When developing brand values, it’s important to consider how you’ll differentiate yourself; how your business will stick in the mind of consumers to become something bigger than a brand. As consumers, we internally create personal ties to brands which may be important to us. These brands may have been integral to our childhoods, we may have a fierce loyalty to them, or they may create curated experiences we can’t get anywhere else.
No matter the reason, brands that can successfully foster the value of Individuality can see incredible wins, developing a unique sense of ownership in their customers and, consequently, a deeply rooted customer base consisting of staunch brand advocates. Making consumers feel unique, original, or distinct because of your brand’s ability to create personal touches can be an incredibly powerful tool.
Of course, in the heart of the digital age, tactics for creating a sense of Individuality for their consumers is limited nearly only by the imagination. From physical retail experiences that provide robust suites of options to customized digital feeds and everything in between, there’s room for your brand to build up Individuality.
There are those who do it well in retail. Brands like Aldi and Trader Joe’s harbor unique experiences and products that allow each customer to self-tailor their experience and consumer point of view. Aldi is unique before you even walk in the door – your first thought was surely that of their quarter-operated shopping carts, a unique experience that gives the brand power and “stickability.”
If you’ve ever driven through one of their parking lots, you know firsthand how incredibly popular Trader Joe’s can be among consumers. Their shelves are constantly stocked with unique, seasonal items. Trader Joe’s empowers their customers to be original by delivering (and constantly adding) new hidden gems while allowing for discoverability in their store to develop a sense of ownership.
Consider physical products as well. Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign defines Individuality to a T. Already a brand deeply rooted in nostalgia and the American psyche, Coke found even more success by adding thousands of names, phrases, lyrics and more to their bottles and cans, spurring consumers to flock to stores in search of the perfect Coke for themselves or their loved ones.
Digital experiences get to the heart of Individuality easier than most. As we enter the new year, Spotify Wrapped remains fresh in the mind. The streaming service certainly knows how to hyper-focus on Individuality. From Wrapped to Made for You and Daily Mix playlists, the music giant does it best, developing personalized content in shareable, snackable formats.
However, successfully building a sense of individuality can require wielding a double-edged sword. Creating a suite of products, services, or experiences which consumers can tailor to their individual preferences is a sensible, dependable way of building a distinct feel to your brand. But being able to serve up personalized recommendations sometimes pushes the necessity of relying on tracking that treads a gray area. The conversation is constantly developing as consumer-tracking software develops in tandem. In recent years, smart home devices have come under fire for using active listening to tailor product feeds and social advertising, prompting a new round of privacy conversations among consumers.
Though daily advances in consumer technology may complicate the conversation, when done right, Individuality can be an incredibly powerful Value for your brand.