Personalisation is not new but the potential enabled by digital technology means marketers need to think differently about it and about their planning processes and creative outputs, according to Oliver Feldwick, global head of innovation at The&Partnership.

In this month’s Admap, Feldwick explains that a common use of the term ‘personalisation’ – the ability to serve someone something unique on a personal level, such as a fashion brand might do by showing man looking for a jacket something that might suit him – is a bit of a of a misnomer.

While such activity is possible, “one of the main frustrations with [such] personalisation is that it can end up being very much impersonal”, he notes. Far too often, such efforts are “shallow”, “tactless” and “creepy”.

“It’s not really personalisation unless the creative is based on a creative and insightful understanding of the individual as well,” he maintains. (For more, read the full article: Getting creative with personalisation.)

And, he suggests, that need not be complicated if it’s considered throughout the process, strategically, creatively and only finally on a delivery level.

Feldwick highlights four ways in which advertisers need to change how they think about personalisation, starting with establishing whether it should be used at all.

“Personalisation should be done with a strategic purpose,” he points out, which requires an understanding of both the macro and micro motivations of the audience. “Given that personalisation intrinsically links medium and message, this requires bringing together often siloed disciplines,” he adds.

Marketers can then consider various levels of personalisation, which can vary from the consistent brand narrative down to “tribal topics” addressed to particular sub-audiences and beyond that to personalised touches based on data-driven variables.

“Taken in concert, these three layers, deployed around the consumer, lead to the right level of personalisation with a clear purpose, but also a strong sense of brand identity and consistency,” Feldwick advises.

If these two notions are relatively straightforward, the next two areas he discusses may require rather more of a change in marketers’ mindsets. Firstly, there has to be a move away from planning out linear campaigns in favour of the creation of narratives “that can be deployed around an individual as and when they come into market”.

Secondly, personalisation should not be seen as just a performance tactic: “we should also consider and measure it as part of the brand experience.”

Sourced from Admap