Personalization Doesn’t Guarantee Branding

One never knows where inspiration will come from. Having written well over 5,000 articles in my career across many publications i.e. Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Ad Age, Adweek and on and on — when something catches my eye, sometimes that’s all it takes.

That’s the case here when I read the line “personalization doesn’t guarantee branding” as part of a press release announcing the findings of a study dealing with the effect of personalization. Truth be told when I read the headline of the release my initial reaction was ‘No shit, Sherlock.”


I mean did we really need a study to confirm what most of us should already know? Of course by increasing personalization leads to forming stronger personal connections. Duh! Then when I read the very first line of the release: “As the world has continued to innovate, we have found that ad personalization is one of the more effective tools out there to help brands deliver more relevant ad experiences.” 

My God how obvious can you make this? So I thought about using this release and study as inspiration but in a completely different manner, one which would see me rip apart the study, those behind it, question the need for it and on and on and on.

But then I got to one specific section of the release which turned out to be the money shot, at least for me.

“Personalization doesn’t guarantee branding. Performance of personalized ads is amplified when branding is incorporated into the messaging. With branding in the message, personalized ads are +8% more memorable than standards ads. Creative best practices still apply, so the process of planning for personalization shouldn’t distract from the need to have strong branding.”

Best Practices 

Did you catch that phrase above? Go back and re-read it if you missed it because THAT is truly the money shot. “Creative best practices still apply, so the process of planning for personalization shouldn’t distract from the need to have strong branding.”

Yes, including and incorporating your brand into a given ad which is personalized is impactful. But the key is to not just slap a logo on infuse your brand’s name just for the sake of adding the branding.

Best practices, which let’s be honest, is a synonym for common sense many times, is what is MOST important here. I would have preferred they included the word ‘however’ in that line so it read: “Creative best practices still apply, however, so the process of planning for personalization shouldn’t distract from the need to have strong branding.”

Just because you personalize an ad doesn’t make it effective.

And just because you personalize an ad AND include branding means it will be automatically effective, either.

The word of the day boys and girls is RELEVANCE.

You know that word. It’s The Nine Letter Word Every Marketer Needs To Remember At All Times. At least that’s what some Forbes writer wrote all the way back in 2014. I don’t know, maybe it’s me but the writer of this article sounds like he’s knows what he’s talking about.

“In case any marketers and advertisers forgot, the word relevance is an adjective meaning having direct bearing on the matter in hand; pertinent. In marketing and advertising terms, it means providing your customer, and prospect for that matter, with content that is relevant to them.”

So don’t read the findings of this study and rush to personalize and brand every…single…piece…of…content. That is not the point. And if you think it is, find another career.


The point is to use the common sense the Good Lord gave us all. Use the the knowledge you and your peer have but most importantly use what your customer is telling you.

It’s elementary my dear Watson.

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