A new campaign from Coca-Cola has raised some eyebrows. Last month, consumers in the UK started seeing some familiar names in place of Coke’s iconic white-lettered logo… their own.

Through the end of this summer, 150 of the UK’s most common names will be printed on 100 million bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

Coke knows what it’s doing. Back in Summer 2011, the same campaign was launched in Australia. The results of this personalized PR campaign speak for themselves. Coke increased traffic to its Facebook Page by 870 percent and the number of Facebook fans grew by 39 percent. Consumption of Coke rose by 7 percent, making 2011 the best summer ever for the brand.

Coke has discovered personalized PR can work wonders, especially for engagement. But what can PR firms and their clients learn from this?

The Social Effect

colaCoke’s campaign underscores one very important transition over the past few years. Social media has broken a barrier between consumers and brands. Since most brands have established some kind of presence on social media networks, customers can reach out to them at any point with relative ease. And nearly half expect a response within 60 minutes.

When brands respond on social media, it’s a bad PR move to sound like a company. Instead, they need to sound human. Consequently, consumers feel a stronger connection to brands than ever before, and they expect brands’ messaging to reflect that. That’s why Coke’s campaign worked so well – with the line between brand and consumer gone, people want and expect a personal experience.

What This Means for PR Everywhere

Coke’s campaign shows how important it is to cater to a customer’s individual needs. Social media isn’t the only part of this movement. Search engines like Google have taught all of us that we should be able to find exactly the right solution for what we want.

While most businesses won’t be replacing their logos with customer names, it doesn’t hurt to sit back and think about the implications of Coke’s campaign in the long run. Take a look at your website. Does it offer a good user experience? Are you providing the content that your audience wants? How about social media? Are you responsive to customers? Are you posting the kind of content that promotes engagement?

You don’t have to call out customers by name to make them feel appreciated, but you do have to acknowledge that there are more active touch points by creating and managing a presence wherever customers may be, from Facebook to the convenience store to the dashboard of a software program.

Personalizing your PR doesn’t just help give your brand a powerful and individual voice, it fosters relationships and loyalty that can last for years to come.