4 in 10 Millennials Interested in Co-Creating Products With Brands

Research from Cognizant has shown that companies that involve direct customer input in their innovation processes report higher satisfaction with a variety of innovation areas than those who don’t. For brands looking to go that route, Millennials may prove a willing source of ideas. According to new survey results from Edelman Berland and Edelman 8095, 4 in 10 Millennials (aged 18-33) from around the world want brands to allow them to influence their products (co-creation). In fact, this is the leading way in which Millennials want to be entertained by brands.

Overall, the 4,000 Millennials from 11 global markets show a strong desire to be entertained by brands, with 8 in 10 expressing this wish. Beyond co-creation, other ways in which they want brands to entertain them include by answering their questions and comments in real time via social media (33%), by sponsoring entertaining events (32%), and by creating online content such as videos, photos, games, and blogs (31%). Interestingly, celebrity culture doesn’t appeal quite as much: only 19% want brands to partner with a celebrity or public figure they admire.

Presumably, Millennials want brand advertising to be entertaining, too, and it seems that brands have done well in this regard. Just 3% of the respondents believe all advertising is boring. As the report suggests, “Millennials are surprisingly open to brand engagement and advertising, but only if brands have the right approach.” To capture their attention, Millennials point to humor, samples, and contests as being most effective, though honesty, quality, and social media also play a role.

Leveraging Millennials’ affinity for social media might be one way to satisfy their urge to influence product innovation. A study released in November by the IBM Institute for Business Value found a majority of senior executives planning to use social tools for innovation, by gathering feedback from customers (73%) and enabling customers to submit plans and solutions (68%). Social media seems a particularly useful channel for this endeavor: other research has found that more than two-thirds of social media users from around the world would be happy to collaborate with brands. Those social media users primarily displayed an interest in helping companies improve an existing product or service (64%), improve customer service (also 64%), and develop new products or services (59%).

Millennials Want Brands to Help Them Personally, Too

Apparently, Millennials don’t want to just engage with brands, they want brands to take an active role in helping them improve their lives, too. Further details from Edelman Berland’s “8095 2.0 survey” reveal that 77% would like brands to provide them with financial assistance (such as grants and scholarships) and 75% would like brands to provide them with the opportunity for more life experiences (such as sending them on trips).

Brands not willing to go to those lengths can also help Millennials out by allowing them to use their audiences (e.g., Facebook pages, ads) to connect with others with similar interests and ideas, and by allowing them to use those audiences to share their messages and stories with a wide group.

About the Data: The survey was conducted by Edelman Berland and consisted of online interviews in 11 countries among 4,000 adults born between 1980 and 1995. The survey was conducted in: Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; France; Germany; India; Turkey; UAE; UK; and the US. The sample size was 300 in each country save for the US (1,000).

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