When is a trend not a trend?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….and once again, gift buyers all over the world are trying to achieve the holy grail – how can I control the amount of money I spend but still display the maximum amount of thought? Or is it just me that thinks like that? Thought lies at the heart of all gifting, which is why the handmade card from your children becomes something that you keep forever and to my mind, this is where the explosion of personalisation has come to the rescue of gift buyers everywhere.

So is it a trend or not? Well I say not – personalisation has been around since the Bayeux Tapestry was created in 1066! History shows us that a higher value has always been placed on anything bespoke by both buyers and recipients be that tailoring, jewellery or gift cards. So what we are seeing now in our era is nothing new – but the big change has been the methods used to deploy personalisation, such as the rapid growth of digital print. This has opened up the possibilities for brands and consumers alike. And as such, it all feels new and therefore is easier for the media to describe as a trend.

But trends come and go, and as I explained above – we are getting on for 1,000 years of this particular trend. Trends to me are a single idea deployed on multiple products – think of Keep Calm & Carry On – which have a shelf life much shorter than most. The cognoscenti of gift buyers don’t follow the herd because they are looking for something special, something bespoke. To be able to add a personal touch to a gift raises the value for the buyer AND the recipient and cements a relationship as a result.

The 2014 Share a Coke campaign cemented a direct relationship between the brand and their consumers that never previously existed, simply by allowing the consumer to personalize their bottle. At that point it ceases to be just a bottle of Coke, it’s a gift that happens to be made of a bottle of Coke. 90% of the glass bottles bought online were never opened – they remain as keepsakes in the same way as the handmade card I mentioned earlier. But of course this has become the benchmark campaign that set a new bar for brands the world over and it owes it all to the phrase “ It’s the thought that counts…”

100 years ago, the Industrial Revolution literally changed the landscape of the business world. When students come to study 2016 in 100 years time, I guarantee this era will become spoken of as the Digital Revolution – and as PSP’s, you are at the cutting edge of this era and able to harness the limitless possibilities that digital offers. So as Christmas time approaches again, give some thought to your friends and family of course – but at the same time, give some thought as to how you can imagine the future using personalization!

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