The Coffee Conundrum
The personalization problemWhat are personalization and relevance?
Approximate read time: 3 minutes

There are 80,000 ways to drink a Starbucks beverage. Would you like a Tall, Non-Fat Latte With Caramel Drizzle. Or a Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte With Soy Milk? How about a Decaf, Soy Latte With An Extra Shot And Cream? Which one is right for you?

You don't have to walk into a Starbucks to experience this reality of hyper personalization. Our office break rooms are brimming with passionate (to say the least) coffee connoisseurs. Throw in a few coworkers pursuing the righteous path of veganism and those that follow the zen lifestyle offered by tea, and you have a pantry that looks better stocked than your local Supermarket. And that's exactly how it should look! There isn't a panacea beverage able to quench the thirst of individuality.

Individuality should be celebrated, there is only one of you. Having choices atune to you personal predilection is a celebration of you.
Products and services that conform to who we are as individual are more relevant to us, they resonate with us. Long running studies have attempted to identify attributes that affect our personal preferences and hence our choices. Genetics, epigenetics, social factors including product marketing all affect our likes and dislikes to varying degrees.
Products and services that align with our needs, wants and desires resonate with us. Personalization makes products and services relevant.

Retailers and service providers go to great lengths and in some cases extremes, to understand their customers' preferences. Data collection beyond what customers have consented to voluntarily sharing, is violation of the trust they have put in service providers and retailers. Consumers are becoming more vigilant of their privacy and resentful of businesses that exploit their personal data to drive profits. Discovery of such flagrant infractions lead to erosion of trust which is built in drops but lost in buckets. Unfortunately many executives undermine the long term dissolution of trust. Driven by financial incentives and the need to increase revenue, such tactics may yield short term success. Ultimately this strategy fails to build the unfeigned connection necessary to build long term affiliation and loyalty.
Loyalty and trust cannot be bought, they need to be earned.
Artificial Intelligence(AI) can leverage existing data, data consented to by the user, to help understand their individuality and personalize our products and services. Sadly, AI still cannot tell you the best way to enjoy your cup of coffee. But we at Boffin have an adage that may be the answer.

So next time you walk into a heated debate about the best way to enjoy your cupa joe, tell them the best way is however they enjoy it the most! Drop the mic, and continue walking.