How to Pull off a Successful Brand Activation

How to pull of a successful brand activation? A question you’ve probably asked yourself more than once in your career. While it’s no secret that brand activations are a powerful tool, executing a successful one can prove to be quite complicated. Below are some top tips we’ve learned are critical for a successful brand activation.

A strong concept:
Everything hangs on your concept, so you need a strong one in order for the brand activation to succeed. Obviously, a great idea is the crux but it’s not all there is to it. The following three elements also need to be considered for a concept to really be strong:

Uniqueness:
Coming up with something entirely unique will help position you as a thought leader and ensure that people remember your brand. If you can’t make the whole brand activation entirely unique, make sure you have elements that are.

Compatibility:
This should be obvious but sadly it’s often overlooked. Basically, you need to be sure that your concept not only works but also works for your brand. Coming up with a great idea is one thing but if it’s not true to the nature of your brand, you risk the results being lukewarm.

Execution:
It’s easy to get swept away with great ideas but you need to be sure that everyone else is on board and that you have the means to execute it. The problem arises when you have a great idea but you have to water it down in order to get it done. Sometimes it’s better to scrap a complicated idea that you have to dilute in favor of a simpler one that you can execute well.

Customer insight:
This principle is as simple as “look before you leap”. Before you even start thinking of an idea you need to know your target market inside.

• Create a buyer persona and make sure you’ve done exhaustive research. If you’re a new brand, you’ll need to create an ideal buyer persona to think about the type of customers you want to attract.
• Think through your brand activation from your customer’s perspective. This means you should consider everything from the social media you use to promote it to the time of day you launch it. Get inside their head and decide what works best for them, not you.
• Remember that your customers will relate the brand to the activation, so make sure it’s sending the right message to the right people. If your brand activation is high energy but your brand is Zen you’re sending mixed messages, or even worse: if your brand activation is sloppy people will assume your brand will be too.

Good promotional merchandise:
No brand activation is complete without the right branding and promotional merchandise, particularly if you’re hosting an event.

The human brain remembers imagery well, so make sure you capitalize on the hype by having branding that’s good quality and easy to see.
Don’t just go for numbers. Having something custom or novel makes more of an impact than sheer number or size, allowing you to save budget and have a bigger impact.

A realistic budget:
Budget plays a massive role in planning brand activations and you want to be sure to strike the right balance between quality and affordability. Below are a few things to keep in mind to help you do that:

• Get quotes before you begin to plan your budget – that way you can get a realistic idea of what you’ll need to include.
• Plan your budget together with your concept so that you don’t commit to something you’ll struggle to execute.
• Allow sufficient time to shop around for prices and deals.
• Be upfront with your suppliers about your budget.
• Remember that a substandard brand activation can cause damage to the brand image, so be sure that you’re committed to investing in a good one.

An engagement tactic:
Engagement helps to imprint a brand into a customer’s long-term memory system. In addition, allowing someone to touch and hold something also triggers feelings of connection according to Psychologists, so letting people interact with your branding and products is a great way to foster brand loyalty.

Finding an engagement point generally involves supplying customers with something they need, want or can make use of.

Sufficient planning:
For a brand activation to run smoothly, you’ll need to have planned for every eventuality.

• Ensure you have enough products, samples and staff as customers can feel hard done by if they are left out.
• Ensure you have enough space and enough branding if you’re hosting a brand activation event.
• Make sure you have a plan for crowd control.
• Ensure that you have a plan B if your brand activation event is weather-dependent.

An amplification strategy:
You’ve done all the hard work, now it’s time to make sure you get a decent ROI on your brand activation. For that you need to make sure you’re promoting it through a variety of channels.

• Encourage social media sharing and make it easy for people to do so – event hashtags and competitions are always good for this purpose.
• Share as many photos of the event as possible and get participants talking about it by tagging them.
• Allow those who missed the brand activation to participate through social media by engaging with their comments after the activation. Make sure you do this timeously, people tend to expect responses within the hour.
• Make the most out of your investment by creating some sharable content (videos, slideshows, mixed-media etc.) from the event and sharing it on your social media and website

Brands who Believe*