Why Consumer Brands Are Increasingly Personal

Mark Di SommaJanuary 5, 20152 min

This is the year of wearables it seems. Morgan Stanley are predicting shipments will top 70 million this year and grow to 248 million by 2017. But the thought that wearables themselves will feature in consumer and business spending across areas ranging from fashion and fitness, healthcare and insurance also points to escalation of another trend.

Products and services are now less about what consumers have or get and more about who they are and want to be.

Brands have always sought to be aspirational of course. The very nature of the “value equation” is that the receiver gets more of what they want than they had before. But whereas, historically, those aspirations have been pitched to the consumer by the manufacturer and the promises themselves have tended to be esoteric, today, through technologies such as wearables, consumers are increasingly looking for performance benefits that are personal and specifically measurable to critical issues for them like wellbeing, sleep and weight.

As this early article points out, the genius of the quantified self movement was to marry two fascinating ideas – technology and the search for self-improvement – to deliver a new concept of mindfulness. But for brands really it’s the consumer take-away that’s important. People want every moment of their lives to count for something. And brands should be taking their cues from this wish if they want to retain relevance and value. In many cases that will mean finding new and involving ways to link what they offer with what people most want to check. Now for the hard part – on a moment by moment basis.

Perhaps the thrill is less in the having and more in the chase – meaning brands will need to introduce new “journeys” for their buyers in order to give people a beguiling sense of personal progress and momentum. Fitbit has been such a success of course because it has introduced just such a journey to more healthy living. And in so doing, it has not only gamified living, it has connected that pursuit to mobile technologies, making them even more accessible and addictive. You can see where you are in your quest, anytime.

Inspiration for such journeys could well stem from the things that people continue to worry about: the amount of sugar in their food; the state of their living environment; the money they spend on energy; the breaking of old habits and the adoption of new ones; the wish to be safe; the hunt for happiness and success; the search for companionship; the goal to be more productive and better organized across a day …

Two questions. How will your brand associate itself in a compelling way with a personalized journey for its customers? And what technologies will you work with/put in place/partner with to make the monitoring of that journey fun, (shareable), instantaneous and believable?

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