Jones Soda: Personalization or Not?

By | September 4, 2012

When you buy a pack of Jones soda (in inhumanly colored flavors like turquois blue and sour apple green), you are invited to share a piece of yourself with the company. Simply upload your own image to the company’s website and it might use it on one of its bottles for retail sale.

Usually, when we think of consumers uploading their personal images, those images are being used for creating products or packaging for their own use — one-off or ultra short-run personalization for the individual. (The company offers personalized 12-packs for $29.99 too, of course). But in this case, Jones is using the personal images to create labels for national sale.

It’s an interesting concept, and I’m sure it’s one that has earned the company plenty of social media buzz. It even has a Jones Gallery for images — from wacky to artistic — it has used over time. As you would expect, the gallery has social media buttons for people to “like” the page and share it on their Facebook pages. You can even download previously used photos (in the form of Jones labels) as wallpaper for your iPhone.

What’s interesting here is how the company took what were the efficiencies of high-volume production for a national audience and shortened the runs to create a very branded identity as the edgy, unconventional product great for viral sharing.

I think back to the post I wrote on Barb Pellow’s keynote at the Print Solutions 2012 conference in which she talked about having a Blue Ocean strategy by creating a product that has little or no competition in the marketplace because you are doing something in an entirely new way. Digital production allows MSPs to offer their clients, not just a more efficient way to produce certain campaigns or the ability to do targeting and personalization , but also a way to create entirely new niches and reach people in entirely different ways.

So is uploading your own photo to Jones Soda company really personalization? Only if you order the “My Jones” 12-pack. But it is a great example of using short-run production to establish a brand image based on customer participation and interaction.

I wonder if Jones read Blue Ocean Strategy?

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