What Are Brand Activations? (And How to Implement One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 16, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies often allocate a substantial budget for their marketing programs because they can help promote products and increase sales. Part of the job of a marketing team is developing ideas on how the company can introduce its product or brand to the market in the most impactful way. Learning about different marketing strategies can help you market products in the most effective way. In this article, we define brand activations, discuss their importance, explore their types, provide steps to implement them, and share tips for applying them.

What are brand activations?

Brand activations, also known as marketing activations, are events or campaigns that aim to promote a brand by connecting with an audience. Companies often do this through activities that involve real interaction of people with the product. Marketing activations are part of an overall brand marketing strategy, and its main goals are usually to increase brand engagement and connect with consumers on a personal level. A company usually does this activity when introducing a new product to the market or if they're rebranding.

There are different ways to implement marketing activations. While some methods are simple, such as providing free samples to customers, other strategies involve planning and a considerable budget. It's typically the job of the marketing team to determine how they can make this one-time event memorable and unique. They also make sure that the activity aligns with the company's values and the brand's identity.

Related: Top 5 Marketing Fields to Explore for a Successful Career

Importance of brand activations

For new businesses, a brand campaign is an excellent opportunity to introduce their brand to the market and get attention from potential customers. The campaign often comprises various marketing strategies, including marketing activations. Many companies choose this method because it's generally an effective strategy for reaching their target market. It can provide consumers with a clear vision of what the brand can offer, which may encourage them to try the company's product or service.

Marketing activations are also important because they can improve the brand's credibility, which may attract and increase loyalty for new consumers. Interactive activities are often the choice of businesses when implementing this strategy. These usually give consumers the chance to experience the product or service for themselves, which may result in them perceiving the brand as reputable.

Types of marketing activations

There are many options to create an activation campaign, and marketers try to understand each one and determine which strategy to use to yield tangible results for a business. Here's a list of the marketing activation strategies they may use:

Experiential marketing

Experiential or engagement marketing usually involves live participation from consumers. In this type of marketing activation, customers interact with the product. This encourages them to establish an emotional connection with the brand through a mutual touchpoint. Experiential marketing may also include interactive virtual tours or games which enable customers to experience the brand even while at home.

Free samples or trials

Through this type of marketing, businesses often set up stalls or sampling booths and offer their products for free. When doing this, it's important for the company to choose an ideal location to ensure that they reach their target audience. There are other ways to implement this marketing activation strategy, such as sending product samples to the addresses of prospective clients. Some companies also provide coupons and vouchers that customers can use to access specific products without paying.

On-site marketing activation

This type of marketing strategy involves engaging with customers at the business's location, usually a storefront or office. It enables the business to present its brand to consumers and allows customers to understand the company, its employees, and its culture. These may improve the brand's reputation and credibility and encourage loyalty among customers. Business-to-customer (B2C) businesses often adopt this strategy because of its suitability for their business model.

Digital marketing

Companies often choose this strategy when activating their brand because many consumers now rely on the internet when performing many of their daily activities such as gathering information, communicating with others, and transacting with businesses. If an organization does this method correctly, it might give them the widest audience reach. To launch an effective digital marketing campaign, it's often necessary for a company to conduct preliminary research on target audience demographics and select suitable marketing channels.

Trade shows

Many businesses attend trade shows or industry events to market their products and engage with consumers. A company may rent a booth in a trade show or hold live presentations or seminars to introduce the brand to the event attendees. These venues also provide an organization with the opportunity to try other activation strategies, particularly giving away free samples to customers and conducting experiential marketing.

Promotions

This involves partnering with a celebrity or famous athlete and sponsoring a sports event that benefits a community or an organization. Running a promotion may help a company achieve its marketing goals because it shows its desire and willingness to participate in community programs. This often appeals to consumers and may improve their reputation and encourage customer loyalty.

Related: What Are Branding Strategies? (With Definition and Benefits)

How to implement a marketing activation strategy

Activating a brand successfully often requires careful planning. After choosing which strategy to use, the next step is to determine how to execute it to meet the company's goals. Here are several steps on how to implement a marketing activation campaign:

1. Set goals for the campaign

Determine what you want to achieve with the marketing activation. For many businesses, the objectives are usually to encourage customers to try their product or service and increase consumers' awareness of the brand. It's a good idea to ensure that your goals are specific, realistic, and achievable.

2. Determine a budget

Develop a budget plan for the activation to maximize the resources the company allotted for it. To do this, consider the business's financial capacity and how much they can allocate to the campaign. It may also be helpful to identify which expenses to prioritize. For instance, an effective budget plan can help the team in determining the impact of the campaign on the increase of regular customers.

3. Understand your audience

It's essential to know the target audience and understand their demographics to plan a focused campaign. Marketing activations are more likely to succeed if they appeal to the company's target group of consumers. Part of this step is also determining suitable communication channels to reach the audience.

4. Create a team to manage the campaign

Creating a team to manage a campaign is important in ensuring its success. You can assign people to oversee specific tasks to create accountability and encourage their engagement. When delegating tasks, it's a good idea to consider the skills of each team member.

Related: How to Become a Brand Strategist (With Eight Steps)

Tips for implementing marketing activations

The success of a campaign largely depends on the engagement the activity generated and its impact on consumers. Marketing activations are effective if they result in an increase in brand awareness and more customers trying the company's products or services. To improve the company's campaign strategy, here are some tips you may consider when implementing a marketing activation:

Prioritize the customer's comfort

When planning activities, it's a good idea to prioritize the audience's feelings and comfort. You can do this by choosing fun and engaging activities and avoiding publicity stunts that may be uncomfortable to watch and experience. Conducting preliminary research on the target audience's preferences may be helpful in determining the type of event that appeals to them.

Surprise the audience

An impactful way to increase brand awareness is to do an activity that consumers don't expect. You can suggest a creative way to introduce a product through a brainstorming session with the company's marketing team. A surprising activity or interaction can make the campaign an enjoyable experience for the audience, which may result in a lasting impression.

Encourage human interaction

This means involving people, such as company employees and product endorsers, in the campaign. By adding human interaction in marketing activation, you can make the campaign more relatable to the audience. This can increase the confidence of customers in the company and encourage brand loyalty. For instance, on-site marketing activations are often successful because customers can speak with company representatives to provide feedback or ask them about the brand and its products and services.

Make the event interactive

Another effective way to activate a brand is to allow and encourage audience interaction. You can do this by letting customers use the product the company is introducing or by conducting virtual interactive tours. An in-person experience often creates an impact on consumers because it's more memorable.

Form partnerships with other brands

A collaborative campaign with a non-competing brand is often an effective strategy. The company may partner and do a joint campaign with an organization that targets the same audience. This may help in attracting a wider audience because people are more likely to engage in an event that features more than one brand.

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