A group of 274 study participants were shown 10 t-shirts, then split into four groups. Each group was asked to rate the shirts on either (1) Likeability, (2) Casualness, (3) Colorfulness, or (4) how well it matched a hat. The full group was then asked to rate how fun the exercise was. At the end, the group who was asked to rate the shirts simple on Likeability rated the exercise as more enjoyable and fun.
We absolutely love to express ourselves, and that often comes in simple gestures such as expressing our like or dislike for something. Yet, it is even more powerful when we can express our own personal characteristics: the things that make us who we are.
Brands are often seen as extensions of our own personalities, which means we feel connected to a product that allows us to express our own values and traits. Those products (or services) which reflect our own traits will be more enjoyable for us to engage with (and buy from).
If you have a product that your customers can play a part in creating, or which carries traits aligned with their own characteristics, you’ll have a deeper emotional bond with your customers than if you sold a product that was uniformly manufactured. A simple example of this is a Coca Cola campaign in which Coke labels temporarily carried individual names, such as Barbara or Jack. Customers felt a deeper bond with the bottles with their names, leading to higher purchases.
Self-Expression is a desire for us all. To take advantage of it, consider the parts of your product which can inherit traits similar to your customer’s own characteristics or preferences. Can you integrate your product into the daily habits of your customers? Can you reflect their personal style preferences in any way?