Personalisation vs Inspiration – what do we want from brands?

I started writing this blog a few days ago and it just wasn’t working for me.  I’ve been sitting on in it and ruminating and today I think it’s come together…amazing what watching a video on Facebook can do to inspire you. Read on…

Personalisation is a buzz word that so many brands are talking about and embracing and it’s great that they are taking the time to understand us as individuals and are marketing to us in this way. But do we really want “personalisation”? .   I admit there’s nothing nicer when somebody in a shop recognises you and knows your taste and style and Kat and Oz at Damsel in Chiswick are my go to girls for my wardrobe staples but I still like to explore and discover what else is out there  – even if I do come back to my fave brands. And we all want tips and advice from our friends – there am I saying I don’t particularly like personalisation but an hour later I’m asking friends advice on where to stay for October half term.  I haven’t got the time to wade through holiday brochures so let’s cut to the chase and ask those who we trust.  And in a way that’s what brands are trying to do – look at Boots who are now offering a personal skin solution “dermo-analyser in their larger stores.  Or Amazon with their selection based on previous purchases – although it can be quite random! And that’s great if sometimes you don’t have the time or inclination to shop around.

However, thinking about it on a personal level, for me it’s inspiration that help defines who I am, how I feel, my taste and style. A pinch of this, a sprinkle of that, a handful of wow and boom this is me.  And that’s how I felt this morning when I watched this Pharrell Williams video who was rendered speechless by Maggie Rogers – it energised and empowered me.  I want to show my own personality and have the opportunity to stumble upon items which I fall in love with – this could be anything from a mug, to a lampshade to a pair of shoes.  However easy and tempting it is to buy a complete look from one place; I want to reflect me. I like to be that little bit different.

Brands do recognise this but how far do they go in accepting that somebody is not going to buy their product every time and embrace this? Maybe they can work closely with opposing brands within (if feeling brave) or even outside their sector but which have a shared synergy to really show how they understand their customer?

So whilst personalisation is giving you more targeted ideas don’t be afraid to set out on your own and see what inspires you.

P.S. I hope you like the image – a sculpture of Josephine Baker by Alexander Calder.  I went to his retrospective at the Tate Modern and it blew me away.  I left grinning from ear to ear and so uplifted and inspired.


What is content marketing?

According to the CMI the definition of content marketing is:

“…is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

I have to say I’m slightly confused myself.  I’ve been working in the industry for over 10 years with great content agencies like Seven and Redwood so this is the way I’ve always known…developing omni-channel content strategies for brands i.e. creating a story that works across every channel a brand uses to communicate with its audience whether it be an instore magazine, point of sale material, direct marketing, email, website and social.

Yet when I left the content agency world and started to see what else was out there, content seems to be something different.  From my perspective I find it has a narrower remit; content marketing feels like the preserve of social and has been borne out of PR and digital agencies.  This is by no means wrong as digital-first is the way to go but I feel it should have a more holistic approach.  The narrative needs to resonate with the customer at every touch point of their discovery and subsequent purchasing journey.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same message but nuanced and tweaked according to the channel as long as it is recognisably the brand and is telling the right story at the right time to its target audience.