Let’s talk about personalization
For many years, marketing and advertisements have focused on developing and conveying a one-size-fits-all solution. A walk down the alley of the “greatest advertisements of all time” easily reveals this trend. From California Milk Processor Board’s “Got Milk?” in 1993 to Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” many brands have succeeded with this tactic. That is until the pandemic in 2019.
The pandemic has undoubtedly forced many of us to rethink relationships and interactions, not only with our loved and important ones but also with brands. Fueled by the global digitalization craze, users are increasingly demanding personalization. From personalized content on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to personalized offers and brand advertisements, many see personalization as a part of the new normal. A study by McKinsey in 2021 supports this observation. It has been revealed that 71% of users now expect personalization, and 76% feel frustrated when they don’t find it. What this means for brands is those that cannot offer personalization for their target audience now risks becoming irrelevant as users become more intolerant towards non-personalized content and messages.
Although personalization is a part of modern users’ demand, it also unexpectedly helps businesses and brands. In the same study from McKinsey, it was revealed that brands that implemented personalization also saw a 40% increase in revenue compared to others. A study by Accenture also supports this view by stating that 91% of users are more likely to spend more with brands that provide relevant offers. Furthermore, an intelligent implementation of personalization using approaches such as data-driven programmatic media buying and implementation enables brands and businesses to quickly and efficiently deliver their messages to the target audience at a low cost. This allows brands to implement personalization in their offering even when their resources are limited. The appearance of generative AI, such as ChatGPT, Midjourney, DALL-E, and other AI-powered solutions, further empowers brands on their journey to implementing personalization.
With the shift in user expectations and the appearance of new technologies, it’s no wonder that personalization will soon become the new standard of modern brand communication.
And then accessibility
According to WHO, it is estimated that there are 1.3 billion people with disabilities around the globe. That means one in seven people experiences one or more significant disabilities. With such a large number, it’s not strange that those with disabilities and their families also possess strong purchasing power. In fact, in 2018, McKinsey estimated that the purchasing power of working-age adults with disabilities was approximately $490 billion. Moreover, with $21 billion in discretionary income, people with disabilities are a larger user group than the African American and Hispanic markets combined.
Creating accessible messages and designs enables your brand to tap into this large market. However, that’s not the only benefit of accessibility. Excluding meeting different regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, implementing accessible messages and designs in your brand communication also encourages users without disabilities to interact with your brand more frequently. Why you may ask. It’s not uncommon for users to experience situational limitations in their daily routines. For example, users may interact with your brand’s content in a noisy environment (such as in a crowded public location) where they may be unable to enable audio. Accessible messages and designs, therefore, will also allow users to interact with your brand’s content even when they are experiencing situational limitations. Thinking and implementing accessibility in communication also forces brands to rethink their messages and contents, helping them declutter their information and focus better on what matters most.
Combining personalization and accessibility — the new standard for modern brand communication
With the benefits from both personalization and accessibility made apparent, it’s time we talk about combining them together in modern brand communication.
As MarTech gains even more momentum with commercial data-driven solutions becoming available, marketers and brand strategists are elevating personalization to the next level. The focus of personalization is no longer simply personalizing content and messages but delivering the correct message at the right time and the right stage to the right person. For example, marketers may now employ geographic data and transaction history to automatically generate personalized in-store offers for users close to a brand’s physical store. These offers are then delivered through real-time in-app notifications or messages that are delivered directly to the user’s online inbox.
It is precisely this push for the next level of personalization that makes accessibility valuable. As stated previously, accessibility not only helps brands to reach out to a broader audience but also encourages their audience to interact with the brand’s message by reducing negative impacts from situational limitations. While personalization creates efficient messages, it doesn’t mean they will be delivered efficiently. For example, even if the personalized offer is delivered through in-app notification, the user may not be able to read the offer as they may be walking under bright daylight or traveling using trains with constant shaking. Implementing accessibility design in personalization is precisely the key that could help brands to create and deliver their messages efficiently.
How to combine and implement both accessibility and personalization in your brand-building efforts?
So combining personalization and accessibility in brand communication can bring about significant benefits. The question, then, is how to start implementing them in your brand-building effort.
The first step is to conduct research and audits to identify your resources and opportunities for implementing personalization and accessibility. Identify which data point and touchpoint you have that can help you create personalized messages and offers for your users. Factor in behavioral, transactional, and engagement trends and identify the most impactful or meaningful experience your users have on their journey.
The second step is to switch your mindset to thinking and acting accessibility. One of the mistakes that many brand owners and strategists make is thinking that accessibility only happens in design. This thinking is incorrect. While accessible designs and messages are the most visible elements, without an accessibility mindset to support design decisions or fine-tune messages, creating these elements will be impossible.
The third step is to start with small experiments. With all the available resources identified and a proper mindset, the brand-building team can start piloting small experiments to experiment with different ideas and approaches that implement personalization and accessibility. This is where creativity works its magic. Don’t be afraid to test different ideas, no matter how radical, but always ensure that all ideas align appropriately with your brand’s values and visions.
The last step is rapid activation and optimization. Once your brand-building team has identified ideas that prove to be efficient for your brands, it’s time to implement those ideas at scale. Set up metrics and KPIs and continuously monitor your efforts to ensure all ideas are adequately implemented and activated. Furthermore, frequently return to the first step to identify changes in the brand landscape, user expectations, and opportunities and work toward creating and implementing new ideas if necessary.
Some last word
Personalization and accessibility bring many benefits for brands, and combining both makes a lot of sense as personalization synergies well with accessibility to enable brands to create and deliver their messages efficiently. With the rapid evolution of new technologies and continually changing brand landscapes, soon enough, personalization and accessibility will become the new standard in brand communication. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to step up your game and explore the new possibilities these new paradigms offer.