Personalisation is pointless without purpose – Avon’s Gianfranco Cuzziol

When it comes to making every customer experience count, purposeful personalisation is a prerequisite for performance, Avon’s CRM & Personalisation Lead, Gianfranco Cuzziol, told the audience at MoEngage’s #GROWTH Summit in London.  

Unless it’s solving a problem or meeting a desire, generic personalisation leaves shoppers feeling misunderstood by the brands that seek to engage them.  Instead, retailers should be building out contextualised personalisation and engagement that is built on insight and an understanding of their customers to better deliver positive, authentic and emotional experiences within the buying journey. 

“Personalisation doesn’t always necessitate hyper-segmentation.  Sometimes, authenticity resonates more profoundly with customers.”

For Cuzziol, there are three key pillars for effective personalisation – and while technology plays a role in supporting all three, it really should be the support act, and should not take the lead in developing customer journeys.

First of these key pillars is the customer – and this revolves around understanding them, building trust and positively reinforcing your brand identity with them.  It’s no secret that customer-centricity is vital to a brand’s sustainable growth.  In his session, Cuzziol challenged the retailers and brands at MoEngage’s #GROWTH Summit to think about what their customers are trying to do, the motivation behind them taking specific actions, and the obstacles they face in their buying journey.  He suggested in-depth customer data and analytics would be a guiding force in making the journey frictionless for shoppers and allow brands to meet them wherever they are and within whichever channel, be it WhatsApp, Email, In-App or another.

Second was the brand itself.  In a former role, when Cuzziol was Global Head of CRM at Aesop, he shared that they chose not to personalise communication too much with shoppers in order to stay true to the brand voice.  The brand became much more authentic to customers when it spoke about brand values and culture.  Consequently, this resulted in better results compared to what a highly segmented and personalised campaign might have given.  He suggested that retailers should first assess and understand the true essence of their brand, and then ask if and how much and where they need to personalise engagement.

Third and finally was the subject of trust.  Cuzziol urged retailers to think about ethics and data privacy from a customer point of view and then – with board-level buy-in – think about the quality of the data they’d like to collect.  How can this be sustainably and ethically collected to maintain brand perception and value?

“My experiences have crystallised into guiding principles for successful customer engagement. Balancing technological advancements with customer needs, understanding the evolving customer journey, and aligning loyalty programs with brand values remain paramount.”

Summarising his session, Cuzziol suggested that customer engagement strategies must adapt to accommodate unforeseen shifts.  The essence, he felt, lies not in a singular approach but in a dynamic, adaptable methodology tailored to brand identity and customer aspirations.  “Understanding, trust, and authenticity will perennially be the cornerstones of effective customer relationship management, resonating across the ever-evolving landscape of business and customer interactions,” he concluded.

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