As marketers, we talk a lot about making meaningful connections with customers. Two words that get thrown around a lot in those conversations are “personal” and “personalized,” and they’re both important concepts to understand for the development of exceptional customer experiences – read on to learn more about the differences and proper context for use.
How to tell the difference:
When specific data points are used to show you know someone, it’s PERSONALIZED. When the full experience context is taken into consideration and used to show you know someone, it’s PERSONAL.
To help illustrate the difference, let’s take a look at Jake. He’s a member of several Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) loyalty programs. Every year, he receives emails from each QSR on his birthday.
|Year-in-Review dashboard summary||Delivering meaning from the dashboard|
|Monthly Loyalty Program dashboard|
|Birthdate, program anniversary date||Acknowledge milestones via messaging, offers, gamification|
|Sign-up location||Real-time location|
|Top purchases||Next most likely purchase|
|Tailored for member||Tailored for household composition|
|Singular time-based messaging and offer||Real-time dynamic messaging and offer|
Personal experiences are absolutely more meaningful, but that doesn’t mean they are more obvious or overt. In fact, oftentimes, a personal experience can be the exclusion or suppression of a particular communication channel, message, or touchpoint based on data collected throughout the relationship via preference center or other means.
How Personal is “too” Personal?
Many marketers have come to associate being personal with the ideal customer experience, but there is a need to balance that with the underlying concern about being too “Big Brother” and scaring off customers. Establishing the right data acknowledgement parameters will help grow a brand’s customer relationships based on industry, brand, and the consumer context.
|Connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.||Committed to provide every citizen of the world with the best service of air travel to the most extensive selection of destinations possible.|
|Personable, relatable, fun||More formal, informational, standard|
Southwest Airlines is an empathetic brand at their very core, focusing on why people travel as a key part of their mission. Their values further add to their personality: being courageous, humility and having fun. This comes to life at every touch point from customer service to in-flight service. American Airlines, on the other hand, is a more formal and traditional brand with their mission and values.
In addition to the explicitly stated brand mission and values, we need to continuously monitor and review consumer perception.
Key questions to consider as you evaluate your brand context:
|Emotional Need||Functional Needs||Activities||Desired State|
|Surprise at the disruption|
Frustration at the immediate impacts to being stranded
Sense of urgency around getting back on the road
|To feel relief and a sense of accomplishment for solving his problems quickly and efficiently. |
|Identify closest location for repair|
Assistance with vehicle towing
Be prepared for out-of-pocket expenses
Fixed right the first time to avoid returning
|Online search to find repair shops|
Call tow service to have car taken to shop
Check bank accounts or card balances to prepare for expense
Reschedule conference call
Arrange for ride
|Get immediate assistance from a trusted provider to make repair for car to be operational long-term again|
Jake is in a very URGENT need state that makes him more receptive to personal experiences. Which one of these do you think he would most appreciate while he’s conducting online research for tow trucks/services near him?
Because of Jake’s heightened need state, the fact that he enabled geolocation services on the car repair shop app and his current relationship with the brand, he would be receptive and likely appreciative in receiving the SMS message that has leveraged personal context for his benefit.
As you continue to develop exceptional consumer experiences for your own brand, consider the role of context carefully and if we can help in any way, please reach out or connect with your client partnership lead.