When it comes to Branding, Marketers have to consider all options in their strategies – from Neuro-marketing to social media. But only if all elements fit seamlessly into the brand image, and at the same time “loud” enough to drown out other stimuli for the customer’s mind.
Brand Activation is one of the perfect solutions.
The term brand activation appeared in the 90s, to elevate the brand image through brand engagement to form an emotional and rational relationship between the brand and its consumers. Market Researchers believed that this type of marketing not only creates long-term loyal relationships but sometimes also an immediate responses from them.
This was a break from the traditional advertising, whose purpose was to promote only one product and not directly trigger an action.
Activating a brand meant bringing it to life. The idea is to arouse interest, to affect the purchase and to promote it in order to develop a regular response from the consumers. This is mainly about highlighting the distinctive values of the brand through a mix of operations.
“Activate = Arouse interest, test or promote product, eventually leading to customer loyalty.”
This can be achieved through hundreds of ways such as Sponsored event, Product (new) sampling in multiple sales locations, or possibly special offers. It is important to persuade the customer to first action and then establish a long-term contract.
Here are best practices of brand activation marketing for your perusal.
1. Sponsored Event
At an event, you have the opportunity to speak with all 5 senses (Sight, Smell, Taste, Hearing and Touch) of your current and potential customer and trigger their emotions in a subtle way. With the right event attraction, you can increase the visitor experience and strengthen customer loyalty.
This is the opportunity to bring your brand to life and create an unforgettable brand experience. Americans are fond of attending these types of branded events. As per the statista survery, almost 70% of them said they have attended at least one such event last year.
The famous shoe brand Adidas leverage this ideait to the fullest. They wanted their market their brand new basketball shoe. They placed these shoes 10 feet in the air and asked the consumers to hop in the air and “earn it” inside 24 seconds. This activity during the event was an attempt to associate their brand with the popular Chicago Bulls player and touch the emotion of “success” through the campaign.
2. Experiential Marketing
One of the best ways to emotionalize your brand in your consumer’s mind is include them in your brand’s experience directly. Experiential marketing has become quite famous in recent times. If done well, it creates word of mouth, viral marketing that fuels oxygen to every brand. The idea is to create intimate and memorable bonds with the consumers.
The top soft drink brand, CocaCola engaged football fans with a football-themed augmented reality experience to spark enthusiasm in them. Fans will experience on screen how its like to play with Switzerland’s star XherdanShariqi.
At the end of the match the participants are invited to take the photo with the star and enter a competition to win official match ball of the FIFA World Cup. This is a typical experiential experiential experience for CocaCola consumers. The brand used the latest AR technology and world biggest sporting event to create an immersive user-experience.
3. Product Sampling
Free product sampling is an ideal marketing strategy to attract a new customer, test a new product or penetration in a new market. Everybody loves free stuff. Also, this gets your customer talking about your brand. But you have to think over it before applying it.
Since it is a marketing activity, the results should outweigh the cost of market. For example, as a Brand custodian, you have to decide the product (should not be too expensive), the right sampling size and the location. Also, you have to decide whether to hire an agency or it is a do it yourself thing. For example, you can hire volunteer or paid staff who can wear caps and t shirts with custom made patches of the product of the brand (or both).
Mountain Dew, an energy drink targeting young consumers, took to streets for a free sampling campaign in London during the year 2012. Through this campaign, they estimated to reach half a million consumers and drive sales for retailers. They “Drew Crew” drove around the country in a branded truck handing out bottles of its product at cultural festivals and popular events.
4. In-Store Activations
An alternative to sponsored event, this type of customer experience involves events inside your own premises such as free giveaway events in your store, discounted prices. As experimentation, brands have also set up special stations where customers can try the product themselves before purchasing them.
Recently, Number of retailers have used this technique to breathe life into this vintage concept. From Kids playing area to second hand and pop up stores, retailers have taken the in-store activations to the next level of brand activations.
This is a unique experiential advertising where customer can touch and feel your product’s experience which helps them navigate further in their buying decision. This also help brand’s market their new location or store for their new or existing customers.
Primark used surprise-and-delight street team to generate brand attention, in-store visits and obviously more sales. The team, wearing custom patches of primark logo, engaged the general public of downtown Boston with brand conversations, lollipop giveaways, in-store discounts and complimentary tote bags. Through brand conversations, the team shared the brand’s use of quality materials and reasonable pricing as a convincing factor to try brand’s products.
5. Digital Activations
Digital is the current and future’s next big reality. Marketers are using this shift in marketing to their advantaging by creating brand experience through which they can reach their customers in ways never imagined before. Statista says US adult’s digital time spending is expected to increase from 214 minutes (3 hours 34 minutes) to 353 minutes (5 hours 53 minutes). We love spending time on facebook, twitter, iinkedin, youtube, snapchat, tiktok and million other digital products. These are the best times for digitally active brands because, as opposed to from the past, they can now create any digital media product and control the media without any gatekeepers. Allianz Switzerland experimented with digital experience by sponsoring the open-air cinema. They created a surf-simulator using real surfboards from an existing online game of their campaign. As with human relations, brand goes to extreme levels to create everlasting relationship with their customers. However, they have to keep coming up with unique ideas to sustain this relationship in this highly competitive world.