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Taking It Personally

Consumers want to make their mark—in more ways than one.

This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Look around, and you'll see things getting really personal.Products and services, that is. These days, everything fromrestaurant menus and baby gear to dog toys and adult clothing isbeing customized according to the wishes and whims of theconsumer.

Consider the iPod, the hugely successful Apple digital musicplayer that lets users customize their own music selections. Thenthere are restaurants like Chipotle that let people customize theirown dishes and stores like Build-a-Bear Workshop, where customerscan create their own teddy bears. The possibilities ofpersonalization, as they say, are endless. "It'severywhere, and the need for differentiation is driving it,"says Ted Leonhardt, global president of the Anthem Group, astrategic brand and packaging consulting firm with eight officesaround the world. "We're going to see more and morespecialization and playing to individual market needs," saysLeonhardt, who works at the company's San Francisco office.

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