December 18, 2020  |  Expertise

Product Personalization & Customization: The Key to a Millennial Consumer’s Heart

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In today’s world of marketing, we have seen a momentous shift in consumer expectation – especially with consumers born between 1982 and 2000. Or as they are more commonly known, the Millennial Consumers.

There are currently more than 80 million Millennials in the United States, and they spend about $600 billion each year. Their buying power is only expected to rise. Brands that do not stay attuned to the wants and needs of this important consumer segment will find themselves stagnant, or even extinct.

Why? Because as Millennials continue to pay off student loans and grow in their careers, their spending habits are projected to grow to the trillions in the upcoming years (Lexington Law, 2020).

Not only is this generation fast becoming one of the nation’s most valuable shopping cohorts, they are also incredibly influential. Luxury brands are quickly learning that this powerful target is key to growing brand popularity, increasing online buzz and driving trends (Ideabar, 2019). These consumers are also largely responsible for this important shift in experiential prioritization over material things.

So the question is: What are the ways in which a CPG brand can both sell their quality products and provide these influential consumers with an experience?

The answer: product personalization and customization.

The days of boilerplate branding are definitively over. Dead and gone is the “one-size-fits-all” system. And Millennials are dancing on its grave. The brands that matter and resonate with these targets are the ones that sell products that feel as though they are authentically made and designed for each individual consumer. The more personalization you are able to provide, the greater the experience – and thus the more alignment and loyalty a Millennial consumer will have to your brand.

Need inspiration? Check out some of the ways CPG brands have stepped up to this powerful new wave of product personalization:

Levi’s

  • Last year, this denim pioneer launched a customization initiative which allowed consumers to design their own tailor-made pair of jeans. Everything from pattern, to fit, to denim wash, resulting in more than 1,000 possible design combinations (Forbes, 2019).

 Nike

  • This powerhouse brand gave consumers the option to design their own shoes and experience what it’s like to be their own stylist and designer. This unique experience felt authentic to Nike’s brand promise of inspiration and innovation (Emotive Brand, 2018).

Care/Of

  • Founded in 2016, this vitamin and supplement subscription box company quickly capitalized on the growing consumer demand for personalization by creating its entire brand around this concept.
  • Customers are asked to answer a series of online questions about their lifestyle and overall objectives, leading to a personalized recommendation of daily vitamins and supplements.
  • Customers are also able to change the quantity or type of vitamins and supplements they get, further empowering them through customization (Shopify, 2018).

Another brilliant way of providing customization and personalization to consumers is through the product packaging itself. Companies are actively pursuing ways to deliver creative and custom-made packaging that speaks directly to their consumers. In fact, research shows that the personal packaging market is projected to reach $38.1 billion by the year 2025 (Thomas Insights, 2019).

Below are two examples of how personalized packaging can have an unforgettable multinational impact and build unshakeable brand loyalty.

Coca-Cola

  • In an effort to reclaim the Millennial segment, which was increasingly leaving the iconic brand behind in favor of healthier drink options, Coca-Cola launched their “Share a Coke” campaign, which turned out to be one of the most memorable examples of unique package personalization.
  • Launched in 32 countries, this customized packaging campaign involved substituting the Coca-Cola logo on all bottles with thousands of popular country-specific names and nicknames. According to Thomas Insights (2019), this led to a 19% increase in sales for their 20-ounce bottles in just the first year, marking the largest annual jump the company had seen for that product.
  • As cited by Forbes (2019), Coca-Cola’s packaging personalization initiative was a success for three reasons. It provided consumers with an unforgettable experience (the excitement of finding a bottle with their name on it), built meaningful connections (by encouraging consumers to share a bottle with its namesake) and incited collective participation (in the social media frenzy that ensued).
  • In other words, the campaign was a “wild success because Coca-Cola made its product a secondary vehicle for sharing a moment” (Forbes, 2019).

Harry’s Razors

  • This small but mighty German grooming subscription company sends its customers handcrafted razors nestled in striking packaging that looks like old-fashioned wood boxes. Emotive Brand (2018) states that their packaging is “not only easy and convenient, but feel[s] handmade. They feel indulgent in a way that says, ‘just for you.’”

More and more, we’re seeing that it’s simply not enough for a CPG brand to solely hang its hat on the quality of its products. While product quality and brand equity are essential, it is vital that companies evolve with the needs and wants of the Millennial consumer.

Millennials are seeking personalized products that connect directly with their lifestyles, aesthetics, attitudes and beliefs. As cited by Emotive Brand (2018), consumers “crave connections, and brands that establish relationships and produce emotionally meaningful connections with their audiences stand out – and win.”

Here at Ideabar, we have learned firsthand how important this consumer segment is to our clients and have been able to successfully target them through robust, custom qualitative and quantitative research capabilities. The resulting research provides our clients with invaluable insights around the personalization needs of different Millennial target consumers.

For more information on Ideabar research and branding services, please contact Dana Wardeh at (561) 820 – 4280 or Dana.Wardeh@coxinc.com.