What is in this article?:
Some trends are just bigger than others. Personalization is one of those. As the balance of power between consumer and corporate interests realigns itself in the new world order, products will have to meet consumers closer to where they live to resonate in the years to come.
I spend most of my time in the thick of the fray tracking industry sales and product trends, but the real fun comes in rising above that fray to better frame the systems of logic that first set it in motion. Some trends are just bigger than others. Some trends kick off a whole host of smaller trends designed to capture the imagination of investors, marketers and press, alike. Personalization is one of those. It’s a biggie.
When Ryan Caldbeck, CEO of CircleUp, asked me to develop our thoughts on mass personalization, I took the bait. The quest for targeted products better personalized to a cluster of consumers—or even an individual consumer—is just beginning to strut its stuff as a real driver of new product formulations and marketing across most of the industries inside consumer products. It’s a trend that his team at CircleUp sees, both in the companies they evaluate and investor interest on their site, and it’s also a trend I’m seeing pop through my conversations with dozens of consumer companies each month.
So what is personalization? Is it just category fragmentation with a fancier name, or is there something deeper at play? I would argue the latter. It starts with fragmentation—from one size fits all to one size fits many and, ultimately, one size built to fit the complexities of you alone—but it speaks to something much bigger than that. As the balance of power between consumer and corporate interests realigns itself in the new world order—thanks to the internet, transparency and smartphones giving consumers real agency to shop their beliefs and desires—products will have to meet consumers closer to where they live to resonate in the years to come.
We’re in the early stages here and terminology is still pretty fluid, so let’s profile a few companies in natural products right on the bleeding edge of this trend to give it better clarity.