Is Personalisation A Global Phenomenon?
Personalisation: Personalisation also exists in online worlds, and in the ways companies interact with us
Everyone wants to feel like an individual, and the ways and means to create this are limitless. Think personalised numberplates, customised clothes or handmade, bespoke gifts: we all like to find the most fitting present, whilst trying to be different ourselves. Personalisation also exists in online worlds, and in the ways companies interact with us. The question is, how far does the concept extend? And how exactly does it work?
What is personalisation?
Personalisation is a notion which reaches all aspects of our life. While we can personalise our belongings to express our individuality, companies we engage with also want to personalise content for us – their consumers. Our interactions between the businesses we choose to engage with are now almost always marked with first-name terms and tailor-made offers; many companies know crucial information about us, whether that’s our birthdays, where we live, our marital status, income, and even the composition of our household.
What’s more, the concept of personalisation is not limited to the USA or Europe – it has become a global phenomenon, existing in every corner of the world. Yet, in an era where we are taught to be more and more cautious about data protection, personalisation needs to strike a balance between being relevant – without being intrusive.
Where does personalisation come from?
Personalisation is something of a cultural phenomenon, strongly linked to how we create our own identities. Since the advent of social media, we have relished the opportunity to present a highly curated version of ourselves to the world; similarly, smartphones and tablets allow us to create an individualised set of apps highly personal to ourselves. Both of these interfaces indicate ways in which personalisation has become a fundamental part of the way we experience life – and frames our expectations surrounding individualisation, too! How many times have you seen an irrelevant advert pop up – maybe on social media, or otherwise – and questioned why you were seeing it? We now expect that our experiences are tailor-made. Generic is so last century.
Personalisation and self-expression
This extends to our sense of self, too. Personalised belongings, custom water bottles or bags, even personalised stationary or pencils are all easy ways to make our personal possessions feel individual as the world moves away from mass culture towards self-expression and individuality. Many large companies want to feel more personal; remember Starbucks’ initiative to write their customers’ names on their cups?
The potential problem with personalisation comes when consumers feel companies know a little too much about them. We all know how marketing campaigns use personal data to ensure products are tailored and pertinent. Of course, this is more likely to create a sale and allows adverts to be placed effectively, with less waste. It does mean that advertisers need consumer information more than ever, as the value of personal data in marketing is now undisputed. Yet, while almost half of consumers agree that personalisation is important, many younger consumers admitted they were reluctant to create a profile on a company website. They know full well it would lead to unwanted messages – as well as their personal data in the hands of more companies.
Getting the balance right
Nobody likes to feel that companies know too much about them, or worse still, that their personal information is being sold to other parties. However, when it is carried out correctly, personalisation offers huge plusses to both sides. The very best marketing campaigns unite people’s desire for personalisation and shared experiences. Think of supermarkets who track their customer’s purchases, to send them relevant offers based on what they usually buy, or discount code emailed out to customer’s around their birthday: these examples of personalisation make the customer feel good, as well as making their lives easier!
Giving out personalised gifts is an effective way companies can form meaningful links with their customers, too. Custom pencils, for example, are an inexpensive but completely practical business gift. You can get them made on this site.
We all want to feel special and unique, and personalisation is a concept which is definitely here to stay. The opportunities to personalise our lives are liberating, so let’s embrace the endless possibilities this truly global phenomenon creates!