Whether you’re running online or physical events, you can always find ways to ensure strong brand activation. What’s strong brand activation, and why do you need it? HubSpot identifies brand activations as in-person events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between a brand and their target audience.
As the same article states, “In marketing, engaging your target audience in experiences is one of the best ways to resonate emotionally with them. And some of the most memorable experiences you can host are called brand activations.” In other words, brand activation refers to designing emotional experiences for your target audience to make sure they’ll remember you and associate your brand with something meaningful and genuine.
Events, both online and physical, are great for brand activation, as you have the freedom to experiment and create different experiences that will touch your attendees emotionally. Moreover, according to Zoominfo, “A brand activation will jolt your brand to life, garner attention from new audiences, and redefine how your existing audience perceives you. And with the right approach, brand activations can be remarkably effective — 98% of people feel more inclined to purchase a brand’s products after attending an activation.” This means you’ll want to spend some of your strategy time on rethinking brand activation and how exactly you can incorporate it into your online or physical event. To help you with this task, here are five tips to put into place to ensure strong brand activation.
Tip 1: Create a holistic marketing campaign
When you’re strategizing your next event and designing brand activation experiences, dedicate some time to building a holistic marketing campaign. For example, let’s say that you’re about to run a virtual event and you want to activate your alcoholic beverages brand through a mixology online class. As part of the virtual event experience, you’ve decided to have an expert host a session on how to mix the best cocktail using your beverages.
To make this entire experience much more impactful, you can ship cocktail ingredients to the attendees. This can be part of your event promotion campaign. This way, your attendees will not only attend the online mixology class as part of your event, but also have the opportunity to experiment and create their own cocktails with your brand’s ingredients.
Tip 2: Focus on experiential marketing to thrill your attendees
Don’t treat your attendees as passive observers. To design a strong activation experience, engage your guests and have them as the main participators or heroes of your events. Let’s say that you’re running a physical event to promote your new skin care line. Instead of simply presenting your new products, you can design an environment where people can actually try them out by running a skin care workshop and teaching your attendees how to apply your products correctly depending on their needs. This can be a fun and engaging experience, especially if the person running the workshop is charismatic.
Tip 3: Connect with your audience through your venue decorations
Brand activation doesn’t only happen with experiences. You can also create memories and positive associations in your attendees’ minds by putting some extra thought into the venue decorations. For example, if you’re running a nonprofit organization, you can decorate your venue with easy-to-understand visuals and infographics that explain your cause (or contribution to the cause you’re serving). Or you could have meaningful messages situated on the walls that will not only be “Instagram-able,” but will also make your attendees think and want to interact or help you transform your vision into reality.
Tip 4: Build an incredible story to hook your guests
Brand activation is nothing without storytelling. At the end of the day, to ensure a strong brand activation experience, you need to engage people’s feelings. And storytelling is a powerful tool you can use to connect or to access people’s emotions while also delivering your message. We observed a very intriguing example during the CES 2018 event. One booth definitely grabbed all the attention by promising people … immortality.
When visiting the booth, people could see bodies, or “sleeves,” floating in special devices along with the promise of being able to transfer your consciousness into the bodies. Seems like science fiction, right? Well, that’s because it is. You see, after a few minutes, the attendees realized that the entire booth was created by Netflix to promote its next series, Altered Carbon. But overall, quite an impressive and memorable experience, don’t you think?
Tip 5: Choose in-person experiences over online experiences
Note: while in-person events aren’t an option at the moment, this is a great tip for when you can run live events again.
Although you can guarantee brand activation through your online events, there’s nothing more persuasive and captivating than real-life experiences. Zoominfo emphasizes that “the purpose of brand activation is to forge strong connections between your brand and audience. Naturally, there’s no better setting for brand activation than business headquarters. This method is most popular among retailers and other B2C brands. They host events at their stores, provide accommodations like food and beverages, and allow their audience to see and sample products in person. Ideally, people leave the experience with a newfound appreciation for these brands and how they treat their customers.”
In other words, if you have the choice between online and physical events, go with the latter. This will help you build stronger relationships with your audience and provide a long-lasting impression on them.
Activate your brand
You’re already planning and running events. Whether it’s to connect with your stakeholders, sell your products, or provide maximum value, you’re in the front line, experimenting with event marketing while pursuing specific business goals. So why not add brand activation to your list of objectives? It’s not necessary to run events specifically for brand activation. You can pursue whatever goal you have. But you can incorporate brand activation into your events by simply designing a few interactive experiences for your attendees that will spark their emotions and leave them with positive associations about your brand.