Recently, on a walk through Exmouth Market past our local tattoo parlour, we discussed the rise in the customisation and personalisation of branding.
Consumers want more and more to be able to express themselves as individuals, and increasingly respect those brands that enable them to do this.
The ultimate in consumer self-expression must be the rise in tattoos. This gives consumers the opportunity to brand themselves and create something truly unique and bespoke.
Within branding, customisation has become expected in certain categories, but in packaged goods it is hard.
We have seen Coke experiment with names on bottles, which drove huge amounts of talkability and collectability.
And of course, Absolut with its spray-painted bottle designs created a unique rather than a bespoke design on every bottle. But within mass production it remains difficult.
Originally, branding evolved from a mark of ownership to a reassurance of quality, and consumers actually wanted the guarantee that all products would offer the same quality time after time. As brands proliferated, the brands you chose became a personal statement.
Even though most alcohol brands are mass market they are still seen as an expression of individuality and style, a statement of who you are.
What you choose to drink says as much about you as the brands you wear. Sailor Jerry built an entire brand on the tattoo anti-establishment culture, and more recently J&B whisky took tattooing onto its pack, with limited edition bottles covered in latex and individually tattooed by a Parisian tattoo artist.
However, the greatest accolade for any brand must be when a consumer has a brand tattoo. It is the quintessential demonstration of brand love. It is also something brand owners cannot control or influence directly. It is the ultimate consumer brand choice in a world defined by individuality and self-expression.
And isn’t that what we are all striving for?
Personalisation and customisation in packaged goods will remain challenging, but rather than worrying about that, maybe we should all be focussing on creating brands that consumers love, and on designing brand marques that are worthy of a tattoo.