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The Art of Brand Activation

New business owners may be familiar with these scenarios: you open a new store or restaurant, build out a brand-new online store, or launch a new consultancy or service. And…. crickets. People don’t know that you exist. Carefully researched and curated customers are not walking through the door, clicking the link, or picking up the phone. This is the crux of brand activation: help your business, whatever it may be, to come alive and realize success. It’s not simply about running a great business but engaging your audience.

Brand activation helps potential customers to know your business and become loyal devotees. This is often achieved through crafting memorable experiences, or meaningful interactions. When your customers associate you with engaging, fun, and informative interactions, you turn them from spectators to participants.

Popular Methods of Brand Activation

Experiential Marketing

In-person events and experiences go a long way toward endearing your brand to new customers. This kind of direct interaction establishes great connections that are memorable, and personal. Events can be anything from a Pop-Up shop to a live demo, an interactive installation to a public event.

Digital Campaigns

Using social media platforms, branded apps, and even the newest interactions on augmented reality or virtual reality experiences forge new customer relationships in the digital realm. As people increasingly turn to digital platforms, this kind of engagement is a powerful way to activate your brand.

Influencer Collaborations

Build authenticity with the help of an influencer. Working with an influencer can help introduce your product or service to showcase the credibility of your brand. This partnership can go a long way toward targeting a demographic authentically.

Content Marketing

Make fantastic content. When you make valuable content that educates, informs, or entertains, this helps customers solve pain points and trust your brand. Examples of content marketing include blogs, videos, podcasts, and eBooks. Stretch this content across the methods above, and you have a strong strategy in place to capture new eyeballs and win over hearts.

The Key to Success

This is going to take some time. Keep in mind that brand activation is not an overnight thing. With lots of planning and some careful execution, your launch will take flight. A few things to consider as you plan for success:

  • Understand your audience: Know who it is you’re trying to reach, and tailor interactions based on preferences and behaviors.
  • Set clear objectives: Define whether these activation campaigns achieve brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales.
  • Measure results: Figure out the metrics that will track performance, helping future strategies.
  • Find Authenticity: If your activations align with not only your brand values, but your message, you’ll realize authenticity in the eyes of your customers.

The more that you can get customers involved, and focus on them, the more successful this launch will be. Helping to solve problems in a way that gives your brand a human and personal element goes far in developing loyalty.

With the variety of digital and in-person experiences available in the marketplace, companies are finding new and exciting ways to delight customers. In 2023, notable events included:

Nike’s use of augmented reality in the “Unleash Your Power” campaign where people interacted with iconic athletes in immersive AR training sessions.

Coca Cola’s pop-up “Taste the World” event that introduced global flavors alongside musical performances and cultural showcases.

Red Bull dared participants to try the “Extreme Experience Challenge” for thrill-seekers to try extreme sports shared by customers. It’s the ultimate adrenaline-infused user-generated content.

Whatever route you choose to enable brand activation, consider your audience and your metrics, tailored to what you have to offer. Although there are amazing opportunities to try to outshine the competitors with the latest and greatest, don’t forget the reason for the effort: customers and connection.