Crafting A Successful Brand Activation

20 Jan


As with all new ventures, it is easy to rush into a brand activation, it’s increasing in popularity, with 79% of brands agreeing they plan to spend more on experiential marketing than in previous years (Eventtrack). This is unsurprising, the same study recording 65% of respondents believe event and experiential programs correlate to sales and IPA’s recent Q4 2016 Bellwether Report showed a 12.3% increase in event marketing spending.



The Attraction Of Brand Activation

However, by rushing to enter what seems an exciting new market, brands can lose focus on key factors which are necessary for any successful experiential marketing campaign. By creating this culture and approach, brands ensure their experiential marketing activities are accurately targeting and engaging the correct consumers, leading to sales uplift (see above) and brand evangelism, according to Eventtrack 100% of consumers who create digital or social content at experiences will share it.


Don’t lose focus on what’s important.


1. Stay True to Your Brand

Values, one of those things everybody has, we identify with those who share ours and dispute those who oppose them. The same is true of brands, whether they like it or not, it is human nature to lean towards those with whom we share common ground.

It is paramount that a brand’s experiential marketing activities are an extension of the brand’s culture and values, emphasising its USPs. Too often marketers see a brand activation as an opportunity, separate to the rest of the brand’s activities. Brands should focus on expanding their box, rather than stepping out of it.

This doesn’t mean limit your brand’s ambitions, it simply means bear in mind what got you to the dance in the first place. By doing so you ensure your experiential activities are generating valuable returning customers, rather than briefly exciting passers-by.


Campaign Example: ReebokNano Box Battles

Reebok is the undisputed king of niche sports, particularly those that embrace the grind,  CrossFit and MMA spring to mind. Reebok’s marketing approach reflects these values, holding fitness classes in their FitHub retail stores as well as their sponsorship of competitions and the UFC.

The recent launch event for the Nano 7 footwear is another reflection of the key values of the brand: speaking to athletes who spend their days bloody, muddy and sore, not for bright lights or money, but to become the best version of themselves. The event saw CrossFit box battles in three London FitHubs using workouts crafted specifically for the launch. Reebok know what their brand represents and actively embrace it.



Discover more about Reebok’s Nano Box Battles campaign here.


2. Stay True to The Customer

Or more specifically, stay true to YOUR customer. Brands spend countless hours developing customer personas, only for them to be thrown away in an attempt to be popular within the mainstream. Don’t risk alienating your existing consumers in the search for new ones, the grass isn’t greener.

By targeting demographics you KNOW identify with your product, you have the opportunity to generate brand evangelists, the most valuable form of promotion, and returning customers, rather than one-time buyers with a passing interest.


Campaign Example: HP – Omen Challenge

The HP Omen challenge series is a prime example of a brand creating a campaign for the benefit of its consumers. The Challenge’s live-interaction format beautifully targets the e-sports viewership by making the viewing experience a game in itself.

Interactivity is a key driver of engagement, even more so when your target audience are seasoned gamers. This campaign worked so well, it has recently seen its 3rd incarnation at TwitchCon 2016 and shows no sign of losing steam any time soon.


Discover more about HP Omen’s TwitchCon 2016 Challenge here.


3. Stay True to The Experience

Arguably the most important aspect of a brand activation, the experience is the focal point of your campaign and will ultimately be the deciding factor for most visitors as to whether or not they will become a consumer. Therefore, it is important that all peripheral elements of the campaign feed back into the experience and vice-versa.

Effective social sharing of relevant content and event dates, guerrilla promotion, PR opportunities and the right brand ambassadors can all be the making (or breaking) of a campaign. The best campaigns effectively leverage each of these facets for their benefit.


Campaign Example: HBOWestWorld NYC ComicCon 2016

This experience-focused campaign effectively engaged users as soon as they walked through the door. By creating a physical Delos Lab to compliment the main attraction of the VR experience, users were immersed befoe they put on the headset, building anticipation and setting a benchmark of high quality, present throughout the campaign.


Take a closer look at HBO’s Westworld Comic Con installation in our Top 5 Campaigns: October 2016.


4. Stay True to The Product

Whether your aim is to drive sales, increase brand recognition or simply trial a new product, it is the end goal of every company to make more money, which more often than not means selling more product. It is therefore vital that your campaign reflects the USPs of the product, as it does the UPSs of the brand.

If the aim of experiential marketing is to create a deep emotional bond with the customer, it is key that this bond is developed with the brand and its products, otherwise your marketing efforts will have been wasted pushing the consumer in a direction which is not your own and hurting the chances of a high ROI.


Campaign Example: Ferrero RocherDolce

The luxury confectioner’s latest experiential offering was a pop-up dessert dining experience in Covent Garden. With a menu designed entirely around the various aspects of the classic dinner party delicacy, the brand created an innovative, effective product-centric experience with minimal emphasis on the actual product itself.


Take a look inside Dolce by Ferrero Rocher here!


5. An Effective Brand Activation Always Adds Value

Finally, adding value is a necessity of a brand activation. In order to build the deep emotional relationship required to extract value from the consumer, you must first demonstrate how they stand to gain from this relationship. Value can come in many forms, some simple advice to get more out of your product, free product samples or a discount to incentivise future purchase.

However you choose to add value to your consumers’ experiences, the critical success factor depends on being genuine. The modern consumer has become wise to marketing tricks, they see through disingenuous attempts to relieve them of their cash. By adding genuine value a customer is far more likely to purchase, return to and recommend your product, which is infinitely more valuable than a one-time impulse purchase.


Campaign Example: WestJet – Christmas Miracle 

WestJet‘s Christmas miracle campaign perfectly reflects the brand’s core values, one of which is giving back to their customers, acknowledging the value they provide to the company. The campaign has become a Christmas staple after the initial campaign, three years ago. Each year WestJet do it slightly differently, but the focus of the brand activation is always the same, the consumers.





If you’re running an experiential marketing campaign and need help with promotional staffing, experiential support or just fancy a chat, don’t hesitate to contact us.