It is likely that you may have never heard of the term “Brand Activation” until I just used it now…and that is fine. To those not super engrained in the marketing world you would have no reason to know what this term means, but you most likely have engaged with one at some point. To put it simply a Brand Activation is an event, a really big and organized event, that is designed to connect consumers with a product or service in a unique and memorable way. Remember those Coca-Cola cans and bottles with everyone’s name written on the side? Although that may have seemed like a creative gimmick, that campaign put together by Coca-Cola was a brand activation event on massive scale.
So what is a brand activation again?
Brand Activation’s are a considered a subset of marketing underneath the umbrella of “Experiential Marketing”. Experiential Marketing, as its name suggests, is marketing that is focused on experience and connecting people to products and services in ways that invoke some type of emotion. Many of these brand activations take place in the form of organized events that required many meticulous hours of planning, organizing, and setting up. They typically take place in larger venues with plenty of space such as exhibition halls, conference centers, etc., but can also take place on a smaller scale in large public spaces such as malls, department stores, and even on the street. In today’s world of ever expanding digital technology and diminishing attention spans companies are more pressed than ever to connect with consumers in unique and lasting ways to get them to buy a product or service. Over the past few years many companies have switched to this model and are investing more marketing dollars than ever before in brand activation events in attempt to steal some of that valuable consumer attention that is dropping by the decade. Events such as the Coca-Cola “Share A Coke” campaign, Lean Cusine’s “#WeighThis” campaign, and Bud Light’s “Whatever USA” campaign were all very successful events that connected consumers with the brands behind the event.
Five Steps to Design a Brand Activation
As you can begin to tell these events, if done properly, can make a huge impact on thousands of people in a very short period of time. In our experience these events always need to start with a concrete set of goals that can reach a defined audience, they need to be planned, organized, and offer an experience unlike anything that has been done before. Here are five tips to plan a great brand activation:
- Decide what action you want your consumers to take. Do you want to increase sales? Spread brand awareness? A combination of both? Start by defining your goals and quantify them. How much your event will cost will most likely dictate that you accomplish more than just raising awareness.
- Determine how you will know that our audiences actually care about what you are doing. It would be a mistake to plan a huge event by generalizing your audience to people that really don’t care. People don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Once you have formed your objectives start planning your activation. Consider how the activation will embody your brand and meet your goals. If you’re designing a specific event think beyond the conventional and implement an idea that is entirely unique to your audience. Trust us, the results will show.
- Identify ways to leverage your activation to different promotional opportunities. Reach out to local media, issue press releases, make events on social media, do whatever you have to do to appropriately promote your activation to the people that matter most.
- Determine ways to extend your activation beyond the event. Keep the conversation going post-event through social media and identify milestones that can be celebrated. Can you implement the activation year-round? Are there ways to extend the idea to new markets? Can the activation use other tools to spread the message? Be creative!
For any brand activation it is best to look beyond just one event or initiative. A successful activation needs to be ongoing and always targeting the audiences that matter most to your brand. People are constantly looking for new things and new ways to interact with brands because they an integral part of our daily lives. Strategize on a consistent basis and compile feedback along the way. Remember, even though millions upon millions of dollars can be shoved into an advertising or social media campaign the largest ambassadors of your brand are your audience; consumers. Get them to follow you in creative and unforgettable ways and the results will speak for themselves.
Nick Myers is the Managing Partner of RedFox Creative. For more information or to leave a comment, send an email to email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!