Behavioral Trends: Personalization




I am not just another customer. Make me feel unique and special, as if what you offer is designed just for me. I want products and services that truly distinguish me out from the crowd.




Since the beginning of its operations, Google has been recognized for their work revolutionizing advertisement services online, at first by suggesting ads related to the current search and later developing their own ad-catering algorithm, which they use to this day. Google collects, aggregates and analyzes the information provided by users directly, as well as the data provided by their activity across Google services and the Internet at large, in order to provide extremely accurate and personalized ads (to an even uncanny degree). A tool within their user settings allows every user with a Google account to see what interests Google has estimated and decide whether they want to keep getting ads with those contents, providing yet another form of user personalization.

Personalization - Google Personalized Ads


A 2018 investigation by the New York Times, The Guardian and The Observer of London uncovered a scandal. Data harvested from over 87 million Facebook users without their consent was being improperly used by data firm Cambridge Analytica to create U.S. voter profiles, which were then used for influencing political campaigns in the U.S. Later discoveries showed that the firm was also linked to the Brexit referendum in the U.K. using the same methods. This scandal shows the dark side of personalization – a political campaign that knows exactly how to tap into our interests and has access to our personal details to serve us content (fake news included) in order to influence or even coerce us into a particular political opinion.

Personalization - Cambridge Analytica & Facebook (article)


Trying to address concerns like weight loss, nutrition and exercise with a catch-all approach is futile and inefficient, since every person’s genetics, and by direct correlation, every person’s bodies, are all different. Thus, every nutritional plan and exercise regimen must take into consideration each person’s needs. NutriADN is a Mexican company that takes DNA samples from its users and processes them to reveal each person’s nutritional requirements, as well as their exercise capacity and even their response to rest and stress. This information can later be used by users to craft their own ideal plan for achieving a healthy lifestyle, on their own terms, with maximum capabilities for personalization, to ensure each user’s maximum realization.

Personalization - NutriADN


Retail giant Amazon has pioneered many aspects of online shopping, including mastering user personalization. Searches, clicks, previous purchases, wishlists and even the items currently in users’ carts all play a role in Amazon’s proficient catering to users, which translates in their personalized homepages, “frequently bought together” sections and other suggestions. Their secret not only lies in expert use of data collection, but also predictive analytics and, recently, AI. Thus, anticipating the needs of its customer makes the discovery of new products a much more simplified experience.

Personalization - Amazon (article)


Emoji first originated in 1997 in Japanese mobile phones – their name is actually Japanese for “picture characters” (絵文字) – as the evolution of emoticons. They skyrocketed in popularity after being included in Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems in the 2010s. Now, the ubiquitous presence of emoji has solidified their place in popular culture and mass communications; their versatility and constant expansion by Unicode allows users to express nearly anything without using words. In recent years, emoji have served as the base for new, much more customizable options for pictographic communication. With the launch of its iPhone X with face-recognition technology in 2017, Apple released Animoji, animated versions of different emojis controlled by the user’s face; and in 2018, they released Memoji, which allows users to create their own customizable avatars. Through the years, people’s options for digital self-expression have steadily evolved in ways we couldn’t have imagined decades ago – we can only speculate about what the future holds.

Personalization - From Emoji to Memoji (article)


Converse has implemented shoe customization on their online store for those users who need something that will make their otherwise ubiquitous sneakers stand out from the pack. Limited-edition models as well as collaborations with brands and sports teams keep the rotation of possible combinations fresh, and always keeps a base of avid buyers with something new to look forward to. Besides the official options available on the website, users have taken to craft paint, “hydro dipping” and even designer bag leather, among other techniques, to take their Converses to the next level of personalization, making the possibilities truly endless.

Personalization - Converse


Skincare and hair products have been on the rise over the past decade. However, finding the right products for your own unique hair and skin has proven to be a sometimes endless cycle of trial-and-error and trusting expert opinions (even if they don’t work out for you). US-based Function of Beauty aims to eliminate that experience by creating custom hair products for each customer. How? By mixing and matching pre-made formulas by expert chemists with user-provided data collected through a simple quiz about their hair type in order to create tailored shampoo, conditioner, serums and more. Users can even get their name on the bottle and choose the color and fragrance, taking the custom experience one step further while keeping the user at the center of the product itself.

Personalization - Function of Beauty


A world in which celebrities are more present in our lives than ever, wouldn’t it be special to receive a custom message from your favourite star? Cameo is a platform that provides you with the power to make the celebrity of your choice wish you a happy birthday, congratulate your sister on her wedding, or even sing a little bit of your son’s favourite song for him. The celebrity sets the price, and you pay for an opportunity that simply wouldn’t be possible a few decades ago. The once-rare celeb shoutout is not only at the reach of our fingertips now, but entirely customisable. 

Personalization - Cameo


Personalization Mall was founded in 1998 and became an industry leader in personalized products in the United States, providing everything from mugs and wine glasses to T-shirts, prints and everything in between. Special occasions and holidays are also a major motif on Personalization Mall, allowing users to truly express themselves in a way that suits the mood. In the end, at the heart of it all is their customers’ story – and that’s what sets Personalization Mall apart.

Personalization - Personalization Mall


Pandora is a jewelry brand that emphasizes the uniqueness and individuality of each customer. Their high-quality and modern, yet affordable, pieces are designed and crafted with the ultimate goal of maximum personalization. From their ubiquitous charm bracelets to earrings, necklaces and even rings, Pandora reflects the individual stories of its customers, as stated in one of their campaigns, “Say something about you without saying a word”.

Personalization - Pandora Jewelry


Clothing is a human necessity, but over the years, clothes have become less of a durable, reliable utility and more of a superficial, replaceable and disposable commodity. Brands design and produce generic new collections that never fully sell out, and people buy clothes just to wear them once, at a significant environmental and human cost. Clothing brand Frilly understands this, which is why they have developed a made-to-order model that is also heavy on personalization. Not only do they reduce their environmental footprint, but they also let customers express their individual style through pieces that last way beyond a season. Users can choose from pre-designed styles that can be customized to their liking. Besides this, each piece is hand-crafted using innovative, sustainably-sourced fabrics from around the world.

Personalization - Frilly


Clothing brand Psychic Outlaw takes in people’s old quilts and turns them into custom-made clothes for them. The uniqueness of each quilt, which often has unrepeatable designs and noticeable use, is perfectly translated into the cut of each item, whether it’s one of their signature jackets, a sweater, or even a robe. One order at a time, Psychic Outlaw is fulfilling every fashion-savvy user’s dreams of turning their grandma’s psychedelic-looking quilt into the most stylish item in their wardrobe.

Personalization - Psychic Outlaw


Odd Pair Shoes is an online shop based in Deventer, The Netherlands, that caters to people who often need to buy two pairs of the same shoe because of the radically different sizes of their own feet, selling brand-new pairs of shoes with mismatched sizes for an affordable price. Recently, they’ve expanded to creating their own unique, custom made shoes service, where users can buy left and right shoes separately. The company has committed themselves to solving this odd yet common problem in the European region, becoming pioneers in solving what would otherwise be overlooked in the shoes industry.

Personalization - Odd Pair Shoes


Automating the clothes-making process has been an engineering problem for decades, as experts have tried to find a way to produce clothes without need of a human workforce. Cloth is frail and delicate, and it’s well known that robots work best with rigid, solid materials. So, in 2016, Sewbo created a method for temporarily stiffens fabrics that allows robots to manipulate them as if they were sheet metal in order to sew them. The technology is currently in its very early stages, so sweatshops won’t be going away anytime soon, but it shows a very promising future in which you can just order your at-home robot to create the exact garment you have in mind without needing another person.

Personalization - Sewbo


New York City-based startup Care/Of encourages users to find their own personalized selection of  vitamins, protein, and collagen nutritional supplements. In a way similar to other customized product providers, users must provide information about their nutrition and body through a quiz, in order to find the “right” products for each person’s needs. Besides simple nutrition, Care/Of takes users’ daily routines and habits into account while tailoring their selection of supplements, so no two regimens are the same, centering users’ needs and health at all times.

Personalization - Care/Of


Custom Ink is an online store that sells apparel that can be customized by its users in an intuitive way. With their Design Lab features, users can choose from hundreds of fonts, icons and images to create just the design they want, even allowing them to upload their own photo or artwork. Everything from plain T-shirts to hats and even face masks is at user’s disposal for customization. Custom Ink brings the allure of custom design to each user’s fingertips.

Personalization - Custom Ink


Adidas imagines a world where every person can get shoes at their exact measurements – no more standardized sizes or equal-sized pairs. Their 3D-printed ’Futurecraft’ design reflects their vision for a hyper-personalized future. Using foam-like, membranous materials that resemble their usual ethylene vinyl acetate (ETA), the shoes are conceptualized and engineered to fit every person and bring the ultimate support possible – just like any other conventional Adidas shoe. Every customized Futurecraft shoe is one of its kind, and is 3D printed in collaboration with Materialise, a leading specialist in the world of 3D printing. With these kinds of prototypes already available, it’s not hard to imagine what the future of shoemaking will bring us.

Personalization - Adidas Futurecraft 3D


Over the past few years, phone cases have increasingly become a fashion accessory. It’s logical: we spend a large part of our time with our phone in our hand. Companies like Hong Kong-based startup Casetify are allowing customers to customize their own phone case design, from adding just their initials or names, to even designing a plane ticket mockup with the name of any city. People want their personalities and identities reflected on their most essential accessory – and the world is taking notice.

Personalization - Casetify (article)


Sakurako Shimizu is a trained craftsman in jewelry-making based in New York (USA), who specializes in custom wedding rings and personal jewelry that have soundwaves carved into them. These can represent the sound of wedding vows, personal messages, heartbeats, and practically any everyday sound. A truly unique and stylish way to symbolize the special union of two people.

Personalization - Sakurako Shimizu Wedding Rings


If you have ever waited in line in a Starbucks, you may have noticed the very different kind of orders they constantly receive. Probably if you go to Starbucks is because you do exactly that: ask for your own special recipe for the perfect cup of coffee. Where normally a coffee is just a coffee, they have succeeded in making it feel yours, with your own specs, and with your name written on the cup. So, there goes YOUR coffee.

personalization - starbucks


Given the amount of videos and content available in Netflix, they use tons of algorithms and big data to generate a personalized experience for each one. Remember they fight for a piece of your attention, so they have to try to be as relevant as they can to your experience. Two accounts won’t look the same, they are 100% tailor-made.

personalization - netflix


Spotify works hardly and constantly towards a personalized music experience for everyone. This includes the continuous generation of playlists according to your tastes and habits.

personalization - spotify


Stitch Fix is a subscription clothing brand who sends you a mystery/surprise box to your house every month with 5 pieces. You may return the ones you didn’t like, and keep the ones you like, while they learn more and more every month about your personal tastes.

personalization - stitch fix


The Haute Maroquinerie private customization session takes place at the VIP Salon in Manila Louis Vuitton Greenbelt 4 store in Makati City. This exclusive service allows every woman to create a unique bag of her own by choosing the shape, the leather, the color and the hardware according to her preference. The last step is the personalization in order to make the bag truly hers. The bag will be ready in 6-12 months.

personalization - Louis Vuitton


Click here to navigate our list of Behavioral Trends for value creation, full of insights and needstates, written from a post-demographic human-centered perspective by our partner Andrea Lobo.


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