According to the Customers 2020 Report, by 2020, ‘customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator’.
Brand activation is a multi-sensory experience that incorporates verbal communication and eye-catching stimuli, and is used to convey important brand messages in a format that is memorable. It appeals to the emotions of target audiences, and can generate certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions about a product. Opinion leaders, family and friends impart their understanding of the brand to other decision-makers and become conveyors of key messages sharing their insights with other members of the community.
‘Share of voice’ builds brand goodwill and credibility, and reputation and trust are earned by creating authentic connections and relationships with the target market. This leads to brand loyalty and ultimately increases product sales.
Trust is very important to the main market and misleading statements and misinformation can damage brand image and reputation throughout the community. Brand managers need to be aware that main market consumers are not forgiving and are hesitant to support brands that over-promise and under-deliver, regardless of the price position.
A brand can showcase its products in a way that it will be recognised, sampled and bought by BoPs, however it requires a different marketing approach. The following guidelines can be applied to reach this segment:
Lower-income groups are categorised by a welcoming spirit, and willingness and openness to engage with others. These individuals are passionate about the arts (music and dance) and the spirit of collectively sharing their experiences.
Brand ambassadors represent the essence of a brand and ‘switched on’ brand ambassadors will create brand awareness and generate sales while promoting the product to potential buyers.
To capture and hold the consumers’ attention, brand ambassadors that represent the profile of these audiences create an impression through the marketing setting which can influence whether or not people are receptive to the activation and therefore susceptible to trying something new.
Brand activations assist the purchasing process by generating visibility and gaining exposure that leads to brand recognition and drives brand recall. Marketing support also creates the impression that the brand is valuable, builds brand loyalty and guarantees repeat purchases.
Marketers should use branded platforms to reach and capture the hearts and minds of consumers with integrated messages that will reinforce the brand offering, create brand recognition and strengthen brand recall.
During brand activations, consumers are encouraged to try the product through wet sampling (serving a consumable beverage or foodstuff) and dry sampling (handing out product for home or office use), couponing or specials. Promotions drive trial and consumption and provide consumers with the ideal occasion to experience the product. Both activities increase consumption, and cement ‘buy-in’ from the consumer which generates sales.
Wet sampling is particularly useful in brand activations because ambassadors can demonstrate the many uses of the product. The promoters are readily available to provide information and answer questions and influence consumers to add the product to their shopping cart.
In contrast, dry sampling provides consumers with the option of trying the product for themselves in their own space and time. This method is valuable because consumers are able to make up their mind in a familiar setting whether at home or in the workplace.
Miguel Correia is marketing manager of the Zinto Marketing Group.