Next time you’re in a retail environment, look around you: when it comes to products, be it tech, FMCG or other, the marketplace is extremely cluttered. New brands are being introduced to the South African market regularly and older brands, even though established, have to fight for their share of consumer spend. The reality is that brands are constantly vying for attention and as consumers become more savvy because of easy access to information, brands need to up their game as well as their marketing strategy.
Marketing, be it through traditional advertising, experiential marketing or anything else is no longer a nice to have. We know this. In fact, an effective, watertight strategy that is relevant to the targeted consumer and engages with them in a way that elicits attention and keeps it, is crucial if a brand is to not only survive, but thrive.
When other forms of advertising are aiming for consumer attention, the beauty of experiential marketing or activations is that it is personal. A consumer can physically, mentally, emotionally and sensorially engage with a brand on their turf, in an environment where they are comfortable. Furthermore, activations do something that other forms of advertising simply can’t do – activations provide the opportunity for consumers to sample a product, ask questions and participate in some way that makes them feel a part of the brand.
In addition, when an activation is implemented in-store, close to a point of sale, even better. This is where consumers ultimately make purchasing decisions, choosing one particular brand over its competitors. This is the core reason that in-store activations are so powerful. If executed correctly, in a way that is relevant to the consumer in that particular environment and if the brand ambassadors live, eat, breathe and speak the brand in a way that completely personifies the brand, then the success of the campaign and its resultant objective is a done deal.
However, in order to implement an activations campaign that is not only successful in terms of sales, but that also creates loyal customers, the campaign has to enhance brand positioning, shift perceptions and create a real emotional engagement. A great activations campaign should reach consumers on multiple levels – emotional, psychological, experiential – so that they walk away from it remembering what is was like to touch, taste, and feel the product rather than just seeing it on a screen.
In-store activations work because they are close to where purchasing decisions are made and if strategised and implemented with long-term goals in mind, they will work well towards creating a long-lasting relationship between brand and consumer.
With activations, a one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work. Each brand is different, every product is different and every list of objectives is different.
Peter KohlÖffel is National Sales Manager of ProActive. Tweet @ProvantageSA
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