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The Personalized Products Trend: “It’s Mine and I Want It Now!”

On most days, my daily routine is quite simple: I wake up, brush my teeth, toss on some clothes and my shoes, grab my books, throw in my iPod and sprint to class (stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to grab some coffee).

Sounds rather unremarkable, right?

I guess it is, on the most basic level. But let’s take a closer look, and I’ll show you something interesting.

We’ll start with when I put my shoes on. Look at them (figuratively—I don’t want you actually coming to my house and examining my shoes). They’re Nike Air Max 90s (and they look great) , but they’re also a customized product. I personalized them online in the NikeiD store, so I’m rocking them in Tufts University blue and brown with my initials on the heel.

Ok, next let’s scope out my iPod: Black, 160GB, loaded with all the music I enjoy, and on the back, engraved with my name and my customized quote, “Always Be Closing.”

Finally, my coffee: Medium, caramel, iced, and topped with cream and sugar. Just how I like it.

Starting to see a trend here?

You see, I like things my way. I like to have control over the brands I wear and the products I use. That’s what makes MiO, Kraft’s new “water” product, so interesting. MiO is a small water flavoring and dropper that allows consumers to choose exactly how much flavor they want in their water. So if you’re into a heavy dosing of artificial Strawberry-Kiwi, you can go hog-wild. Or, if you like a more mellow taste, that works too. Whatever your flavored-water fancy, MiO can give you the taste you crave. It’s personalized water. Custom water.

This says a lot about the millennial generation, which has really pioneered the concept of “I (and not just the consumer) am always right.” My daily routine pays testament to this. Today more and more products are designed to give you, the consumer, the satisfaction of exactly what you want—and nothing else.

This trend might seem like major pain for marketers and manufacturers, but in reality it’s not so bad. In fact, if you’re keenly in touch with your consumers (maybe you’re interacting with them in a Communispace community?), it’s easy to keep your finger on the pulse of the things that appeal to them. It’s all just a matter of listening.

So what do you think—is this idea of custom products a daunting prospect, or is it something that both consumers and producers should embrace?

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