If you’re tasked with building or growing a brand, you’re certainly not alone. As technology continues to take center stage in our lives, the modern world seems to have gotten smaller. Companies compete with one another from across the globe, which presents a massive challenge for marketers. Brands have dozens of marketing channels, tactics, and approaches available to them and, in order to thrive, they need to design a marketing mix that is relevant and resonates with consumers.
In addition, the digital age has brought unintended consequences. In the wake of studies that show the increased use of digital leading to feelings of isolation, research continues to find that modern consumers want brands that are personable, engaging, and likable. They want relationships with brands, and they want to align with companies that they can relate to. It’s inherently challenging to fulfill these needs with conventional and digital marketing tactics. While those mediums are critical and certainly have their place, the truth is that when consumers experience brands they are much more likely to become loyal advocates.
It is through in-person brand activation that consumers can feel the spark of intimacy that they are searching for. During these experience-driven events, companies can meet the needs of consumers, all while giving themselves a powerful tool that can serve as a cornerstone to feed other marketing tactics. Brand activation is more than a great marketing event – it is a multifaceted, continued consumer engagement approach that is a content, data, and consumer acquisition goldmine.
Why brand activation is so powerful
Below are three key reasons why investing in brand activation on a regular basis is one of the smartest moves your company can make.
1. Brand activation delivers a tangible, memorable, and actionable experience
Brand activation does more than deliver your company’s message to the world – it gives your audience an experience with your brand that they can take with them. If done correctly, these events are memorable, and research shows that in-person interactions drive action and dramatically impact consumer purchasing behavior in both the short- and long-term.
In addition, in contrast to traditional mediums that speak “at” consumers, a brand activation is a natural conversation – a give and take. Not only does that help consumers feel a level of connection and investment in your brand story, it allows your brand to gather critical feedback from them. This feedback can be related to products, marketing messages, packaging, and other details that allow you to better shape your value proposition.
In short, consumers want more than online banter, GIFs, and ads (and so should you). They want depth from the companies they choose to purchase from, and brand activation can satisfy that need.
2. Brand activation humanizes brands and builds trust
Consumers treat brands like friends. To establish a friendship, you need to show up and spend time together. A brand activation provides an opportunity to meet consumers face-to-face, humanizing the brand. And when people make a personal connection, they have made an emotional investment. They more likely to care about the company and, in turn, buy from it.
Another key result of face-to-face marketing is the building of trust. Today’s consumers dislike marketing and distrust “corporate” intentions. They are not eager to part with their information or money. People can build trust with people, and that’s exactly what you are able to accomplish through an activation.
3. Brand activation boosts content generation and word of mouth marketing
Brand activation creates experiences that are so unique and powerful that consumers talk about them – in fact, they are compelled to tell others. And therein is the key. One of the most effective forms of marketing and lead generation is word of mouth. Word of mouth works because it gives a brand instant trust and credibility among members of an in-group.
Think about it – what is more likely to be shared – a Facebook ad or a consumer-generated Instagram post of people engaging in a unique experience?
There is little doubt – the Instagram post will be shared more. Not only is it more engaging, but the people who posted it are enthusiastic and eager to share their experiences with their networks. This is, of course, where word of mouth thrives. And this sharing ensures that the brand activation lives and thrives well beyond its limited execution. And by baking in a social media contest or other strategy that encourages consumers to share the content and follow your brand, you set yourself up for that longer-term engagement that is shown to aid in driving continued purchase.
Incorporate ongoing in-person activation into your marketing strategy
Don’t think of brand activation as a stand-alone event or a strategy that replaces other marketing channels. Rather, think of brand activation as another key ingredient in your marketing mix. Brands should integrate experiential into other channels and make brand activation a centralized part of their on-going consumer engagement and acquisition strategy.
Great brand activations are designed to communicate a brand’s big idea and core value proposition in a memorable and visceral way. It clearly makes sense to tie in a social media campaign to amplify that experience. It also seems intuitive that the experience would be used for consumer data capture, which in turn can feed your digital ads and other targeted campaigns. In truth, you are limited only by your creativity. Then, once the brand activation is wrapped, take your content, data, and key learnings, rinse and repeat.
At A Little Bird, we live and breathe brand activation. Contact us to learn more about the power of brand activation or take a gander at our case studies to see how we have brought our clients’ brands to life.