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Published June 25, 2020

Brand activation- you may have heard this term often in marketing circles. What exactly does brand activation mean? Do you need to plan an event for this? How exactly will it help with your business? Let’s get to decoding brand activation.

What does brand activation mean?

Think of a brand as a living being. When you first start your business, nobody knows about your brand, so it’s sort of inactive. You need to ‘activate’ it to bring it to life. And by activate, we mean, get the word out, get people to know what your products are for, and hopefully get a few new customers.

Brand activation is this process of driving consumer action via engaging brand experiences.

The need for brand activation

Some brand managers decide to embark on the advertising route for brand or product awareness. But think about it: if you came across an ad about a new product, do you actually pay close attention? Most people may skim over a print advertisement, skip a YouTube ad, and ignore a billboard. So how do you grab their attention and tell them about your brand?

The need to go beyond advertising brings us to the concept of brand activation events. These events help your target audience touch, feel, sample or try out the product, so they have first-hand experience. That’s why brand activation is also sometimes referred to as “experiential marketing.” It is a type of marketing that’s based on user “experience.”

Types of brand activation campaigns

There are three major types of campaigns that you can consider:

Product sampling: By sharing samples to the target audience, businesses not only promote their products but also gather valuable feedback. Let’s take the example of Red Bull’s sampling strategy. The energy drink company distributed cans of Red Bull at call centres (where employees worked in night shifts) and events (where volunteers had to stand for long hours). Putting their product in potential consumers’ hands worked perfectly with their brand activation strategy.

Experiential marketing: Focussing more on consumer experiences through the senses of touch, sight, smell, etc. helps achieve the goal of brand activation. A great example of experiential marketing is how TV shopping channel Homeshop 18 offered a virtual, mobile-based shopping experience at the Delhi Airport. Passengers interacted with a virtual wall and purchased products using their mobile phones, by scanning QR codes on their mobile phones.

In-store activation: Grabbing the attention of potential customers at the store–when they’re already in a purchasing mindset–can drive fantastic results for your brand. Many brands set up a stall in a large mall or shopping centre, with games, virtual reality experiences, photo ops, etc. to boost awareness and engagement, in an interactive fashion.

So now that you know what brand activation means and why it’s important, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and launch your campaign today!

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