Today, a brand is more than the sum total of its ads or marketing initiatives. A brand is also the consumers it pursues, and in fact, modern consumers frequently determine which brands they should purchase based on how those brands express their own self-image.

In light of this trend, marketers need to do more than identify a target demographic and charge straight toward them; instead, marketers need to craft open brands that leverage collaboration with consumers as a competitive advantage and that make consumers feel they have a hand in shaping the brand. Take a look below to learn some of the secrets of open, collaborative brands.

Focus on Purpose and Values

Millennials, now the nation’s largest generation, are quite socially-conscious, and they look for brands that allow them to express those sentiments. 91% of millennials prefer brands that are associated with a particular cause, and 87% are willing to buy products with positive social or environmental impacts, placing them above the national average in both categories. As a result, brands that align themselves with larger social or environmental causes attract consumers who support those causes and who want to use the brand as a vehicle to project their own attitudes on that issue.

Cultivate Community

Contemporary technology has made it easier than ever for companies and brands to interact with consumers, especially in public forums like social media. Engaging with consumers via social media and other platforms is an excellent way to create trust between your brand and your consumers, which makes consumers feel valued and makes it easier to retain them or keep them engaged in the future. And, if executed well, these efforts can lead to organic promotions as consumers—members of your brand community—showcase the brand in their own lives and networks.

Use Culture to Your Advantage

Incorporating touchstones from the current cultural moment into your advertising can help to instantly communicate a message to consumers. It speaks to them directly in the language of their everyday lives and makes them think that the brand understands who they are and what they want or need in ways that can be more effective than a traditional pitch or explanation of the product.