What Happened: During a campaign this past spring, Bombay Sapphire created an experience in which consumers were able to make their own custom tonics – via an app. The initial trial was located in a few upscale cocktail bars in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas. Each person completed a questionnaire about their preferences, moved on to a testing station, where they sampled a variety of flavors, and had their custom-made tonic delivered to their doorstep 21 days later. While this customization was available only during these events, Bombay plans to make the app available for public download soon, allowing anyone to make their own bespoke tonic (though the tasting experience will of course change). This is the most recent example of the trend towards customization of products and services across a variety of industries. As this trend continues, consumers’ perception of customization will shift from excitement to expectation.
What This Means for Brands: Phrases like “What does this mean for me?” and “What have you done for me lately?” have one thing in common: me. Consumers seek brands that will adapt to fit consumers’ personal desires, lifestyles, etc. As technology has increased, however, consumers are shifting from seeing customization as a nice-to-have to a need-to-have. Where customization used to be a point-of-differentiation for some brands (Burger King’s “Have it Your Way” for example), it may soon become simply another box to check. Though finding new and unique ways to customize your product and/or service will continue to catch consumers’ attention, finding these ways will continue to be harder.