Brand activation is the execution of a marketing process used to generate awareness, drive consumer actions, and build lasting connections through interaction and brand experiences to activate your brand to life. Brand activation strategy helps in growing awareness of a company by connecting and interacting with the target audiences on a personal level.
Earlier the personal connection between brands and their audience was one of the plus points, but at present, this connection is the only way for a brand to succeed in the modern age. Contemporary business owners and marketers are setting long-lasting personal connections between their products and target audience to develop an emotional bonding to optimize success. All in all, personal values are more effective than business values in making more productive purchase decisions.
What Is Brand Activation?
Definition: Brand activation is defined as a process of making a brand popular as well as lovable. It is the art of creating awareness and building a long-lasting connection with the target audience. It includes events, campaigns, and interactive sessions with them.
In the words of HubSpot-
Brand activations are in-person events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between a brand and their target audience.
Most of the time, marketers allow their audience to establish direct engagement with their brands and products through interactions and content marketing campaigns. People often tend to misunderstand the concept of brand activation with general strategies of branding, as most of the brands aim to build connections and spread awareness among their audience base.
But it is important to understand here that brand activation refers to the significant events and campaigns that give a unique experience to develop emotional connections to activate your brand to life which is different from the usual process of branding.
Why are Brand Activations Important?
But your target audiences don’t know you beforehand.
Also, the few people who are aware of the launch do not have any attachment with your brand.
Thus, you have to establish an engagement with your audience by developing emotional connections.
You have to show them the purpose, which will excite them to know more about your brand. For ensuring all this, you have to make your brand active.
Some of the key reasons why brand activation campaigns are important here are-
- It is a one-of-a-kind experience for your audience. The audience gets to interact with you on a personal level. It helps your brand in leaving an imprint on the mind of the audience. Thus, it leads to an ever-lasting connection.
- Brand activation helps your brand to come back to life. It allows drawing the attention of new customers. It also helps your existing customers to reinvent the brand. It helps you to understand what the audience thinks about you.
- The right way of approach will give your brand remarkable effects. Studies found that more people are prone to like and connect with the brands that have undergone the activation procedure.
Types Of Successful Brand Activation
It is very crucial to know that activating a brand needs a lot of preparation. It is more than marketing campaigns and events.
But people who want to switch on their brands have a wide range of options ahead of them. Without any further ado, let us dive into the different types of brand activation that one may consider-
1. Experiential Marketing
It is one of the crucial strategies that a brand can adopt. Here, the brand creates an experience that is more like real-world. By doing so, they can rightfully succeed in the process of engaging their audience.
The experience not only includes any significant product of a brand. But it helps in showcasing the values and emotions that a brand believes to their target audience. Experiential marketing often involves the live participation of the audience.
With the advancement in technology, virtual campaigns are also giving nail-biting competition. People can now avail themselves of games, virtual tours, interactive sessions, and content from their own house.
2. Free trial and Sampling Campaigns
The sampling campaign is the most engaging and transparent form of activation of a brand. The significant purpose here is to let the audience try a product for free, and in the process, they will love it. You can hope that they will add the product to their wishlist and spend money on it. Otherwise, they can also choose an alternative option of the same.
We all have encounter people who tried to push their sample products into our hands. It is often not the best way to reach a customer. People tend to avoid an over-eager approach, which results in no customer. It is very crucial to select a venue that people will like and where they will feel comfortable.
Digital campaigns are easier to conduct. You can send your free sample to some of your audience. It will land as a surprise to them. Also, you can ask them to share their pictures with the free product on their social media platforms. People can also opt for an email campaign if they provide intangible products, such as software. You can ask your audience to use the product for free through email.
3. In-store brand activation
The significant purpose of activating a brand is to build a solid connection between the brand and its audience. The best area to start a brand activation is the headquarters of the businesses. Retailers and most B2C settings adopt this method.
They offer beverages and foods to their audience and allows them to get their hands on free products. People tend to appreciate approaches like this, and they also observe how these brands treat their consumers.
It is unlikely to witness such an approach in the B2B market. It is not possible in the B2B structure, as there is an involvement of desks and cubicles everywhere. But you can always choose the event to take place outdoor in your office.
This way, the audience can have an interactive session with the officials directly and enjoy their food.
4. Trade shows and industry events
Another way to activate your business is by conducting trade shows. Online seminars or live presentations can help you attract new audiences. You can also draw new consumers by booking a booth to showcase your trade show.
It helps in building the authority of the brand. Also, an industry event allows you to check the other techniques of brand activation.
Tips For Effective Brand Activation Campaign
Before moving on to the examples, one shall know the tips for effective brand activation. You may opt for any technique of brand activation. You shall remember the following guidelines to carve out the best possible experience for your audience.
1. Respecting your audience
Brand activation strategies are sometimes mistaken and misunderstood as publicity stunts. It is understood so when you cross the limits for snatching the limelight for your brand. You need to understand that a customer often tends to keep in mind unfavorable interactions with a brand.
It is also possible to have an adverse effect when the activation of a brand goes wrong. It leaves an imprint on the mind of the customers, and they tend to ignore the brand. It is crucial to crafting the events and the campaign, keeping in mind your consumers. You shall remember that an offensive or uncomfortable approach may push away your audience.
2. Keep a humanize approach
You shall know that human interactions help achieve a better speed for the activation of a brand and help in establishing a significant relationship with prospective consumers. It is crucial to include a human representative of the brand despite the methods you choose.
For instance, people may set an eye on the hoardings of your brand. But they feel a personal connection when your employees approach them through pop-up booths. This way, people can build trust in your brand. The employees act as the brand’s face. Thus, your brand appears in a humanizing way which leaves a long-lasting effect on the consumers.
3. Don’t shock but surprise your audience
Brand activation is not a mere cakewalk. You shall always be respectful towards your audience. But you can also give surprise your audience and help them feel cheerful. The components that you use for surprising your audience become the most effective tools for your brand.
It is always a delightful experience when your audience does not expect and fun activity but gets to enjoy the same uninvited. It is crucial to take chances. But you shall also keep in mind the core values of your brand. This way, you can get creative and remain on the same page as your audience.
4. Prioritize the feedback
It is very crucial to remember that brand activation involves interaction with your audience. In the process, you shall also accept feedback from your consumers. They shall place their thoughts and experiences of your brand with clarity.
This way, you can spot the areas where you need to improve. It will also help you to redefine your products. It is very important for an effective brand activation to make the whole process a two-way street where your engagements with your audiences are based upon their feedback about your earlier attempts.
Examples of Brand Activation Campaigns
It is crucial to understand that activation of a brand is creative and unique in its way. But you can always gain inspiration from some top brands. Consider the following successful brand campaign examples-
1. HBO | SXSWestworld
For promoting the second season of HBO hit show Westworld, they designed a miniature replica of the show’s Wild-West-themed amusement park in Austin, Texas for attendees of SXSW 2018 to explore and feel like they were actually in an episode of Westworld.
It is one of the well-known brands around the globe. The brand has something to teach you with its brand activation strategy of the “One Night on iPhone 7” campaign. Here, the brand took help from various photographers and asked them to take pictures through their cameras. Later, they used these pictures to showcase the low-light image capturing abilities that the new iPhone had.
3. Lipton Iced Tea
The brand strategically installed a giant water slide in the middle of downtown London. It drew people towards them when they handed over the free samples. It helped them promote their new campaign.
One of the best campaigns, where the brand caught the eyes of the daily passers was At the WayHome Music Festival where they created a branded “misting station”. The Vitaminwater team allowed them to cool down themselves in the misting station while heading towards the concert ground.
5. Nordstrom | Merchandise-free Shops
Nordstrom which is known for its luxury merchandise decided to set up special shops that only sell experiences in the year 2017. They offered styling, sampling, and makeover services that ensured delightful as well as memorable experiences. It helped the brand in developing a better emotional connection that users buying a product. Such sorts of experiences were quite pivotal in making compelling stories that consumers will always remember and feel happy to share with others as well.
Ideas for an Effective Brand Activation Strategy
1. Encourage customer promotion
Sonic came up with the idea that if you cannot see your customers posting about your brand on their social media platforms, you are not connecting correctly with them.
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to ask your customers to post about your brands. It helps in creating a social buzz.
2. Give your audience what they want
Durango Boots came up with the idea of a fun event where cowboys and cowgirls could have a fun experience on the go.
3. Make use of the technology
It is very crucial to make use of the current technology. It helps in engaging the customers to your brand. Ready Player One strategically came up with the idea of virtually engaging their customers.
4. Include your team
It is another crucial thing to include your team in brand awareness. Warby Parker came up with this idea. They involved their employees, who became the face of their brand.
5. Partner with influencers
Starbucks came up with the idea of partnering with influencers as the influencer market is growing throughout the world. It becomes helpful to ask the influencers to partner with your product and promote them.
In addition to this, you should always try to make your event interactive. This helps the audience to place their feedback on live events. It also helps the brand to grow and provide its customers with the preferred products.
What is the end goal of Brand Activation?
After considering all the methods of brand activation, you shall remember that it does not indicate additional sales. The end goal is crucial, but the process helps in building a personal connection with your audience.
Also, it helps to establish a two-way process where you can get feedback from your audience. It also helps in leaving an imprint of your brand in their minds. This way, they can engage with your brand with ease.
The kind of emotional connection that brand activations channelize is considered highly effective in developing a loyal customer base and sustainable market presence.
Wrap up on Brand Activation!
Brand activation is a long process where you need to keep calm and work on the successful building of your brand. It helps to provide the boost to your brand that you were searching for.
You shall remember that activation of your brand is a crucial part of your branding strategy. It offers a specific kind of experience to your consumers because of which they would not only like opting for your brand but also share their story with others to boost your word-of-mouth marketing.