Whether you are a new business owner looking to establish your brand with your target demographic or an established company looking to rebrand or relaunch existing products – learning the ins and outs of brand activation is essential.
More than just another marketing buzzword, brand activation is an essential and effective process that will allow you to strategies and execute a targeted launch that will help you stand out in today’s competitive market.
Below we will look at the importance of brand activation, how it differs from other types of marketing, and highlight some brand activation ideas which can prove effective and profitable for South African companies.
What is Brand Activation?
Brand activation describes the process of making your brand known and attractive to your target audience, and increasing the chances of sales through increasing customer awareness, recognition, and engagement.
When you first start a business, develop a brand, or produce a product; your target audience aren’t going to be seeking out you and your company. A brand activation needs to be enacted so that you can actively communicate with your prospective customers and make them aware of your existence.
Brand activation ideas are essential if you are going to establish a recognizable brand or product which carves out a profitable position amongst your competition. Expecting success without a targeted marketing strategy based around your new brand is unlikely to translate into serious profits and company sustainability.
And, implementing brand activation is not only important for a new business. Many established companies benefit from relaunches and rebrands of existing products that have been refreshed and adjusted to become more competitive and attractive to customers.
Why is Brand Activation So Important?
So, why should you invest your time and money in concentrated brand activation ideas specifically?
In today’s fast-moving world of digital marketing and e-commerce, your brand has to compete against thousands of other companies offering similar products and services. Each business will be doing everything it can to snag interested customers by making its brand as impressive, noticeable, and tempting as possible.
Simply introducing your brand into the mix without a detailed and targeted strategy is unlikely to yield profitability. Expert marketers are working with brand owners to execute the most effective, viral, and interactive methods to create buzz and brand loyalty.
You need to give new customers a reason to notice you, and different brand activation methods such as a pop up experience, guerilla marketing, experiential marketing, and in-store promotions can all be effective if targeted correctly.
A brand activation strategy will allow you to introduce and present your brand to your customers in a way that will create an emotional connection, develop an interest in your product, and develop a memory of your product and imagery.
Now that we know exactly why brand activation is so important in today’s marketing landscape, let’s look at the process in a little more detail.
Defining Brand Activation
What is the Difference Between A Brand Activation and Brand Marketing?
You may have read the above and questioned exactly how a brand activation differed from standard brand marketing. Well, the key difference is that the process of a brand activation campaign is that of moving your brand from its current status to a new and improved level.
Brand marketing, in contrast, is a continual process that oversees the strategy, execution, promotion, and assessment of your company and products.
So, while the activities of a brand activation strategy can fall into the brand marketing category, they are a specific set of experiential and promotional activities with a unique and targeted objective.
How Do Brand Activations Create a Meaningful Customer Interaction?
The most effective brand activations will be effective in creating an emotional connection between your target audience and your brand. To create a connection with one of your customers, you need to attract them and create engagement with your brand.
Experiential marketing created to engage with a customer through experiential and interactive promotions can be an essential part of brand activation campaigns.
If this is a successful and effective engagement, a positive memory of your products and brands will be created which will increase the chances of a sale either on the spot or later on.
Successful brand activation campaigns can improve brand equity, improve brand awareness, and influence target audience perception. All of which will help your brand to stand out from the competition and increase the chances of sales.
Different Types of Activation Marketing
Now let’s look at some brand activation examples which will give you a clearer idea of how this process can promote your brand with a target audience effectively.
The right type of brand activation campaign for your product will depend on a lot of variables, including your product, target audience, price point, and budget. An expert in brand activation will be able to create a well-researched, detailed, and brand-specific plan for your audience which will increase brand awareness with your customer demographic.
One of the most popular brand activation examples is experimental marketing. This describes the process of crafting an experience for your customers rather than using traditional marketing methods such as print, tv, and digital advertising.
This unique approach is usually created with a clear aim of encouraging your audience to interact and engage. The brand experience will be provided through expert experiential marketers who will interact with your audience and create a positive emotional connection and experience between the brand and the customer.
In-store pop up installations, immersive experiences, brands giving away samples of their products, event marketing, and product showcases can all help to promote your brand to the right customers and create a connection between your audience and brand.
With a huge audience of potential customers online, you can harness the power of one of the powerful influencers online who already has an established voice with your audience.
Whether a one-time promotion or as part of an ongoing collaboration, these brand activation examples are a great way to introduce the brand to an audience that is made up of certain demographics, locations, or interests.
Choosing the right types of influencer for your brand activation campaign can be one of the most effective ways to introduce the brand to your audience in a positive and memorable light. An influencer audience is more likely to trust the opinion and recommendations of someone they like and follow, rather than claims which are presented by the company alone.
Influencers with millions of followers or fans are likely to charge more for a post or story mentioning your product. These marketing posts will be seen by huge audiences, so many global brands find this an effective brand activation idea for their new products.
But, if this isn’t a good match for your brand, you can find local or micro-influencers in South Africa who have built up dedicated audiences who are more likely to view product and brand recommendations in a more interested and engaged light.
Social Media Marketing
Although experiential marketing such as a pop up campaign, or marketing event can be very important for successful brand activation, the huge audience available online should not be ignored.
With a detailed and targetted social media brand activation campaign, you can introduce your products to huge numbers of your target audience through viral online campaigns.
The targets of a brand activation social media campaign can vary from increasing overall brand awareness to engagement campaigns and giveaways. Other brand activation examples include advocacy campaigns that encourage social media users to promote and recommend your brand to followers, friends, and family online.
Social media is a great way to introduce your brand to a large audience and is an area you can continue to utilize continuously throughout your brand marketing campaign.
Examples of Brand Activations Ideas
Now that we have looked at the general types of brand activation marketing, lets take a look at some successful examples which allowed companies to promote products in a memorable, effective, and positive way.
Example of Experiential brand activation Marketing
The promotion of M&M “flavor rooms” in New York City is a great example of experiential marketing done right. The confectionery company used different flavor option pop up rooms with smells, decor, drinks, and snacks that people could enjoy to promote the brand activation of a new flavor sweet.
This was an effective way to engage with customers, increase press interest, and the rooms gave plenty of photo opportunities for attendees to share to their social media feeds.
Influencer brand activation Marketing Example
Dunkin Donuts decided to use the huge following of the TikTok star Charli D’Amelio for the brand activation of a new drink which they named “the Charli!”
With a dedicated hashtag and regular updates from their social influencer, Dunkin Donuts saw a substantial difference to their app downloads as D’Amelio’s fans began to engage with the brand.
Examples of Social Media brand activation Marketing
Airbnb and the film studio behind Hocus Pocus 2 partnered on social media to promote the new film. Jumping on the 90s revival trends, Airbnb created a rental that was uniquely tailored to the film and used various influencers to promote the stay on social media.
Several influencers were invited to stay at the rental and their experiences were shared online, promoting both the rental and the movie on social media leading up to the theatrical release.
The Activation Marketing Process
Now that we have looked at some different brand activations examples, here is a rundown of how to make a unique and effective brand activation strategy from scratch.
What is your brand message and USP?
Before you get started planning how to connect with your customers. You need to make sure you have a clear idea of the message your want to get across. Think about what you want your brand to represent, what are your company values, and how you want your audience to view your products.
What is Your Target Audience?
From the start, you need a clear idea of your customer demographic. Who is most likely to need, be interested in, and buy your product?
You need to come up with a complete customer avatar so you have a clear idea of their lifestyle, personality, and shopping habits. For example, you can ask questions such as – How old are they? Where do they live? Where do they shop? What are some examples of their interests? What type of social media do they use?
All of this will have a direct influence on the type of brand activation strategy you come up with.
Analyse Your Brand’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Before a brand activation can be planned, you should make sure you have a clear idea of the positives and negatives of your products, what market opportunities are out there, and what threats there are to your success.
You also need to consider what resources and budget you have available, and whether you want to contact a brand activation professional who can help you connect with customers cost–effectively.
What Brand Activations Examples Will Work Best With Your Audience?
There are a lot of different marketing options if you want to connect with customers and promote your brand. But you need to think about which types of events are likely to attract the attention of your audience and play to their interests.
For example, using virtual reality installation to advertise to older audiences may not be effective; and a pop up installation in a budget store will prove to be ineffective if your price point is higher than they are willing to pay.
Consider How You Will Manage and Assess Your Brand Activation Campaign
Who will be responsible for overseeing your brand campaign? If you have the budget, you might consider hiring a specialist marketer who has the expertise and experience to make a successful launch of your product. If not, who on your team will be responsible for market research, sourcing materials, arranging contracts, and executing events?
You will also need to decide on a way to analyze the success of your campaign. Think about what your goals are – Do you want to hit a certain sales target for the product? Do you want to get a certain amount of people to follow your social media channels? Your success needs to be measurable so that you have a clear idea of what marketing methods to use again, and which options don’t work for your customer base and need to be switched.
Make Sure You Are Creative, Unique, and Innovative in Your Approach
To make sure that your brand activation can be as effective as possible, you need to make sure that your event and online marketing are creative and noticeable enough to make your target customers take notice.
As we discussed above, one of the reasons that brand activation is so important is that you are facing an incredible amount of competition from local and global competitors. You need to make your brand and products stand out from the crowd.
If you are uncertain about how to make sure your event or campaign is successful as a brand activation activity, then it may make more sense to hire a professional service and make the most of their experience and skills
What Are The Benefits of Brand Activation?
The activation of a brand or product can initially seem overwhelming to those not familiar with marketing. But this is not an area you should disregard, in fact, it can be internal to the success of the product or brand you are launching.
Here are some of the benefits of creating a tailored brand activation strategy.
- Found an engaged and interactive relationship with your customer base from the outset.
- Increase ROI on your marketing efforts by creating a tailored introduction of your products to the target audience.
- Develop an emotional connection with your prospective customers.
- Give your customers a reason to spend money on a product from your brand rather than the competition.
- Introduce your product to your audience so that they get the correct message about your brand.
- Revitalize current product sales by refreshing or rebranding your current marketing approaches.
- Increase awareness of your overall brand by executing brand activation ideas for your new products.
- Build long-term customer loyalty by the effective introduction of the product to the target customer base.
- Alter the current perception of your company or brand, by using brand activation strategies.
- Lower the cost and scale of follow-up marketing by making a strong and impactful impression from the start.
- Your customers will relate to your product in a positive, fun, and relaxed light that doesn’t come across as too salesy or pushy.
- Boost the promotion of all of your current products with the brand activation of a new line or range.
Conclusion: What is Brand Activation in Marketing? – Brand Activations Ideas and Examples
In today’s highly competitive market, a clear brand activation strategy is essential to the success of a launch. Brand activation ideas will help you to target the right customers and introduce your products in the most positive and profitable light.
Simply introducing your product onto the market, without a well-researched and executed brand activation campaign is unlikely to provide as much ROI as a clear strategy will. So, whether you are a new business owner, or someone looking to improve the engagement levels of their current customer base – you need to start applying this effective marketing strategy.
Start thinking about how some of the brand activations examples above could possibly work for your company and how to most effectively engage and communicate with your target customers. The success of your next launch could depend on it.