Millennial Breakdown #4: Brand Co-Creators
By millennial secret agent Sean Luster
It’s been a while since my last post, where I talked about the importance millennials place on the quality of their experiences. Sorry for the delay, but I’ve just been so busy backpacking through a music festival in a gluten-free wheat field that I haven’t been able to write! In my last dispatch, I promised to talk about brand “co-creation” this time, but what does that even mean?
A brand is no longer what a company declares itself to be. Instead, a brand ends up being a blend of what a company thinks it is (and how they choose to portray that), plus how the consumers decide to perceive and interact with it. A recent Forbes article observed that millennials grew up in a very collaborative environment. Parents tended to be less authoritative, and children’s shows even dedicated themselves to working together to accomplish things and solve problems (I’m looking at you, Blue’s Clues). This collaborative upbringing has created a generation that desires to be a part of the process.
Camera maker GoPro is a perfect example of a brand that’s capitalized on co-creation. GoPro has aligned itself with active users who love unique experiences (sound like a demographic you know?), and has made those captured memories and experiences central to their brand—and their marketing. Whenever anyone uses a GoPro to post on social media, those consumers are adding depth and scale to the brand, in a way that GoPro would not be able to do on their own.
Companies need to give people, especially millennials, the opportunity to become part of the brand-building process without forcing a pre-conceived image. Buying and owning a brand has turned into a collaborative process between millennials, their friends and families, and the companies themselves. And it looks like things are going to stay that way.
Caveat brander, however. Because this generation of millennials has been given free reign over the internet to amplify their thoughts and opinions through social media, brand perceptions can be extremely volatile. Even one corporate mistake could cause millions of consumers to turn their backs on a brand (see the recent streetfight over Uber).
Next time I’ll be talking about the massive importance of online reviews, which I think flows quite nicely from our little chat about brand co-creation. Until next time, this is CLM’s resident embedded millennial spy signing off!