Top 5 Ways Brands Can Shape the DIY Phenomenon

From the big global players to the emerging online brands, everyone wants in on the DIY phenomenon. But it's the brands that go beyond product customization to embrace the creativity of the world around them in the most relevant ways that will win.

1. Drive culture
Last year our global Cultural Traction study showed that Apple was struggling to keep up with the cultural conversation and losing its vibrancy. But if it's recent acquisition of Beats by Dr Dre and its latest TV campaign 'Stickers' are anything to go by, Apple is reconnecting with the world around its brand. The ad features the MacBook Air customized with various clever pop-culture references from Breaking Bad to Snow White and everyone's favorite cartoon dad - Homer Simpson. Getting creative with the customization trend, Apple's logo interacts with the fast moving artwork, placing the brand firmly in the center of a constantly shifting culture.

2. Create engaging experiences
It's not just the fast moving tech brands that are successfully leveraging DIY to offer better brand experiences. In the US, McDonald's have started to offer a 'build your own burger' service where customers can craft their own burger contents using a tablet at the order point. Similarly, Starbucks is launching a customization option for its cold beverages after successful trials in the US, Japan and Singapore. These brands understand that people want to play a creative role in the story of their brands and so they offer creative and sensory experiences beyond the moment of consumption.

3. Connect with the creators
One step further than inviting people to participate in creative brand experiences is to enable the creators who are already out there making. Rising e-commerce site Etsy calls itself 'the most beautiful marketplace in the world', not only giving us a place to buy and sell unique creations for the home and wardrobe but also allowing creative people all over the world to connect with and inspire each other.

4. Offer a helping hand
Consumers today are expecting more from brands and looking for value beyond traditional products. The DIY hype is the perfect backdrop to offer up new skills to drive people's creativity. Take British telecommunications giant O2 who have developed an online initiative; Learn to Code with Decoded. The program gives UK school children the opportunity to learn the history of programming before experimenting for themselves with HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Taking inspiration from O2 could mean that not only do consumers get more value from brands, but learn something that helps them toward perfecting a craft and also gives the brand an opportunity to engage at multiple touch points.

5. Think about the bigger picture
Brands that go beyond participating in the DIY trend to actually shaping it understand that they need to be relevant to multiple areas of people's lives. Global sportswear brand Adidas has taken trainer customization one step further than its rival Nike with plans to launch an app that allows customers to print their personal Instagram photos directly on to the ZX Flux trainer. Beyond customized color, fabric and features, Adidas is bridging the gap between the world of digital and real life; inviting people to be artists in their own right and materialize their favorite memories. The app is creative and allows individual expression, but most importantly is useful and relevant.

Craft. Connect. Co-create. Become a part of the DIY ecosystem making it relevant to your brand and crucially, everyday life.