Brand activation is the physical manifestation of storytelling that combines personal interaction with visual narrative.
Once the context, format and setting is determined focus on the mechanics of bringing the brand to ‘life’ and encouraging the target market to engage and interact with the product or service. To make a meaningful impact, drive affinity and inspire consumers to act, one should consider: Why would the audience pay attention to the campaign? Why should they engage? What factors should be considered?
Location: Find a space you can ‘own’
Experiential events are not as straightforward as placing imagery in a demarcated area and expecting consumers to connect with a brand because it exists in that space. The location must be easily accessible, visible and have a presence where there is a high level of traffic or footfall.
The physical space will also determine the scope of the project: an in-store campaign will limit activities to a promotion where brand ambassadors provide product information while handing out samples to passers-by to encourage trial and consumption.
On the other hand, an outdoor platform presents an occasion to create hype about the brand and its offerings. Rather than ‘pushing out’ content about the features of a product or service, the activation area can be used to ‘pull audiences’ and immerse themselves in a truly captivating experience.
Target market: The brand should be relevant and reflective of the values of the audience
Different market segments are made of a population profile that includes race, age, gender and income levels etc. However, there are areas of the same geographic spread where the demographics are highly comparable with other target groups.
The communication should be tailored to resonate with the audience and marketers need to consider language barriers, cultural nuances, different belief systems, engrained values and entrenched competitor brand loyalty.
Knowledge: Have a firm grasp and understanding of linking content to real-life, ‘bigger picture’ scenarios
Activation success occurs when a brand is already known to consumers who use or are open to trying a new product or service. But established brands must tackle market perceptions that are outdated and build on existing relationships, reinforcing important messages that drive consumption, increase sales and lead to brand loyalty.
For brand activations to resonate with customers and achieve results, strategic planning is required to lay down the groundwork, enhance all touchpoints in the purchasing process and make consumers a central part of the brand journey. Experiential events give shoppers a compelling reason to look at brands in new ways, which motivates them to take desired action – changing their thought processes or buying habits.
Truly understanding the market and its challenges will give insight into consumer preferences, how and where to communicate with different audiences, thereby enhancing on-shelf presence, brand recall and market share.
Brand reputation is a business imperative and providing consumers with the right information empowers them to make purchasing decisions that can impact and change their lives.
Being transparent is vital to winning brand trust, and openness and honesty outdoes baseless or misleading communication. Companies need to accept that they can’t ‘win over’ consumers by making false claims that will compromise the brand’s integrity.
Miguel Correia is marketing manager of established brand activation, entertainment and event company, the Zinto Marketing Group