The “brand value equation” has been subject to tweaks for as long as I’ve been in advertising and marketing research. But a headline from PSFK announcing the new value equation for Millennials caught my eye.
As you can see below, the focus is on benefits and price. I have to be honest and say I take issue with the fact that price is shown as the denominator here; price sensitivity differs from person to person – treating it as a great equalizer somehow seems wrong.
In any case, the inclusion of “participative benefits” is interesting. As the article says:
Millennials don’t just want to buy your brand, they want to be a part of it. They’re looking for ways to participate. And they want to understand why you do what you do not just what you want to sell. As a result, the brand value equation has morphed to include participative benefits. This is key for tapping into Millennial passion — and therefore, Millennials’ dollars.
How this is broken down by “old model” vs. new is also insightful, although I do believe that most of us have been advising clients of these shifts for quite some time.
Since the Internet became so entrenched in our lives, I know I’ve been speaking with clients about engagement, interaction, and personal gestures, three aspects of the new model.
The “newest” idea here is in “active co-creation.” Co-creation takes engagement to the next level. Often driven by crowdsourcing approaches (a Facebook page or elsewhere), co-creation is becoming more central to marketing, product/concept development and even website development – tasks also supported by traditional qualitative research methods.
I also found this a great way to look at Millennials:
Driven by advancements in digital and mobile technology, Millennials are practically demanding to be a part of the process. The type of participation Millennials want to engage in breaks into three types. Millennials want to co-create the products and services that you sell. Millennials want to co-create the customer journey or the customer experience. And Millennials want to co-create the marketing — which goes beyond social media.
I take this to mean that co-creation needs a very public face so that Millennials, even if they don’t participate, know and appreciate that their peers are co-creating with brands.
But there is one thing which I feel is missing from this analysis and from this article overall. Millennials were born between 1977 and 2000, so the oldest is now 36 years old and the youngest age 13. We know from the Baby Boom generation that older Boomers may act/think/feel differently than younger Boomers. I suspect that the same is true for Millennials. Moreover, I expect that this level of involvement is related to where they are in the lifecycle: the older ones, with kids, may not have time for the level of engagement or co-creation as the younger ones. And as the younger ones age, the same may become true for them – particularly when they’re out of school and/or into full time jobs.
I do expect brands to continue to find ways for customers and prospects to engage with them on their terms, in ways which are meaningful to them.
Yet, my instincts tell me that brands should be investing more in learning who the key influencers are in the co-creation community. I think a crowd (or sub-crowd?) of genuine influencers will be of more value to brands than just a simple crowd. I say this because not everyone will be part of the crowd and the impact influencers have outside this bubble may be what’s needed to move the needle with products and services.
What are your thoughts? Where do you see this heading?