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Millennial-Powered Brands

Three brands tapping into their Millennial audience’s creativity and feedback to power marketing, readership, and content.

Young consumers are happy to give brands their feedback, and smart companies are tapping into their ideas, creativity, and personal branding prowess to improve their products, create authentic marketing efforts, and more.

We’ve written before about co-creation, and told you that 81% of Millennials say that they would be interested in helping a brand or company design a new product, and 87% of Millennials say that they think brands should get consumers like them to give opinions before creating them. Younger consumers believe that brands should be listening to them, and that if they make enough noise their opinions will be heard—and they keep being proven right. From product creation to marketing, we’re seeing more—often young—brands turn to their Millennial consumers to help shape the direction of the brand. Here are three up and coming companies that are fuelling their efforts with the help of their young fans: 


This daily newsletter has two Millennial founders and thanks to their passionate, and growing, mostly Millennial-female audience they have found big success in a relatively short time. But TheSkimm has always relied on their young readership to shape their brand. Their first hire outside of the founders was reportedly a passionate subscriber, and they’ve created a structured program to turn more young, engaged readers (they boast a 40% open rate) into mini-marketers. The brand uses their newsletter to recruit influencers to act as word-of-mouth Skimm ambassadors (they call them Skim’bassadors): readers who get 10 friends to sign up are asked to participate. These select readers then have chances to attend special events, win prizes, and network with other Skim’bassadors. The Skim-bassador community is currently made up of 6,000 female Millennials across the country, and the brand reports that 10% of their signups are thanks to the group. 


Young consumers are redefining fame, and digital celebrities can hold more sway with them than traditional stars. BeautyCon is a company built for “the new generation of self-made content creators,” their audience, and the brands that want to work with both. The digital media company aggregates online content from Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Vine that’s relevant to their female 16-24-year-old readers. They also throw events (BeautyCons) featuring YouTube, Vine, and Instagram influencers, and connects brands with young female consumers via sponsorships, product testing, and marketing. The site has seen impressive growth, and is now working with range of big name brands. But they are very discerning in what projects they’ll pick up, and rely on their readers to guide them. CEO Moj Mahdara tells Fast Company that a group of 50 “inner circle” BeautyCon fans help decide what “the best fit for the audience will be” and if they don’t like something, BeautyCon won’t do it. This high-powered group of BeautyCon girls communicate with the brand via Google Hangout, and receive perks like event tickets and free membership to Beautycons BFF subscription boxes in return for their opinions.


Shake Shack seems to be succeeding in targeting consumers who want higher quality fast food, a more unique in-store experience, and brand transparency (a.k.a. Millennials). Their locations are designed to tell the brand’s story, with information on local food sources prominently displayed, perks like employee-curated playlist downloads, and “non-chain” feeling décor. But they are also tapping into those young fans to shape their authentic online branding. Their Instagram feed is full of reblogged shots of burgers and shakes that customers have posted, and their signature buzzers’ catchy slogans “encourage customers to take pictures and share.” Above having creative and well done ‘foodtography,’ the brand is constantly engaging with followers, reposting content, responding to their comments, and running contests like “Burger Beats,” which invites musicians to submit their music for a chance to have it played at Shake Shack locations around the world.