3 Brands Taking Personalization To The Next Level

Since unique is the new cool for this generation, they’re demanding products and services that are made for just them… 

When first discussing hyper-personalization in 2015, we cited the trend forecast “Mass Individualism” from branding firm Landor Associates, which attributed the rise in personalization to technology: “Because digital has made everything personal, consumers expect that in their brand interactions. [Consumers think] ‘I’m not like anybody else, so why should I use the same products as they do?’” At that time, the fast food industry became one of the first to fully embrace customization—or “Chipotle-fication”—encouraged by young consumers’ tastes for tailored experiences and products.

Since then, hyper-personalization has spread across industries and become a marker for innovation: our recent Loyal-ish trend found that 91% of 13-34-year-olds find brands somewhat to extremely innovative if they offer personalized products. Young consumers are also willing to forgo certain privacies to work with brands on personalization. More than three in ten 13-33-year-olds agree that it’s smart for brands to use consumer data for more personalized experiences, and another 23% say that it’s necessary for brands today. 

To keep you up to speed on where personalization is headed, here are three recent examples of brands taking the trend to a new level:

Adidas: Individualized Fit Fashion  

Adidas’s latest innovation, the 3D Runner, aims to set athletes up for their “best running experience” using new technology in custom footwear. For a limited time in New York, Tokyo, and London stores, consumers can stop in to run on a treadmill that measures their stride for a 3D-printed midsole customized to their feet. The pair of “comfortable, flexible, and durable” sneakers are built with…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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