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« Visual Merchandising: The Silent Salesperson | Main | Top Retail Trends of Interest 2016 »
Tuesday
Jan032017

The Set List: Be You

Photo by Chloe Muir

Editor’s note: this blog is the eighth in a series discussing trends and insights into the world around us.

“People are looking to creating a unique identity; they want to put together their own story rather than have someone else tell them.”—Allen Adamson

With increasing numbers of demanding and sophisticated consumers, people are looking for more when it comes to offerings from brands. Consumers are often searching for brands that offer that personalised touch, allowing them to express their individuality and in essence ‘be themselves.’ This then becomes an issue for larger, more established names, as the individual challenges brand loyalty and no longer wants to be a ‘walking billboard’ for a retailer. Instead, they seek items that reflect themselves as individuals and aim to disprove the theory that ‘one size fits all.’

According to statistics, more than 70 percent of U.K. consumers and 79 percent of U.S. consumers expect personalised experiences from the brands they shop with. Taking heed from this, we’ve recently seen a continuous influx of brands from around the globe seeking to achieve this personalised ideal. This could be allowing customers to be involved in both mass customisation scales such as the likes of NIKEiD, or on a smaller scale such as sellers on Etsy offering personalisation within their products.

What’s more, with 70 percent of 18-24 year olds in the U.K. stating that brands that fail to personalise their marketing will lose them as customers, brands are stepping up their marketing presence and making tangible moves to regain consumer loyalty. With Etsy’s recent global marketing campaign, #differencemakesus, the brand aimed to express the personal qualities of its customers and drive awareness that Etsy is a company that embraces uniqueness. Etsy chose to represent its ethos of individuality through coffee cups and night stands, two items that everyone owns and items that are true representatives of the consumer’s personality.

Its recent video content is also a great example of Etsy’s brand ethos of ‘being you.’ By creating a campaign that is ‘real’ and easy for the customer to interpret and relate to, Etsy has successfully made a global large scale campaign feel personal to the individual, allowing them to agree with the importance of ‘being you’ and that difference really does make us.

Another brand working to deliver a truly personal customised experience is Panasonic. Embracing the use of digital and face mapping technology, Panasonic has created a smart future mirror, showcased at CEATEC in Japan, which analyses the face before 3D printing cosmetics personalised to the individual.

Determined to change and rethink the world of beauty and cosmetics, the mirror will be able to establish exact user requirements in terms of their complexion before custom-printing skincare and beauty products that perfectly match the user’s skin tone. This allows the consumer to create an item unique to them and that responds to their needs, embracing and complementing individual beauty.

Image courtesy of http://www.stylus.com/spgfnm

Along with large global brands, start-ups and SMEs are following suit and responding to the need for personalised user experience. San Francisco start-up Multiply Labs, along with technology developed at the University of Milan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has created customised 3D printed vitamins bespoke to the individual user.

Multiply Labs allows the individual to create their own pill with only the required supplements, with various vitamins being released at different times throughout the day to suit the individual. The brand offers flexible options, allowing the customer to change the quantity of pills frequently. This offers a product that’s personal to individual needs and reflective of their lifestyle.

In an attempt to win back customer loyalty and trust, brands need to do more to ensure that user experience is personal and allows them to feel good about celebrating individuality. Whether online marketplaces, fashion retailers, technology manufacturers or lifestyle brands, brands that are ahead of the pack are finding innovative ways to respond to these demands.

People want to embrace their individuality and personality, with the backing of brands, in a world that sometimes tells us otherwise. In a landscape where we’re constantly told to look and behave a certain way, be a particular body shape or have the perfect complexion, it’s refreshing to see brands, both globally and on a smaller scale, express the importance of individuality and allow the user to embrace this—and, in essence, be themselves.

Chloe Muir is an interior designer in Gensler’s London office, focused on all aspects of retail design and the design process. Chloe is passionate about trend forecasting within retail. She applies this knowledge to deliver and inform aspirational and insightful design and create engaging, inspiring spaces. Contact her at Chloe_Muir@gensler.com.