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Personalising a brand

Customers are now more savvy and cynical than they’ve ever been before, so you’ve got to be thinking about how you can introduce the human touch to your branding.

A while back, the majorly disruptive travel website Airbnb did something interesting with its branding. It gave more control of its brand to its users, enabling them to change the colour and textures used in the logo, and so, encouraging customers to feel a sense of ownership over the brand.

The marketing community has fallen in love with the concept. Personalisation of a brand has only become possible due to the way the technology of the internet is allowing people to operate. It’s only natural that online operations will adopt this trend and include it in their branding strategy.

I’ve recently been working on the brand creation for BrightHR and one of the key things we wanted to implement was something which offers the user a chance to change an element of the logo, change the colours and upload their own images. We created a ‘Moodle Bar’; essentially a suite of fun doodle icons which our customers can select and change depending on their mood.

Ultimately we were seeking ways to make our brand more ‘loveable’; to make our customers feel as close to the brand as if it was their own and invite them to customise their own digital workspace. 

As a concept, personalisation in the delivery of content isn’t a new thing. It certainly drives an increase in conversions and stickiness. However, organisations that deliver personalised content still tend to be relatively protective of the brand.

The idea of allowing the user to personalise the brand centres on trying to encourage the customer to love the brand they’re interacting with because, in essence, they’ve had a hand in the some elements of that brand; they’ve tailored it to their taste in some capacity.

As a brand isn’t just a logo and a colour palette, it’s essential to make the ethos of personalisation of your branding part of everything you do. These are the new challenges marketers face - talking about branding in terms of culture and thinking about not only how the brand looks but how it feels, smells and sounds in the real world. The concept of a corporation’s brand will become much more fluid as we learn how to adapt it in real time based on the way people engage with it.

It’s scary to give away control to your customers and it’s counter-intuitive to what we’ve all been taught as marketers. However, whatever steps you take next, you need to start thinking about including increasing amounts of personalisation in your branding because this is one area of brand marketing that’s not going to go away.