to-end journeys. By focusing on these five secrets, they’ll be able to deliver radical new growth through truly personalised products.