How manufacturers are personalizing and customizing their products

Dive Brief:

  • Personalization and customization of food and beverage products have become popular strategies among manufacturers, but producers need to understand how this impacts their products before embarking on their own efforts, Gil Horsky, innovation platform lead of global chocolate at Mondelez, wrote in FoodBev Media.
  • Personalization is automatically adaptive; methods like e-commerce shopping cart recommendations tailor products to a consumer's behaviors, needs or desires without their input. Customization requires consumer participation, allowing shoppers to manually choose or adjust elements of a product to their preference. 
  • Today's consumers, particularly millennials, seek out CPG personalization opportunities and are often driven by their ability to digitally or physically share the image or product with their family, friends or social media followers.

Dive Insight:

Manufacturers have embraced packaging as the primary mechanism of customization or personalization in the past. Among the most prominent examples are Coca-Cola's Share-A-Coke, both for names and holiday expressions, and Mondelez's personalizable Oreo Colorfilled packages released last holiday season.

Both manufacturers have since taken these efforts a step further to make them more interactive and customizable for consumers. Mondelez signed a partnership with daily deals site Zulily last December to offer free shipping for the online Oreo store.

Coca-Cola added a social media element by purchasing promoted tweets that addressed Twitter users by their first name as it appeared on the Coke bottle. Coca-Cola later partnered with Google to enable consumers to type in a name and theme, after which a virtual soda bottle would open to release a deluge of facts about the typed name.

Personalizaton is also evolving beyond packaging and one-off campaigns to integrate into entire product experiences, which enable consumers to benefit in new ways. Both Coca-Cola (Freestyle) and PepsiCo (Spire) offer machines that allow consumers to choose different flavor combinations for their beverages, which can result in upwards of 1,000 different combinations to suit a wide range of consumer flavor profile preferences. Last month, Coca-Cola announced that it was going to take a popular combination from its Freestyle machines — Cherry Sprite — and start bottling it.

Filed Under: Manufacturing Marketing