Millennials, defined as consumers between the ages of 18 and 34, are more influential than some may give them credit for. Nearly 80+ million strong, these young adults are redefining what we thought we knew about the marketplace. The Millennial generation is overwhelmingly invested in participating in the entire brand experience from start to finish and expect brands to involve them in the creation of marketing, the brand journey, and even the product itself. Their extreme involvement in the brand ecosystem has led to a revision of what we once thought was the ultimate brand value equation.

There are many variations of the brand value equation that have evolved over time. However, the majority of these equations include three key elements: price, benefits (emotional and functional) and total cost (separate from price but including other factors like time, convenience, availability, etc.). As we move into a Millennial-ruled consumer market, there is a key element missing from these formulas: personalization.

How to win with personalization

While Millennials are an extremely inclusive generation, they still want to stand out amongst the crowd. Think of this as a “be together, differently” mentality. AgileOne, a predictive marketing cloud platform, found that 70 percent of adult shoppers want some sort of personalized experience from the brands they interact with. The opportunity for brands to create personalized experiences for Millennials is limitless and will result in greater brand love and loyalty. For many young adults, that personalization can also serve as a winning point of differentiation from the noise in the market.

Google recently released the “Be Together. Not the Same” campaign promoting the Android phone, but more importantly, encouraging Millennial Android users to embrace their personality and create their own personal experience with their phone. Why was this ad great? Because instead of telling consumers how the brand can create a personal experience for them, Google encouraged consumers to make their own experiences and share them with each other. (Not to mention the unlikely animal buddies TV commercials, which I rewind the DVR for every time.)

This type of personalized marketing strategy will guide the future of how brands connect with consumers. According to the American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma report, more than 50 percent of female Millennial shoppers decide where to shop based on where they can find unique products that they will not see on anyone else. Now, the most inspired brands are not focusing on how they can create a universal product; instead they are exploring ways to create personalized products used by the universal public.

For example, Nike is one of the most loved Millennial brands. When you think about Nike, it is easy to remember the classic sneaker that nearly everyone wore in the 90s. Now, everyone is still rocking their Nikes, but with the option to create a completely personalized pair of shoes, consumers are able to express their individual personality while still being a part of the general Nike community.

The evidence is clear, the inclusion of personalization into the brand value equation is the logical next step for brands taking the leap into a new modern market. It is easy to think about the Millennial generation as a homogeneous cohort; they all use their phones, they are all on social media, they all interact with each other, so naturally they all want the same thing. Wrong. Personalization will be what drives Millennial brand love and loyalty in a market where young consumers are aching to express their individuality together.

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