Personalization and social media: A marketing gold mine?

Over the past couple of years, personalization and customization have emerged as powerful differentiators for marketers eager to give their brands an edge in an increasingly competitive market, especially among millennials—otherwise known as the it’s-all-about-me generation. In 2015, these tactics are likely to pick up even more steam with the help of social media. Check out these two major success stories, and how you can use the same tactics at for your small business.

Personalized labels make Nutella even sweeter

Chocolate and confectionery manufacturer Ferrero SpA recently enjoyed immense success as the result of a customization initiative that encouraged customers in Europe to personalize jar labels of its popular hazelnut spread, Nutella.

Instead of settling for the generic Nutella logo, customers were given the option of printing their own names on the jars. The fact that the formatting remained the same (black letters with the first in red, written in the brand’s trademarked sans-serif font) drove product recognition even though the name “Nutella” wasn’t actually on the label.

Personalized labels make Nutella even sweeter
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Shoppers who dropped by specific Selfridge & Co. establishments in the United Kingdom had the chance to get their Nutella jars personalized in-store. Meanwhile, people not fortunate enough to live close to one of the high-end department store chain’s participating locations were able to order their customized jars online. Ferrero publicized the campaign through its Facebook page, a move that proved to be a resounding success.

“The Nutella campaign triggered an enormous flow of people to the company’s Facebook page – 185,000 in Belgium, a country of just 11 million,” said Filip Weymans, business development manager at digital printer Xeikon, the company that helped make Ferrero’s vision a reality, as quoted by Food Production Daily.

Weymans went on to note that pairing social media channels with personalization can be extremely lucrative in terms of playing to consumers’ emotions – a great tactic for forging strong customer engagement and ultimately making sales.

‘Share A Coke’ campaign enjoys similar success

Although the customized Nutella labeling initiative has yet to make its way stateside, Americans would likely respond favorably – at least, if the response to last summer’s “Share A Coke” campaign is anything to go by. The bottle labels featuring the familiar Coca-Cola logo were temporarily set aside and replaced with more personalized alternatives.

How personalized are we talking? If you happen to have one of the 250 most common names among American teens and millennials, you were in luck, as 20-ounce bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero labeled specifically for you were produced by the thousands. Meanwhile, groups could snag themselves 1.25- and 2-liter bottles labeled with collective nouns such as “Friends” and “Family.”

'Share A Coke' campaign enjoys similar success
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People with less run-of-the-mill names weren’t left out – 12-ounce cans sported colloquial nicknames such as “Star,” “Buddy” and “Bestie,” and some brick-and-mortar locations offered personalization kiosks for users to get Cokes emblazoned with their names on the spot. Consumers also had the option to head to to create virtual labels, then share their creations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

“A Coke can or bottle is the most iconic design in the world and the fact you can impact that with your name has a huge curiosity and wow factor,” independent branding consultant Dean Crutchfield told The Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, the initiative reversed a decade-long decline in Coke consumption in the United States, boosting sales by more than 2 percent, according to the news source.

How can small businesses take advantage of personalization in social media

The Nutella and Coke campaigns are proof positive that combining two of the most popular marketing trends – personalization and social media – can boost brand engagement and benefit a company’s bottom line. What can SMBs do to capitalize on these trends?

How can small businesses take advantage of personalization in social mediaRestaurants and bars can hold a contest for followers to submit their most delicious recipe for an appetizer, entree, cocktail or dessert, and the winning submission earns a permanent spot on your menu (named after the winner, of course). Everyone loves a good competition, especially when the prize involves bragging rights and recognition at the local joint. Aren’t sure you want to give up such valuable real estate on your menu? Offer to make it a weekly or monthly special instead.

Don’t run a restaurant? Bring your email outreach into the mix and send out special promotions for customers’ birthdays. Include an additional call-to-action and ask that they check in on Facebook or post a photo to Instagram to unlock something extra. You may not have the funds to produce personalized items en masse, but the more you can tailor your promotions to the individual, the better results you’ll see.

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