Personalization 3.0

“Think of a mother in a particular moment where her baby doesn’t stop crying, or isn’t receptive to a particular food, how can we give her the love and support she needs? How can we give them the right advice and recommendations, that are right for her sentiment and emotions? The ability to understand that would be powerful…”
– Senior VP, Multinational Consumer Goods Company

Picture this: Your car insurance is up for renewal. Having recently updated your address on the portal, you immediately start getting product offers from your insurer, not for your car but for your new home. Does the insurer’s knowledge about your needs and their recommendations make you feel valued? Or like an invasion of privacy?

The same sentiment is echoed across sectors. Personalization is in equal parts ubiquitous and under leveraged today. In this article, we explore prevalent gaps and provide some insight into what might address them.

Let us start by putting in perspective what Personalization means.

It is important to acknowledge that personalization is not limited to:

  • Customization: Allowing the individual to choose/change certain aspects of the offering based on their preferences
  • Curation: Aligning experiences with characteristics of the individual
  • Contextualization: Aligning experiences with characteristics of the situation

Personalization 3.0 would have to do all the above and additionally:

  • Become consumer first
  • Connect online-offline worlds
  • Identify, understand and thus address emotional needs in moments that matter most to consumers

“Our biggest challenge is to understand what new personalization patterns will look like. How do we identify who our customer really is and what they really need? If models can take emotional signals into consideration and try to provide a personalized product or next best action, that will power personalization. The models we have built have very less information on emotional behavior, variables are primarily looking at purchase patterns or web behavior, not emotions.”

– Senior Director, Advanced Analytics, Leading Retail Organization

Where are personalization solutions falling short today?

With every piece of Intelligence available to support business decisions, it’s easy to forget that eventually, it’s going to be a human who’ll be making the final choice. For brands to be not just successful but meaningful over time, they will have to account for the combination of contexts (global x external x internal) that their consumers are in. They will also need to consider not the rational, but rather the emotional decision factors and the evolving heuristics consumers use to make these decisions.

Breakpoints in Personalization Journeys

Identification: Do we have the methods to understand latent yet dynamic needs?

Translation: Have we found a way to effectively reflect and communicate this understanding?

Connection: Is there cohesion and sync between online and offline worlds for the consumer?

Relevance: Is there longevity to the solution that is being created? Can it adapt to changing scenarios with agility?

Validation: Does the consumer feel a sense of trust, empowerment and validation when engaging with the product?

It is easy to get overwhelmed when machines are making decisions for us (even if they’re in our interest). Feelings of insensitivity and lack of human touch need to be addressed.

“It is really complex when you take three entities into consideration – if you take the person, the object and the geography. It’s complex enough to only consider the person, but with all three there isn’t enough specificity in models today – think about someone who is financially responsible vs a person who is not financially responsible and owns a luxury car – they are 2 different segments. They could have similar backgrounds, similar lifestyles, everything could be similar about them – but they’re two different segments It’s those nuances that matter.”

– Senior VP, Data & Analytics, Leading Insurance Company

So, what could Personalization 3.0 really do?

To create relevance and meaning for consumers, we must not only define the choice-set for the product offerings, but also design the environment in which the consumer choice is being made.

Components of personalizing experiences:

  • The choice-set
  • The decision environment
  • The recommendation

Personalization 3.0

“We’ve listened to our consumers, they don’t want to speak to big brands. They want to speak to brands online as if they were engaging with their local pharmacy, doctor or shop. That’s the relevance and intimacy we need to bring to our consumers through these engagements. The need for emotional connection and the moments consumers go through with our brands and our products – it is super heightened. If there’s a mom in a particular moment where her baby doesn’t stop crying, or isn’t receptive to a particular food, how can we give her the love and support she needs? How can we give them the right advice and recommendations, that are right for her sentiment and emotions? The ability to understand that would be powerful.”

– Senior VP, Multinational Consumer Goods Company

Imagine if a doctor deduces that the right treatment approach is to proceed without a surgery (recommendation from the Choice-Set). When speaking to a distressed patient (Person), to dissuade from a surgery the doctor could highlight “20% risk of severe infection”, whereas if the surgery was the right recommendation, they might highlight “80 likelihood of recovery” (Decision Environment). The first triggers fear and aversion while the second triggers assurance and approach (Emotion), thus enabling the person to make not just the better choice, but make it easier and with less dissonance (Decision).

To further elucidate what an end-to-end personalized experience might look like, here is a demo of a Connected Car in the context of safety. Contrary to popular belief, one exhibits careful behavior in negative scenarios and careless behavior in positive scenarios. The demo showcases the use of personalization in a connected car which uses data to understand the driver’s emotional state and give recommendations to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.


Customer Genomics Personalization powered by Intelligence & Emotion, with Speed at Scale

While the above might sound like the future, at Fractal Dimension we have developed the solution architecture for this very future, today.

  • Sensorize – everything.
    In order to attain optimized personalization, we leverage every available, observable data signal which can be captured in the form of speech, images, sensors, etc. We also need external data to understand the environment in which the consumer is acting.
  • Encode – the entity and the environment.
    Now that we’ve gotten the data, it’s time to understand how the consumer interacts with their environment. By quantifying behaviors and preferences under context, we can infer emotions and biases that help us recreate these customer journeys and hence predict actions. Another important reason to understand the context is to ensure the ethical use of the data.
  • Orchestrate – the nudge
    Once the system identifies the area of intervention, it needs to nudge the customers by giving recommendations. The orchestration of these ‘nudges’ is an extremely crucial part because all further actions taken would be a reaction to said nudge. It’s like whispering to wake someone up versus throwing water on their face. Both work, but we need to assess which reaction would suit the context the best.
  • Learn – with every new signal
    It doesn’t end with a response from the customer. The system must keep learning, getting feedback about whether it was able to assess the situation accurately and whether the recommendations helped the customer reach their desired goal or not. It then updates its understanding of the entity and the environment. This feedback is taken as data and the learning cycle continues.

Personalization 3.0

Customer Genomics generates personalized recommendations and curates the decision environment to power better, easier and emotionally sound decisions. It leverages sophisticated AI algorithms, cognitive neuroscience and principles of engineering to deliver a scalable platform designed with the end user in mind.

If this piques your interest and you would want to know more, please reach out to us at [email protected].


About Fractal Dimension

Personalization 3.0

We believe complex problems need to be looked at through multiple lenses simultaneously to be grasped. With the new lens, new dimensions emerge, thus making complexity more evident and solvable.

How are we set up?

We identify complex and unstructured problem themes in the industry that are relevant. We invest in building expertise and a dimensionalized point of view around it. We engage clients via ‘slow thinking’ workshops and co-creation jams to curate our perspective for their problem. We invest in architecting an end to end state change program. We partner with Client Teams at Fractal to deploy cross functional solutions and support them in helping clients realize value (ROI).

If you are looking to leverage the power of Emotion with Intelligence in your enterprise, connect with us.


Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta

Lead Behavior Architect Fractal Dimension



    Rahul Desai

    Rahul Desai

    Vice President

    Amarava Roy

    Amarava Roy

    Principal Consultant

    Aniket Koyande

    Aniket Koyande

    Lead Data Scientist

    Rutuparna Jadhav

    Rutuparna Jadhav

    Behavioral Design Researcher

    Anurag Vaish

    Anurag Vaish

    Chief Practice Officer - Behavioral Sciences & Design, Co-founder FinalMile Consulting