Is your marketing team constantly searching for innovative ways to build stronger, long-term connections with your target audience? While it can be tempting to join short-lived ad trends and marketing fads, the path to true brand growth begins with a strong foundation. Cultivating real relationships with consumers based on tangible positive experiences over time will shape the way consumers feel about your brand and the way they purchase your products. One incredibly effective method of generating these positive consumer experiences is through brand activation.
Brand activations are specific events, offers, or experiences that draw consumers into your story and allow them to interact with your brand in a new and memorable way. Activations increase brand awareness and create lasting connections by giving your audience new opportunities to see your brand and its products in action. This heightened level of interaction is precisely what makes brand activation so special—and so effective. Event Marketing Institute recently reported that 98% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after experiencing a brand activation. And with today’s shoppers using a variety of websites and social media platforms to research products and make purchases, marketers need to adopt an omni-channel approach to brand activation to achieve the best results.
Types of Brand Activations
The benefits of a successful omni-channel brand activation strategy are limitless. Activations can inspire lead generation, deepen relationships with existing customers, and excite audiences about sales, special events, or new products. Digital brand activation can promote engagement across social media campaigns and gather consumer opinions, while in-person activations can be used to determine buying behaviors and drive additional sales. If you’re interested in developing your own brand activation strategy, LEAP Matter has compiled the ultimate guide to steer your business toward success.
In-store brand activation
A great starting point for a brand activation event is inside your brick-and-mortar shop. Because these activations can be replicated across store locations, they are most popular among B2C brands. In-store brand activations often look like hosting small events that enable customers to touch, smell, and sample products. You may even decide to recreate an in-store experience by setting up a pop-up tent of products outside your physical space or even near your corporate offices. Give your customers the chance to converse with real company employees—possibly while also enjoying a few free, tasty refreshments—and they’ll walk away feeling more confident in and connected to your brand.
One way to make a powerful impact on your target audience is experiential marketing, which is a type of brand activation that engages consumers through immersive experiences. These experiences serve to connect consumers to your brand narrative at an emotional level by communicating your corporate values and perspectives. Most experiential brand activations include live audience participation and incorporate as many human senses as possible. This connection with sensory input can be accomplished in two ways: in-person or through AR/VR technology. For example, if your brand sells luxury bed linens, you may decide to offer consumers an opportunity to nap on comfy mattresses outfitted with your sheets and comforters, much like IKEA did in their 2012 “I wanna have a sleepover in IKEA” campaign. Experiential marketing allows consumers to engage with your brand in a hands-on way that is both informative and memorable.
Sampling and Promotion Campaigns
Everyone loves a free sample, especially when it is offered in conjunction with events and locations that your target audience already frequents. Consider how and where your consumers are most likely to be receptive to trying new products, then give away samples in those areas (surprising potential customers with free samples in the mail!). Your brand can also benefit from digital promotions, which could include social media hashtag campaigns or email campaigns offering free trials of your digital products. An EMI survey reported that 80% of polled consumers feel that live product demonstrations and free samples drastically helped solidify their decision to purchase. Sampling and promotion campaigns not only get your products directly into consumers’ hands, but they build consumer trust that your products perform well and that your brand stands behind its products.
Industry and Trade Shows
Industry and trade shows are key spaces to highlight your products. These brand activations typically look like booking a booth on the trade show floor, hosting branded seminars, or giving live demonstrations at industry events. Industry and trade shows are ideal locations to tailor your brand activation to unique neighborhoods and cities. Trade shows are also great settings to incorporate experiential marketing or sampling and promotional campaigns because they naturally include a target audience that is primed to experience and purchase products. These events can successfully serve your brand by increasing your brand authority and introducing your products to new audiences.
Social Media Campaigns
Digital brand activations are imperative to engaging a wide audience across social media platforms. With more than 2 billion users currently active on social media, marketers are introducing exciting new brand activations like social media contests and quizzes. More and more consumers are also turning to social media and influencer recommendations before making purchases. Integrating social media into your brand’s omni-channel brand activation strategy is not only a cost-effective way to reach a larger population, but it enables consumers to drive brand awareness by easily sharing your brand’s products and services.
Successful Brand Activation Strategy Executed by LEAP Matter for Mentos
LEAP Matter worked closely with Perfetti Van Melle to support their Mentos “Fresh Connections” brand activation strategy. The LEAP Matter team planned and executed brand activations for social media, the Big Bite Tour event media, responsive digital billboard ads, print advertising, product packaging, and the Perfetti Van Melle corporate website. By implementing this omni-channel marketing approach, Matter was able to deliver increased consumer awareness, target audience growth, and engagement across social media and traditional advertising channels.
LEAP Matter created fun, creative digital media posts that captured the adventurous, optimistic spirit of the consumer as well as the benefits of the product. Within this campaign, these videos received the most views, with 1,064,930 at the most efficient cost per impression ($0.02).
Working with Mentos and Snapchat, Matter created Geofence overlays for one of Cincinnati’s biggest food festivals, the Taste of Cincinnati. What better place to share some freshness with 500,000 of your closest new friends?
Brand activation builds trust by providing unique branded experiences that create long-term consumer relationships. It also allows your brand to break through the digital noise and make a large impact on target audiences across social media and websites. Utilizing an omni-channel approach to brand activation ensures that your marketing efforts reach the right people at the right time. To jumpstart your brand activation strategy, connect with the LEAP Matter team today.