Personalization matters. Here are 5 great examples

Executive Director
London

Personalization is a strategy, certainly one much talked about, to differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace. And with all industry sectors facing increasing competition amidst a landscape of disruption, it’s an approach that brands can’t choose to ignore. The challenge is to take such talk beyond just that, and to start implementing those strategies in ways that make sense to your customers and within your business model and ecosystem.

No longer an optional extra, businesses who are not adopting personalization are at risk of losing customer loyalty and revenue, in already challenging environments. Not only are people suffering from decision fatigue in the face of vast choices enabled by digital technology, but they are also longing for a more unique experience.

Features such as identity confirmation are as welcome as offering an ‘element of surprise’ — good personalization is undoubtedly one of the best ways to make a memorable impression on your customer. But in crafting these distinct and tailored experiences, we must not focus all our energies on mastering machine learning; the most meaningful and impactful solutions may be better served with a touch of manual curation that retains that all-important feeling of ‘human’ input.

Getting personalization right isn’t easy, as it requires huge amounts of resources and some bright minds to navigate the complexity of the challenge. Here are 5 examples of great personalization that we discussed at our Smart Salon on the future of customer experiences:

Woebot

For so long therapy has been undertaken in the conventional setting of a couch in a room. Traditional therapy can be both expensive and time-consuming; it can feel like quite a barrier to access for many.

Thanks to Woebot’s app, the digital talk therapist who ‘always wants hear from you’, this may no longer be the case. At $39 per month, Woebot — created by scientists at Stanford University — aims to become your personal therapist accessible 24/7 via its app. By asking questions such as “What is your energy like today?”, “How are you feeling?”, and “What’s going on in your world right now?” — the digital therapist will spot patterns derived from complex data analysis, and ultimately offer cognitive behavioral techniques based on a person’s mood or feelings.

Woebot may have arrived on the curve of disruption, and its creators have done well to give power to personalization, even in such a sensitive space as therapy. Woebot believes that “Humans are fundamentally dynamic and fluid, constantly changing”, which lies at the heart of true personalization. With therapy on the rise as both a confidence booster and critical mental health service, every patient can benefit from having an affordable therapist, which in turn will lead to the longevity of the app itself.

Photo by woebot.io

Vi

Who doesn’t want a personal, personal trainer? We’re not talking about the one who cancels appointments last minute, or the who puts on dodgy music during your last mile of the month. We’re talking about a truly personal trainer.

This is essentially what the LifeBEAM team has designed with its aerospace-grade, bio-sensing headphones. Vi tracks and measures a multitude of elements from your workouts, providing you with accurate real-time feedback — to ultimately coach you on your journey whether it be weight loss or to improve your running or cycling – and much more.

Vi learns from your very personal data and offers realistic goals and tips, while integrating seamlessly with various other apps, such as Google Fit, Apple HealthKit, Spotify Premium, and the music on your phone. The quality hardware, which is waterproof, retails at around $200 —a small consolation fee compared to gym membership.

With trends suggesting that people now want the flexibility and tailoring offered by services that are built into the product, it certainly offers a wider scope to personalize your regimen. And this type of personalized service is often a two-way street, meaning both supplier and consumer benefit from a truly personalized experience. Vi adapts and evolves with you over time, not only as your body improves in conditioning, but as the product team add on new artificial intelligence capabilities and features.

Photo by Vi - getvi.com

Atom Bank

Financial services have become anything but personal. It’s odd when you think about it because personal finance is actually – as the name suggests – a very personal affair. Less surprising, perhaps, is the fact that someone recognized this and decided to make banking distinctly personal in service.

UK-based Atom Bank are an app-based financial company who are stepping up to potentially disrupt the legacy bank sector with tactics that are clearly targeting the digital native demographic. In stark contrast to their stiff, inflexible competitors, Atom doesn’t even have a fixed logo for its brand. “We should be creating a unique identity for each of our customers,” Atom explains on its website. Each person can design how the interface looks, even branding it with a different name. For example, “Anna’s Bank” has a nice ring to it…

Giving power to the customer to create their product identity is a strong way of not only providing customers with a great experience, but make them feel part of your brand’s story. For the bank itself, it will no doubt help customer retention and create a real buzz for word-of-mouth marketing.

MINI’s new concept car

The automotive industry is one sector that is being rapidly disrupted. From driverless cars and trucks, to electric cars, and app controlled in-car preferences – change is happening fast.

MINI is one such automotive brand that looks to be getting serious about the future right now, with its MINI VISION NEXT 100 project. Paying homage to the MINI’s traditional design with the wheels positioned in the far corners or the car, the Cooperiser will allow you to customize your driving preferences, and even welcome you with a personalized greeting as you approach the car.

Essentially, MINI’s vision is a vehicle that has a big emphasis on smart design, which critically puts people (in this case drivers) at the heart of the experience, a crucial part of staying relevant in the ever-changing landscape of its industry. Drivers benefit by having a consistently enjoyable driving experience that adapts to their needs.

Photo by bmwblog.com

Gatorade Gx

Athletes at all levels strive for perfection, a state that is (in any field) difficult to achieve. However, getting anywhere close to optimal performance can be the difference between winning or losing, coming 2nd or 5th, or surviving in the tough world of combat sports or football.

After developing a systemized approach to test and analyze how each athlete sweats—how fast, how much and in what concentration – Gatorade recognized that they could use a more personalized approach to help athletes hydrate and optimize their training.

Collaborating with Smart Design, they designed and built an integrated platform across multiple touch points to deliver personalized sports fuel recommendations. The Gx platform changes the way sportspeople hydrate, a part of an athlete’s journey that cannot be underestimated.

According to the sweat profile of each athlete – how much sweat and sodium loss an athlete demonstrates during different training and performance conditions – Gx recommends a unique program of fueling and refueling to ensure each individual is continually operating at an ideal hydration level. The platform uses a variety of components to deliver the personalized program – including an app, connected Gatorade bottle, weigh station, and a range of hydration pods whose formulas can be personalized by flavor, sodium and carbohydrate levels.

Gx takes personalization and customization to the next level by offering athletes — even at the top level — a chance to pinpoint an important part of their training and performance. By determining a unique and scientifically driven refueling strategy, Gatorade are helping athletes build confidence in their overall approach to optimal performance and nutrition.

Not only does the Gx program massively impact athletes, but as Gatorade plays an increasingly important role to the success of athletes, so too does its customer retention. And there’s no better marketing tool than that.

Summary

The world is moving rapidly, and so too are technological developments in all sectors. In turn, customer expectations are increasing exponentially and the customer of now does not only want a good product or service — they want a solution that suits them, understands them, adapts to them, and ultimately puts them at the heart of it.

Furthermore, everyone can benefit from personalization. When things get personal they become a part of our lives and are therefore harder to give up – a behavior that will benefit any company or brand that takes loyalty seriously. In reality, our outdated one-product-fits-all model only worked because low-level technology determined it so. The sheer variety of sectors referenced above proves that the status quo has changed: it’s time to get personal.