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Past, Present, and Future: Adding Rocket Fuel to Product Personalization


In a retail environment that’s both increasingly digital and awash in product choices, forging an emotional bond with consumers is the moat that protects your brand’s position. Product personalization is a core element of that protective moat. But to fully exploit the power of personalization in 2021, you need to leverage these three trends.

1. Promote the past.

Consumers may enjoy the new thing, but they *love* the past. Brands with a rich heritage should connect their customers with that heritage, so that they’re not just buying a product – they’re buying into a tradition.

Asics does a good job of this with their Onitsuka footwear collection. The company’s “Tiger Tales” page tells the story of the company’s founding and showcases some of its earliest shoes. The colors and designs of the shoes in this collection hark back to the original models and the original colorways, giving the consumer a connection to that long history.


Asics History Screenshot


Now, Asics doesn’t have a personalization program, but imagine giving consumers a chance to adapt and customize those heritage products with unique colors, personal patches, embroidery, etc – it would turbocharge sales.

Rolex is another company that connects consumers to the company’s long heritage but also provides personalization features.


Rolex History Screenshot


Shoppers can read about the company’s past, technological breakthroughs in design and construction, and the legion of famous people who have worn its watches. After learning about its rich history, customers can configure their watch and join that illustrious group.

2. Embrace the present.

Consumers – especially millennials – expect transparency from the companies producing their products. In part, that’s because they want to know that their values align with the brand’s. But they also want to make a personal connection to the people involved in making those products.

Son of a Tailor, a manufacturer of custom-fitted clothing, does an extraordinary job of creating this connection. The company’s website teaches customers not only how the clothing is made, but also introduces the skilled craftspeople who actually make it.


Son of a tailer screenshot


Further, the “digital hangtag” on the website enables customers to find out more about the particular person who made their specific garment.

COMUNITYmade Shoes takes a similar approach. A YouTube video tells the story of the company, the factory, and the skilled shoemakers in Los Angeles who make the shoes.


Comunitymade screenshot


The personal stories of the workers who are revitalizing shoemaking in the United States are part of the value proposition woven into the personalized products that customers can design.

3. Design the future.

What’s more exciting than personalizing your own product today? Designing products for everyone else tomorrow! Your product personalization program is an outstanding laboratory for future styles. Whether you give shoppers totally free reign to design their product, or you provide them with a more limited palette of design options and colors, you can use their creative inspiration to help you identify styles and colors for future seasons. For your customers, that’s perhaps the highest level of engagement and reward. Not only do they get the satisfaction of creating something new for themselves, they get the pride and bragging rights that come with shaping the product choices that everyone else will have later.

Elevating consumer engagement with your brand is critical to your success. That’s why a product personalization program is a good first step. But it’s only a first step. Using that program to connect your customers to your company’s past, present, and future adds rocket fuel that will drive your business to new heights.

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