Brand communication going personal

To understand the benefits personalised communications bring to brands, you first need to define personalisation

Not only are there are several ways to personalise brand communication, there are several ways of understanding personalised communications – and all of them come with benefits for the brand.

First, what do we mean by personalisation? To be absolutely clear I looked the word up in the dictionary. Macmillan offers two meanings:

1. To make an argument, issue, or subject deal mainly with individual people and their characters rather than with general facts;

2. To make or change something so that it is especially suitable for a particular person.

Everything in communication would fall under the first category while customer relationship management and its long tail of data mining would clearly fall into the second category.

Loyal, empowered customers

It is widely accepted that no company should talk at a chosen group of and expect its messages to be well received. Social media, open speech and consumer ratings have brought a reality check. The challenge today mainly lies with developing efficient customer relationship management.

The reason: personalisation is about developing brand loyalty, which is achieved by delivering better service to your customers because you know what they want and expect. Personalised communication allows brands to be precise with customers, to whom tailored choices can be offered.

Personalisation is also a way of empowering customers, by handing over your brand to them. Coke and its personalised labels is a great example of this approach.

This is why personalisation is not just an evolving trend but a basic marketing standard. As consumers and customers, we expect to be recognised for who we are and, I would venture, we like the feeling to be reciprocal.

And that’s why we need more personification in communications.

Personification of the brand in return

It is fair to say that as personalised communication developed, so did personification.

With companies knowing more and more about their customers as individuals, it has been equally important to reveal more of the people behind the brand.

People working for companies, large and small, now routinely appear in advertisement campaigns, whether B2B or B2C. Why? Because it feels more real, as if you are interacting with a person. It is also a brilliant way to show off your people’s expertise which is – obviously – important to customers.

This is what we chose to do at Syngenta France for our latest communication campaign (link in French). We wanted to introduce ourselves to the local community where we opened a new plant. We also wanted to bring communicate that the company is the sum of its peoples’ knowledge and savoir-faire with an objective to debunk a few preconceptions about the business we are in. That was a very successful campaign.

Personalising and personifying communication are really about establishing trust which is as complex and intricate as a human relationship. And it makes marketing communications all the more interesting.

The four steps to personalised brand communications are:

  • Developing brand loyalty
  • Delivering better service and product
  • Empowering customers
  • Personifying the brand in return

For more insights from Glaïeul, see her LinkedIn page.

Image: Thinkstock