10 Brand Activation Tips To Turn Customers Into Loyal Fans
It could be challenging to cut through the noise and establish a strong brand identity that connects with people. Your marketing activations interact directly with people & play a crucial role to build that connection. Keep these brand activation tips in mind & see your customers become loyal fans!
9 min read
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”
— STEVE FORBES, EDITOR IN CHIEF OF FORBES MAGAZINE
What is it about certain brands that turn customers into loyal fans?
If you talk to a person who is a hardcore fan of any brand, you can sense their pride and excitement of owning that brand- a feeling that goes beyond the mere functional utility of the product.
What do such brands do differently to evoke a strong emotional response and loyalty from their customers?
Building such a brand is not a one-day promotional activity or even one-month or year's brand activation campaign. It is a result of consistent, long-term efforts based on a close understanding of customers as well as crystal clear clarity of their own brand.
Brand activations play an important role in building a strong brand identity and establish an emotional connection with your customers. They are the primary gateway for people to get to know you beyond the products they use.
While we have talked about creating a brand activation strategy and planning an activation campaign in our previous posts on brand activation, this post will offer you quick, bite-sized tips on brand activation.
These tips are aimed to give you an overall understanding of the mindset that should be the foundation of all brand activation activities you do in the organization.
10 Tips For Brand Activation To Leave An Everlasting Impression
1. Think long term, go beyond one activation
Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither can a wildly successful brand be built in one. A successful brand activation is just one piece of the puzzle to create an impression on people.
To establish a strong brand identity, you must think long term. A single engagement marketing exercise is not enough to help you. You must start from first principles, and design your brand from the ground up.
What do you want people to think when they hear your brand's name?
What do you want them to be talking about your brand?
How would your brand like to be remembered?
All brand activations that you plan and execute must be based on this unified understanding. Your creative brand activations might be different in nature, and they should be as a matter of fact.
However, on a foundational level, the core objective must be to communicate and reiterate the primary brand message consistently, over and over again in some form or the other.
2. It is not about you, it is about them
While you are strategizing and planning your brand activation events, remember this simple yet often ignored principle. Any branding or marketing effort in the modern age should put the customer at the center.
It is easy to get lost in the echo chamber of what your brand is about and how your product adds value to the customers. While that is important, it should not become the focus of your content.
You as a brand should aim to aid a person to get their problem solved. They are the heroes and champions and your brand helps them to achieve their goals.
Keeping this simple fact at the back of your mind can give you surprising insights and creative ideas for brand activations that can help you earn the loyalty of your customers.
3. Be genuine, human, and authentic as a brand
Which brand comes to your mind on hearing the word happiness?
Chances are you must have thought about Coca-Cola and its famous global advertising campaign of "Choose Happiness". By associating themselves with an elementary human emotion like happiness, Coca-Cola was able to capture the attention of millions of people around the globe.
People love to be associated with companies who evoke strong positive emotions or delight them with an exceptional customer experience. Your customers are human beings wired for basic emotions and feelings such as love, friendship, sharing, connection, and so on.
As a brand, bring out the human element in your marketing campaigns be it on social media or in outdoor promotional activation campaigns.
Stay authentic to what you stand for in all your communications. Not only does it help in building trust but also helps your brand craft a genuine identity.
4. Incorporate storytelling in your activations
Storytelling must be a crucial component of all your brand communications and marketing efforts. This holds true for your creative brand activation campaigns as well.
In your story, your customer is the hero (remember, it is about them, and not you) and your brand is their ally who aids in achieving their dreams. Take them on a journey where they accomplish their goals and gain a sense of satisfaction and happiness by using your product or service.
Even in activations, your customer is often the primary player or participant. Craft your activation in such a manner that evoke the desired emotional response people will get on using your brand. Make them curious and interested in your story as a brand!
In our brand activations at WOWSOME, we always strive to give a creative story line that keeps the user of the product/service at the center.
For example, in our mixed reality solution for DuPont, farmers who were supposed to be the end-user of the product, playing the game as if they themselves were trying to solve the problem of decreased yield in their fields. The personalized storytelling approach led to high engagement and appreciation among people making it into a successful brand activation.
5. Aim to get people to take action during the campaign
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." This is valid for all marketing or promotional events but is particularly essential for the success of brand activation.
Your brand activation must involve action and participation from the people instead of making them a passive bystander. There is a reason why it is an "activation" and not just a regular marketing campaign.
Unless you get people to act and engage with your activation booth, they won't remember you in long term. To increase the recall value and establish a brand identity that stays with people, get them to take action in some way or the other.
Also see: A to Z of Experiential Marketing
6. Dare to think out of the box and go beyond conventions
With the availability of technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic displays, there is no dearth of innovative ideas for brand activations.
Think of all crazy concepts and ideas to engage your customers and chances are you might find a way to execute them. Yes, it would also depend on the budget of your experiential marketing campaign but the idea is not to limit yourselves while conceptualizing ideas.
Thinking out of the box without any limitations may or may not give you a creative experiential marketing idea that can be executed immediately. But it would open your mind to possibilities and infuse creativity and uniqueness into your brand activations. For more ideas while you brainstorm, check out 6 Outstanding Examples of Experiential Marketing Campaigns that you can learn from.
7. Do not lose sight of metrics and goals while thinking big
Having considered the possibility of using new and innovative technologies, keep in mind your ultimate objective of doing an activation. It is very easy to lose track of real goals and metrics you are trying to hit amidst the attraction of fancy ideas.
Yes, you might be able to attract people to your event or campaign by employing new-age tech and gadgets. However, the extent of the engagement and the real impact would be decided by how well people are able to recall your brand.
In future, everyone is going to be using these technologies as they become cheaper and widely accepted. The real test of your brand activation depends on the ease of their integration with your creative concept and how effectively they can meet the goals of your brand.
8. Maintain a uniform strategy to ensure consistent communication and accurate tracking
This one is important and requires repeating once again. Look at brand activation from a long-term perspective instead of a one-time thing.
Instead of planning different brand activations in silos, spend some time creating a brand activation strategy that would lay the foundation for all your promotional marketing activations. The strategy would involve clarity about your goals, target market, tactics, brand analysis, and creating a team with defined roles and responsibilities to execute the promotional branding strategy.
A uniform activation strategy would also ensure that people receive a consistent brand message over time and not get confused with different communication from different activations. This plays a crucial role in establishing the brand identity you desire from your efforts.
9. MAKE USE OF MULTIPLE MARKETING CHANNELS DURING ONGOING ACTIVATIONS
You need not be limited to offline marketing modes while doing marketing activations. Today people are equipped with different devices more than ever.
Make way to integrate different social media channels into your campaign. It can include running paid promotions, live event tracking on your website, advertising on Facebook if your budget permits, and hashtags on Twitter.
In the age of a hyper-connected world, you must strive for a 360 degree approach to communicate with your target audience at every possible touch-point. Deploying multiple channels during brand activations will help you accomplish this objective. And even better if you could make use of User Generated Content to promote your brand on social media.
10. Refrain from excessive brand mentions or promotional messaging
One disadvantage of thinking long-term with brand activations is you run a risk of over-promoting and repeating the message frequently. In other words, it could lead to something called brand overload or exhaustion.
This can easily irritate or put off people who might alienate from your brand altogether. The best way to deal with this is to plan your individual activations targeting different audiences, geographical regions while maintaining a pragmatic approach to promotional content.
Observe the reactions of your audience and keep track of engagements to help you gauge any changes in brand sentiment and alter the individual event activations accordingly.
TO SUM UP:
The above brand activation tips are by no means exhaustive or universally applicable to every brand. However, they will help you get in the right mindset when you plan your next brand activation or marketing campaign or while thinking about launching a new brand.
Brand activations are an integral part of your marketing and communication strategy. However, with plenty of options available today, it is easy to get distracted from the core purpose of an activation- to engage with your target customer in a meaningful manner with an objective to establish an emotional connection.
Follow the above tips to stay on track during your next activation and keep following WOWSOME for latest updates, tips, and tricks to increase brand engagement and value.