Personalisation: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Truth

The idea of tailoring an entire brand to its audiences at an individual level. It’s what brands aim for, what consumers expect, and what will move the industry forward.

Tiff. Sonar Group
July 17, 2019

After all, the numbers don’t lie.

91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who provide relevant offers and recommendations.
81% of consumers want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them and when not to

But brands will do well to mind that personalisation is a double-edged sword. Just because we can do it, does it mean we should?


The Good

Consumers are well-informed (if not, cynical) about the type of data we, marketers, have available to us. This sets an expectation for brands to be relevant to those we reach. Platforms understand this set of expectation, which is why our assets on the Googles and Facebooks of the world would often see penalisation if relevance isn’t clear.

In retail, the expectation is real with 57% of consumers willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised offers/discounts.

Brands wouldn’t want to create wastage in their efforts and marketing budgets by reaching the wrong people either. That’s a win-win for personalisation!


The Bad

And yet, layered on the expectation of brands reaching the right people with the right message, a report by customer experience platform InMoment showed 70% of Australian consumers find personalised marketing “creepy”.

This often comes with a red ‘danger’ tape when brands don’t clearly state information is being collected. Let’s not forget that GDPR is still in the spotlight, and has created a sharp precedent of consumer cynicism towards brands’ data privacy management.


The Ugly Truth

The truth is that personalisation is a necessary evil.

In today’s landscape, consumers build their identity via their selection of brands. As such, brands (and especially retail) are part of a selected lifestyle – and consumers demand recognition. After all, it’s a two-way communication these days between brands and consumers.  Brand resonance, top-of-mind, advocacy, and loyalty are all at risk if brands fail to be relevant.


What We Think at Sonar Group

Just as much as personalisation is about communication – it’s about listening to the consumer. Not unlike a human relationship, the distrust between a brand and its consumers can be overcome with time and loyalty from both sides. This means having a clear value exchange, to remain relevant and build that relationship.

Just because we have the data, doesn’t mean we should boast about it back to our audience. It’s like going on a first date and showcasing all the information you’ve gathered from a pre-date research. Be sensitive, but more importantly, stay true to your brand value.

As much as personalisation is about the individual consumers, it also needs to be strategic. Having guidance from senior levels helps maintain its vision, and builds cohesion across the business. It isn’t about doing it for the sake of doing it – it’s a brand’s commitment to sustain itself and its consumers – it can define a business as much as the products/services it provides.

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