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What Is Brand Activation and Why Your Business Needs It

One of the most important things that a brand can try to get in the modern world of business is awareness and engagement. The whole point of marketing and branding is to increase the awareness and value of a brand and bring a sense of familiarity to the customers and consumers inside the target audience. A brand’s success depends on how many people know about it and how much they trust it. No matter how good a business or its products are, it is essentially worthless in the actual marketplace if the brand is unknown. 

That is why brand activation exists–to increase the awareness and value of the brand. If a brand wants to charge people for its products, it will need to work on its branding to increase the value and trust in its products. And if a brand wants to sell more products, it needs to work on its marketing to expand itself into its target markets. 

Brand activation is the starting point for both of these practices so that brands can have a base to work from. For smaller businesses and startups, brand activation is one of the most important parts of forming an identity. This is what it is and how companies can use brand activation to start their success in their industry. 

What is Brand Activation?

Fundamentally, brand activation is all about exposing a company’s brand to a broad audience of people and potential customers in a new way. It can be the very start of a company’s brand in the first place or even the launching of a new brand that the company wants to create in its ecosystem. 

Either way, brand activation requires a lot of forethought and effort to activate and launch the brand successfully. It requires large amounts of marketing effort and learning how to appeal to the brand’s target audience as a whole. It has many different forms, but its goal is generally to increase awareness and appreciation of the new brand. 

The Main Types of Brand Activation

In the modern world, there are lots of different ways to activate a brand. Due to the wide and varied ways people consume content and marketing materials, there are many different ways to activate a brand. Depending on the type of product or market that the brand is launching into, there may be different ideal ways to go about the brand activation process. Understanding which ways will work with different markets and strategies is essential, but all of these can be potentially viable solutions towards activating a brand. 

Digital Campaigns

Ideally, almost all brand activation processes in the modern world should have a digital component. People are constantly consuming media in digital formats, from social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to blog posts to film to music, so exposing a large audience to the brand through those means is an incredibly important thing to focus on. 

Sometimes, depending on the product, the brand activation campaign may take place entirely digitally. This is often the case with products that are based in the software and virtual markets. Typically, all the other types of brand activation will fall into this category when handled on the internet or in the digital realm. 

Sampling Campaigns

Another type of brand activation strategy is to focus on sampling. A sample campaign allows real-life people to try out the product or brand in a place that offers them as little risk as possible. It is often hard for potential customers to go out on a limb and put their money into trying out a fresh brand. 

However, when money is taken out of the picture, they will be much more likely to want to expose themselves to the new product, which is the whole point of brand activation. This showcase can be a costly way of activating the brand, but it is an effective way to pull new customers while building awareness. 

Experiential Campaigns

Experiential marketing campaigns and immersive brand experiences are a type of activation that is focused on creating an emotional connection and mental experience with the brand through in-person events. Often, this is done by creating engagement between the customers and the brand and allowing them to experience the company’s products intimately. Memorable experiences with a product, especially highly positive ones, can help customers feel welcomed into the brand and feel like they belong there. These tactics can also create buzz as part of a branding strategy that sparks consumer interest within a larger audience. This can be an ongoing process throughout your brand marketing journey, connecting with consumers personally to inspire brand loyalty.

Experiential campaigns are focused on making sure that people walk away from the product with the best experience possible so that they want to come back. It’s a great way to establish personal connections with new customers and implement a successful brand activation strategy. 

How to Increase Brand Activation Success

Most successful brand activations follow a similar set of guidelines and characteristics to make them as successful as possible. 

Here are a few specific ways that companies can help ensure that their brand activation strategy is as effective as possible and as capable of success. 

Understand the Target Audience

One of the most important parts of a business is knowing how to appeal to a target audience. This is especially important in the world of brand activation. Insights into what a target audience wants to see in a product or service are incredibly important because it gives the marketing team a long term goal to strive for. Millennials may want something different than Gen X-ers, or iPhone users may respond differently to a campaign than Android users. 

Understanding consumer actions based on hard data and case studies can also ensure that you reach your desired demographics. Finding the right target can involve a good amount of market research and analysis–the results and decisions made on the data can lead to massive success in brand activations. 

Be Emotionally Evocative

One of the most important things to think about in the PR and marketing world when designing an experience is how it will emotionally impact a consumer. Brand activations should appeal to both the logic and sentiments of consumers so that they will be able to justify following both their head and heart into the world of the new brand. 

Creating experiences that cause people to connect with the brand and the product emotionally is incredibly important and can result in customers who want to purchase your product or service and genuinely care about the brand. Brand activations that appeal to emotions are sure to get a much better and more vigorous response from the consumers. 

Focus on Consistency

It is important to be as consistent as possible with the activation of a brand. Often, companies will overwhelm their consumers with lots of different concepts, ideas, and designs to impress them with their new brand. 

A set objective can help you keep a steady brand story. However, it is important to ensure that all of the different parts of the new brandings can fall around a single concept and fit together well. Maintaining the same feel and mentality behind the various aspects of a brand can result in a brand activation that is much easier to follow and sticks in consumers’ minds much better. 

Be Unique

Often, the company is so consumed with all the little details of launching a brand that they forget to focus on making the brand activation as unique as possible. This is often one of the most important parts of a brand activation process, so don’t be afraid to put much effort into it. 

Let the brand activation be full of the unique identity of the brand itself and the people that make up the company. Feel free to do something that’s a little crazy to express your unique voice because bold moves are often the ones that pay big dividends in the long run. 

Encourage Experience

The best way to pull someone into a brand is to encourage active participation in something involving the brand. That can be anything from demonstrations to trials to a water slide to free samples to a photo booth. It’s all about getting the product in the hands and minds of the people so that they can form real attachments and relationships with the products. It’s not always easy to do, but it is imperative to focus on helping potential customers to have a genuine interaction with the brand and products that a company is producing. Experience creates attachment, and attachment sells. 

How Harper+Scott Can Help

Harper+Scott is one of the best teams to partner with when it comes to brand activating. Our teams at this renowned company have worked with some of the largest and most successful companies in the world to create high-quality products, marketing, and brand identities. The many disciplines that our teams at Harper+Scott are familiar with can help companies expand and develop their brands and operations on a massive scale. Any company looking to take its next steps in the world of brand activation should check us at Harper+Scott out and see what we can do


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