Personalization is political – lessons from the women’s march

Just as the Women’s March was a personal call to political action, brands have also been increasingly at the forefront of personalization and politics. As the world has become more politically divided, so inherently have the brands we gravitate towards as consumers. By this I mean, as the brand continues to drive individual and targeted campaigns at consumers – aka personalization, the brand becomes political.

From the now infamous Target/Pregnancy scandal to the Thinx underwear campaign, brands have been experimenting to great success and criticism in the world of personalization. The degree in which brands have thought to examine the politics individual communication have directly attributed to the success of their campaigns.

Before the Women’s march, I’d never participated in any real political action or demonstration. Coming of age under the Obama administration, I (like many others) had been lulled into a false sense of security regarding certain freedoms that had been hard fought and seemingly won in years prior. Trump’s election was a slap in the face and a badly needed wake-up call – these freedoms I had enjoyed are not in fact, inalienable, but must be defended and protected by those that support them. At the march, one of the most repeated and powerful chants - “This is what democracy looks like,” reinforced the renewed importance of civic participation.

I initially learned of the march from a friend on Facebook days after the election. The invitation could not have come at a more poignant time, I was feeling dejected over the results of the election and what it meant for the future, but the mission statement of the march and– the call to action – gave me a renewed sense of purpose.

While continuing to engage with the social and traditional media surrounding this event, I decided to create my own Facebook group to mobilize friends and family to march in DC and elsewhere. As the event grew closer, the volume of my network either directly attending the event or supporting/sharing news regarding the march was overwhelming. Continuing the momentum in the week leading up to the march, I engaged directly with fellow marchers via the Women’s March app which allowed marchers to share/link photos and status updates in an in app newsfeed.

The personal nature of the Women’s March and the community feel of its marketing is ultimately what led me to be passionate in promoting and activating my network to take part in the march. Not only did the march come about at the exact moment when it was most needed, but it also did a masterful job of appealing to a large cross section of the country. With meaningful hashtags like #whyImarch, the event put the focus directly back on those who were participating and made it personal for everyone involved.

The ultimate lesson from the Women’s March is this - when you include the political in personal outreach and allow for consumers to become active in telling your story, you can effectively mobilize your base and empower a whole new set of consumers to engage with your brand.

Lynne Ault is a sales team leader at The Drum, based in New York. She tweets @LynneAult

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