It’s no secret that people respond much better when there’s an element of personalization. We like to be greeted by name (thanks, Starbucks!), we like handwritten letters, and we like when emails are addressed to us, notus. Basically, we don’t like generic, en masse communication that makes us feel like we are less than important.

The other thing we like is human interaction.

Personalization  Coke Breaks Thru

Coca-Cola is a company that knows and embraces both concepts, and they recently took the personalization and interaction approach by the reigns by launching their “Share a Coke” campaign in the United States this past summer. The “Share a Coke” campaign launched in June for the U.S., but it originated in Australia in 2012. The products that are a component of the campaign are now available across 50 different countries, so obviously, Coca-Cola has received favorable metrics.

The campaign is a highly personalized take on their products. You’ve probably even engaged with the campaign if you drink Coke or have a friend who does. The campaign slapped individual’s names on the classic red-labeled Coke bottle. Yes, your name (among many other name options) appears on your own bottle of Coke – that is, if you can find it. The basic premise is that you can search through Coke displays at retailers, find your own name on a bottle of Coke and purchase it. Or you can find someone else’s name on the soda bottle, and “share a coke” with him/her. It’s the marriage of personalization and unity.

Now, if you think finding your name or someone else’s on a bottle of Coke isn’t as exciting as finding your name on a souvenir keychain in Disney World, it’s actually more exciting. Look at how much fun your life could be while you’re enjoying your personalized bottle of coke. It sure makes you want to find the bottle featuring the name of your beau on it, right? Either way, finding your own or finding a pal’s Coke bottle can be an interactive way to engage with Coke beyond just purchasing a bottle and drinking it.

But this isn’t all just fun and games – it’s real marketing and although personalization has been around for years, it’s now penetrating the digital world. Consumers are now expecting personalization rather than just being excited when they find it.

Forbes contributor, Aseem Chandra, agrees that personalization is key and wrote, “Consumers are increasingly demanding more personalized and customized service in the digital as well as physical worlds.” A lesson to be learned and embraced by all marketers.

From that standpoint, companies should consider hopping on the personalization bandwagon. Personalization is the future of efficient marketing. It not only engages consumers, it makes them feel like an independent human being instead of just one of many within a mass crowd.

Oh and Coke didn’t stop at their “Share a Coke” campaign. A subsequent campaign focused on the human interaction side and getting a little more personal; you know … talking to others and getting to know people. The campaign targeted college freshmen, pushing them to get off their phones and interact with each other – engaging in real life conversations. Coke placed free Coke machines on college campuses, but the recipient can’t open the bottle until he/she pairs up with someone else who matches their bottle. It’s called the Friendly Twist.

And it makes sense: marketing to one person, in a mass strategic way and adding an element of humanity and interaction. The impact of personalization and human interaction can lead to great word of mouth marketing – especially in the social media age – which can be even more powerful.