Brand activations can help you differentiate your business. As a business owner, manager or marketer, there are several things you have in common with every other business owner out there. You all want to create the best product, service or experience that you can for your customer base. You all want to successfully compete with any competitor businesses. And you all want to spread the word about your business or brand to as many people as possible.
No matter how wonderful your brand or product is, it’s tough to be successful if people don’t know who you are. The first step of any successful business or organization, then, it is spreading the word about your brand and introducing people to the quality work you do.
How can your business or brand get its name out to your community and the world? Is there a specific set of steps you need to follow? Are there cheats and hacks that will streamline this process?
This is an important process called brand activation, and it’s something done by companies of all shapes and sizes — from the very biggest to the smallest. We want to help you share who you are and what you do with the world, so we’ll walk you through this process and talk about different ways you can make it work for you and your organization.
What Is Brand Activation?
Brand activation is a campaign or event through which you make the general public aware of your brand. Typically, it involves creating a brand experience people can see and engage with. Brand activation creates a positive emotional reaction in your audience. It makes them laugh, it surprises them and it brings them joy. It grabs them on an emotional level, leading to long-term emotional investment that will make them think of your brand with fondness, and want to choose you over your competitors.
This term might sound like just another meaningless piece of jargon. It’s not — brand activation is extremely relevant and more than an expression. When used correctly, brand activation can create very real results for you, your brand and your customer base.
Brand activation is a powerful tool, and you should never underestimate how much it can help you. This is especially relevant to new brands that are just starting out and need to spread the word about themselves for the first time. If you’re just opening your doors, brand activation campaigns are vital to staying afloat.
However, brand activation is also essential for existing and even well-established businesses. If an established business wants to rebrand itself and begin heading in a different direction, brand activation is needed. Such a campaign will inform the public about the company’s new direction and create excitement in customers to experience this new brand for themselves.
How Is Brand Activation Different From Ordinary Marketing?
Based on this definition, you might notice that brand activation sounds quite a bit like regular marketing. So how is brand activation is different from regular marketing? Are they the same thing, and one just has a fancier name?
The short answer is yes and also no. They are two separate concepts, but there is some overlap between them. Brand marketing refers to the continuous and ongoing process of promoting your brand and creating your public image. Brand activation refers to a specific, limited campaign that takes place as a business is just starting off, or as a business is trying to kick off a new identity.
In this sense, brand activation does involve brand marketing. However, brand marketing continues long after the initial brand activation has ended. The two are linked and work together in a symbiotic relationship. Brand marketing continues the work that brand activation began, and without brand activation, there would be no brand to market.
What Are Some Methods of Brand Activation?
It’s easy enough to talk about brand activation as an abstract concept, but it’s another thing to turn that concept into tangible results for your brand. So what are some of the actual ways you can start your brand off with a bang, letting people have a memorable experience and develop positive associations with your company or business?
It’s impossible to say what the best brand activation strategies are since every brand has a unique image and experience that they want to sell to the customer. One company may want to focus purely on their product and how well it performs. Another company may want to market themselves as a fun and caring organization that will always help you have a good time.
Because these two companies are looking to portray such different things and create such different emotional reactions in their audiences, they will likely want to employ different brand activation styles.
While there are endless ways to go about creating your brand activation campaign, there are a few ways that experts consider tried-and-true strategies. If you’re looking for suggestions, try using one of these ideas. You might also draw inspiration from this list and go on to create your own brand activation method that’s unique to you.
1. EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING
One of the best and most effective ways of activating your brand is to allow people to experience it for themselves with a technique called experiential marketing. It’s a great way to market yourself since it not only advertises your brand to people, but it also helps your product stick in people’s mind because they were allowed to try it for themselves.
Imagine if two different companies were advertising soda to you. One company let you try the soda for yourself, the other company played a TV commercial that showed other people drinking the soda. For most of us, the first soda brand — the one you got to try for yourself — is the one you’d remember. This is just a hypothetical scenario, but it does a great way of showing how experiential marketing can be much more effective than a simple poster or TV commercial.
An important thing to note is that not everyone needs to have the experience for this to be effective. Since it is hardly practical to allow the entire world to take part in your experiential marketing, one technique is to enable larger audiences to experience the marketing secondhand. This allows you to combine experiential marketing with ordinary advertising methods.
For example, if you’re letting a group of people taste-test your new food product and compare it to a competitor brand, it’s impractical to include too many people in this event. Because of this, you might let this small group participate in the actual event, but you might also film it and turn it into a commercial. This way, you can reach wider audiences than you could ever reach with one single experiential campaign. Those who see the commercial won’t have the same immediate experience as the test-group, but they will still see the video and form an impression of your brand.
2. SAMPLING CAMPAIGNS
A sampling campaign is an event where you allow groups of people to try a small sample of your brand or product for free. The hope is that people will sample your product and enjoy it enough to remember it, purchase it again later and tell their friends about it.
This works well because it not only allows people to try things to free but it also creates positive associations with your brand. It shows people that you’re an organization that cares about people. It shows that you care what your audience thinks, and you really want to give them a good deal.
It usually isn’t enough to just sit at the roadside handing out free products, however. For the best results, you’ll want to find relevant events and spaces in which to hand out your products. This way, you can be more confident that your products are reaching their intended audience.
3. IN-STORE BRAND ACTIVATION
This type of customer experience usually involves holding special events in your actual building, such as free giveaways or discounted prices. You might also set up stations where customers can try out your products for themselves before they buy them. This type of event truly capitalizes on the experiential element of brand activation and is ideal for leaving customers with a positive impression of you and what you do.
As valuable as in-store brand activation is, however, it’s more well-suited to some types of organizations than others. For example, if you’re a restaurant or a retail store, it can work wonders by allowing people to come in and experience your products. If you’re more of a service business, non-profit organization, or something else that perhaps doesn’t have actual products to show off, a different strategy might work better and be more profitable.
4. BRAND ACTIVATION AT DIFFERENT LOCATIONS
While you can, of course, hold your brand activation event in your own building if this is an option, you may often find that you’ll have better results if you take your event on the road. If you’re just activating your brand, the odds are that not many people have heard of you, and they may not attend your event if it’s held in your store. If you reach out to them from a public place, however, you may have a higher success rate.
Just a few of the great places you might hold your event include:
Festivals: Brand activations at festivals are often huge successes, as these are places where large crowds of people gather to have fun and experience new things. Here, you’ll easily encounter people with an open mind who are willing to try your service or product.
- Trade Shows: If there is a trade show relevant to your industry happening near you, this is the ideal location to show off your new brand. With trade show activations, you can almost guarantee that you’ll be interacting with your target audience.
- Sporting Events: A sporting event activation might be particularly effective if you’re trying to activate a brand of food or beverage. This is the ideal setting to hand out free samples and show off your products.
- Popular Attractions: Brainstorm popular attractions near you. Are there any public landmarks? What about theme parks, zoos or popular parks? All of these are great places to find large crowds of people who aren’t in a particular hurry and who are willing to try something new.
Brand Activation Tips
With all of these ideas under your belt, you should have a great foundation on which to build your brand activation campaign. Some final notes to add to your considerations are as follows.
1. MAXIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
The importance of social media cannot be underestimated. In today’s fast-paced world, one of the best ways you can get yourself noticed is by being an active presence on social media. Are you running a brand activation event? Film it and post it on Facebook. Did you get endorsements from people during this event? Quote them on your Twitter. Encourage people to post the pictures they took from your event on Instagram and tag you in them.
When it comes to making your brand known, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to ignore social media. If used correctly, social media can be your biggest ally when it comes to creating an awareness of your brand.
2. DON’T FORGET ABOUT PR
The best way to supplement your brand activation events is with a strong social media presence. The second best way is to implement a strong PR campaign to back it all up. Are you going to be letting people try free samples of your product? Are you running an in-store event? Then it’s time to tell the world about it.
Call up your local newspaper or TV station. Ask them to run a story about it. By doing this, you’re ensuring that you’ll be reaching far more people than those who attend your event. You’ll also be reaching anyone who reads the paper or turns on the evening news.
3. THE FINAL RESULT
When you invite people to actively participate in your new or newly re-designed brand, you aren’t just giving them a fun experience or a free product. You’re creating a positive emotional response that will develop and turn into loyalty to your company and your brand.
Through one good experience, people will come to associate your brand with these positive feelings. In the future, they will see your logo and hear your name and remember your brand activation event. Even if they were not present for the event, they will remember hearing about it. This gives you an advantage over companies that they may have never heard of or ones that they had a negative experience with.
How PixiCloud Can Help With Your Brand Activation Event
As you plan your important brand activation event, you’ll want to explore all the different ways you can make it a fun, unique and memorable experience for everyone involved. Will you give away free samples? Have music playing? Serve food? Will you have contests? There’s no end to all the fun ways you can spice up your event. One of the best ways to do just this is by adding PixiCloud to the fun!
A PixiCloud photo kiosk is an easy and convenient open-air photo booth that makes the perfect addition to your activation event. It’s more than just an ordinary photo booth, however. It’s designed to streamline the sharing process and to help you market both your brand and your event.
This unique little photo booth is great for your customers and participants because it’s a perfect way for them to capture the fun and exceptional experience they’ve had at your brand activation event. Once they’ve captured these memories, we make it easy to share these photos with a single swipe. As wonderful as PixiCloud is for the participants, it’s also great for you. All the images will be marked with your brand’s logo or name so that every time one of them is shared, you will be receiving free advertising.
So how can we help you with your brand activation campaign? It’s simple. If you’re hosting an experiential marketing campaign, why not take some great snapshots to circulate to a wider audience? Hosting a sampling campaign? Consider letting your customers pose for a photo with the product they’re sampling. Afterward, let them share the photos on their social media. Having an in-store event? Capture every moment of it. Encourage your guests to check our social media pages to find the photos, effectively directing traffic toward your social media profiles.
Whether you’re worried about getting customers engaged in your event, about having enough photos to share online afterward, or about motivating people to visit your social media profiles, there’s no need to worry anymore. With us working for you, all of these problems are solved.
We’ve worked with brands ranging from movie theaters, clothing stores, pop-up shops, real estate agencies and more, and we’d love to work with your brand as well. Learn more about our services today and how it can help turn your brand activation event into the easily shareable occasion that helps get your name in the forefront of everyone’s minds.