The Millennial Partner: Why Co-Creation is Valuable in Marketing to Millennials™

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

There may not be an “I” in team, but there sure is a “me.” And for Millennials, bringing “me” into the equation is crucial for creating Brand Love® and loyalty. So how can brands incorporate the Millennial “me” factor? The answer is simple: co-creation. Co-creation is a marketing strategy that aims to create value for customers through personalized and unique experiences.

When value is co-created, customers have the opportunity to tailor the product or services to their exact needs and desires, allowing brands to see success in the form of new customer data, increased sales, profitability, and loyalty.

It is important to note, however, that co-creation redefines the concept of target marketing. Millennials are no longer just customers; they’re partners. And as partners, Millennials want to participate in the brand’s process. Here are a few of the major perks in a participation economy.

1. Millennials can customize and personalize their experiences
2. Millennials will feel they have control over their favorite products/services through direct involvement
3. Millennials will see that they’re input matters to brands and will continue to engage with the brand

Below are a few innovative brands that have incorporated co-creation into their strategies.

1. Oreo

Oreo cookies turned tweets into treats at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX. High tech vending machines allowed festival-goers to create customized Oreo cookies based on trending Twitter topics through a technology similar to 3D printing. Users could choose from 12 different flavors and colors of cream and receive their Oreo in just two minutes. This innovative vending machine embraced the trend of co-creation by giving users the option to customize their product (the cookie) and giving them a sense of control over their experience. Plus, the concept was a hit with South by Southwest attendees, most of which fall within the Millennial demographic.

2. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s Sprite brand heads a project entitled, Sprite Films, which asks student filmmakers to create original short films that demonstrate self-expression. Sprite Films aims to showcase these student filmmakers by displaying the final entries on its website, where viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite film. The winner will have the opportunity to work on a Sprite brand project and will have their work featured in select movie theaters nation-wide. Involving Millennials in the creative process not only gives them a chance to be involved with their favorite brand’s marketing process, but also allows them feel that their hard work and talent is valued and rewarded.

3. Marriott

Marriott is asking consumers to help it rethink travel through its “Travel Brilliantly” campaign. On the Travel Brilliantly website, Marriott asks viewers to contribute ideas ranging from “eat and drink” to “style and design.” Viewers also have the option to vote on others’ ideas and look at some of the Marriott’s own innovations. The campaign captures the concepts of customization, involvement, and input valuation, while also giving consumers (or partners) the chance to participate in the marketing and experiential journeys.

Whether it be inclusion in the marketing process, the products or services, or the overall experience, brands that offer Millennials the opportunity to co-create are bound to reap the benefits of Brand Love® and loyalty from this coveted generation.

Lauren Katz contributed to this post. 

Photos by Flickr via JanetandPhil & Werner Kunz.

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.