For Millennial consumers, useful is the new cool

So how do you co-create something that's engaging, interesting and "share-able" for millennials. Make it cool.

"Why are chicken wings so popular with millennials?" asked keynote speaker Jeff From of the audience at the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. "Because they're an affordable flavor adventure."

According to Fromm, more than 69% of millennials consider themselves to be adventurous, a theme that's being capitalized upon by savvy brands in, and outside of, the food industry.

Brands highlighted by Fromm include Heineken, which has an innovative participatory marketing scheme that includes a "Travel Roulette" game at airports that asks travelers to spin the wheel for a chance to win a brand new vacation. The catch? Participants have to change their plans and leave immediately.

Other brand innovators include Ball Jars, Krispy Kreme Donuts and Dollar Shave Club. Fromm told the audience that it's no longer about advertising but instead about ideas.

"You have to ask and answer two questions; first, is this idea in our brand authority; and two, can we afford to make this bet?" said Fromm, encouraging participants to think outside the box about their engagement with millennial consumers. "If the answer is yes then hit the 'go' button."

Fromm also emphasized that traditional marketing is no longer valid for a millennial consumer, noting that millennials are not a "target audience," but instead a partner.

"We talk a lot about storytelling," explained Fromm.  "We live in a participation-economy and millennial mindset consumers want to co-create the story with you. It’s their story. And when they create the story they share it."

So how do you co-create something that's engaging, interesting and "share-able" for millennials? "Useful is the new cool," Fromm explained, recognizing that taking risks and throwing out the old rule book is challenging and scary.

Fromm's parting words of wisdom for Summit attendees: "stand for something other than your bottom line," and, "start a movement."  

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