Four Ways Nestlé is Dominating at Personalization

Thanks to personalization tech giants like Amazon, Netflix and Facebook, consumers are used to being served up content and suggestions that align seamlessly with browsing histories, “likes” and other content or products they recently engaged with online. For this reason, people today expect closer, more personalized relationships with brands—most especially CPG brands. But for an industry that was built on brand marketing, catchy slogans and traditional advertising campaigns, CPG marketers are struggling to pivot their marketing strategies around the creation of individually relevant brand experiences. One brand, however, has taken the personalization challenge with stride: Nestlé.

In July of 2016, Nestlé Waters built a full-time digital lab aimed at improving personalized communications with its consumers and building an engaged community around its brands. Stationed in Salesforce’s New York offices, Nestlé Waters’ “Consumer Engagement Center,” was built in partnership with Salesforce and serves eight Nestlé Waters brands, including Pure Life, Poland Spring, Perrier and S. Pellegrino. This is just one of many coordinated steps Nestlé  has taken to build the talent, data, technologies and partnerships needed to deliver high-performance personalization at-scale. Below are four real-world examples of how Nestlé has leveraged the power of their Consumer Engagement Center to integrate personalization into their in-store and online brand experience in highly diverse and effective ways.

Very Best Baking Website: Recipes that Surprise & Delight

In early 2017, Nestlé embarked on a path to data-driven personalization when they missioned to improve the content relevancy of their Very Best Baking Website. With more than 2,000 recipes, the task was daunting, but through integration with a content marketing platform, Toll House began testing incremental ways to integrate personalized customer experiences. Their experiments resulted in the development of two website sections fully driven by both real-time and historical data. The first section to become data-driven was “Our Bakers Also Love,” which auto-generates recipe ideas based on the ingredients contained in the recipes being viewed by a user, as well as the occasion and lifestyle categories the recipes fall under. The second section of content to undergo personalization treatment was “Recommended for You.” Rather than focusing on what the user is searching for at the present time, the section factors your complete website viewing history and search behaviors so that recommendations consider your interests and preferences as a whole.

The Toll House marketing team continuously analyzes clicks, session durations, and website traffic flow to see which specific data points are delivering the most preferred content, and then modifies the content curation algorithms accordingly. While the personalization strategy may have initially been led by a need to drive loyalty and grow clicks, over time, Toll House realized the power in exposing their consumers to new ideas and inspiration that consumers wouldn’t traditionally expect Toll House to offer.

Through the creation of an incredible recipe content hub, Nestlé Toll House was also able to make itself relevant to younger consumers, who appreciate content and experiences that inform them of new ways to use classic products. Since the success of the website, Nestlé has leveraged the collected data from the site to create integrated personalized email campaigns and has seen tremendous increases in content consumption as a result.

“We know consumers want these personalized experiences,” says Heather Green, marketing manager at Nestlé Toll House. “They expect brands to delivercontent is applicable to them when they want it. We have the opportunity to delight them with new and different ideas that they may not have thought of or that Toll House can deliver on.”

Purina Petcentric: Community Through Content Relevancy

Acting on the fact that the love of one’s pet is very personal and deep-seated, Nestlé Purina decided to use that emotional connection to create personalized experiences on that connects visitors to content tailored to their unique pet-owner interests.

“We publish content for pet owners; my goal is to create a vibrant community around the love of pets, including their care,” says Laurie Clithero, brand manager for Petcentric, Nestlé Purina’s online hub for animal lovers. Clithero says that extending the personal relationship between pet lovers and household animals is critical to creating content that’s relevant and impactful to consumers. “Our priorities are to create relationships with people as unique individuals, to understand each individual’s needs, and to connect with people by delivering the right message at the right time,” she says. is intended to be the ultimate destination for pet lovers looking to connect, talk pets and share what they love about their furry friends, but at the time, the experience on the site was generic and content was static. Aiming to build a customized content hub, the company looked to tap into behavioral and location data to support a customized content curation experience. From users’ history to current activity, viewing device, demographic and geographic data, Nestlé began to leverage behavioral data in order to pinpoint the best content recommendations to display at the best times for the individual. For new, anonymous users, geo-location data would be used to personalized the experience, for example, they’d use localized weather data to recommend an activity to do with the user’s pet. Then, when the user is browsing content, they provide recommendations for similar content. Finally, when the user returns to the website, a personalized welcome-back message is displayed with individualized content suggestions, and every experience from there on out builds on the next. All of this back-end collected behavioral data is stored as customer profiles that work to detail the type of pet the visitor has, the pet’s age and pet care habits—all data that can lend itself to future personalization across other channels.

The results of Nestlé  Purina’s intense behavioral data leveraging efforts? A 37% decrease in website bounce rate and a 20% decrease in sessions lasting less than 10 seconds. Since the optimization of Petcentric, Nestlé has committed itself to bringing relevance and purpose to every customer site visit.

KitKit Giveaway: Creating Customized Keepsakes

Following in the footsteps of food brands such as Marmite, Nutella and Coca Cola, from February 1st to March 29th of 2017, Nestlé’s KitKat ran a campaign where purchasers of KitKat 4 Finger and Chunky singles, multipacks and 2 Finger biscuit packs could enter to win one of 55,000 personalized candy bars being given away. Through online entry of a unique code featured inside the wrapper of select products, consumers could discover whether or not they won one of the personalized packs. Winners were able to upload the photo they wanted to appear on the wrapper, as well as a personalized ‘Break Message’ that captures how they personally embrace break time. Upon submitting their order, the product is then delivered to their door in a fully customized gift box that re-configures into a picture frame with the personalized wrapper displayed.

Nestlé Confectionery’s business unit head, Haseeb Rahman, said, “This promotion taps into the current trend for personalisation, giving consumers the chance to win a personalised KitKat 4 Finger pack for themselves or to give to a friend or loved one.”

With the campaign fully integrated with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the personalized product giveaway worked to generate social buzz and drive traffic to their pages, increasing post impressions and clicks, and encouraging both potential and winning consumers to post around the excitement of the promotion.

Just Right by Purina: Formula as Unique as Your Dog

In 2014, Nestlé Purina launched to deliver personalized dog food nutrition out of a belief that each dog is unique, thus their food should be too. Given that the owner knows their dog best, users answers questions about their dog’s health, including age, breed, size, activity levels, weight, and even taste preferences, such as “Does your dog prefer salmon over chicken? Grains or no grains?” Leveraging the dog owner’s provided information and other factors, a proprietary algorithm creates a food blend tailored to the dog’s unique nutritional needs and food preferences. A personalized package is then delivered to the pet owner’s door, including tailored feeding instructions, featured ingredients, and even their dog’s photo on the food bag with a label that reads “<Pet Name’s Blend> .”

Since the release of the tailormade pet nutrition program, Nestle has taken personalized nutrition to the next level through partnership with Samsung and Campbell Soup. In July of 2016, Nestlé and Samsung announced a research collaboration to develop a revolutionary digital health platform that would potentially empower people to better their health and wellness through one connected entity driven by the Internet of Things, sensors and breakthough nutrition science that together, would work to understand the voice of one’s body.


“With the way digital is changing consumer’s lives, our mission as marketers is also evolving,” said Antonio Sciuto, CMO of Nestlé Waters North America. “Marketing today is about providing personalized consumer experiences — so what we’re trying to do is not just execute brand campaigns, but have two-way conversations, nurture communities and really be a companion to our consumers.”

With Nestlé Waters’ Consumer Engagement Center actively manned by a mix of Nestlé and Salesforce employees, including data analysts, social listening analysts and marketing managers—all monitoring various channels to deliver more relevant brand content to consumers, it’s clear that high-performance personalization depends on omnichannel data collection and analysis, cross-functional collaboration, and real-time execution. While establishing these capabilities might sound  overwhelming, it’s also important to remember that personalization is not an end-point journey, but an ongoing process of continuous learning and optimization.

With all the advantages of personalizing content, there’s little reason for CPG brands not to, especially with technologies like AI and machine learning readily available. To generate the highest performance, CPG marketers should focus on being able to recognize the consumer across devices, building individualized profiles that are enriched by each brand interaction, and using these profiles to make data-informed decisions about the best message to deliver to the consumer.  With this approach, marketers can tailor each brand interaction and speak to their consumers in the optimal way at exactly the right moment.


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