Marketing

21 Brand Activation Ideas to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Are you looking for some brand activation ideas to engage and excite your customers? These 21 handpicked ideas will help your brand stand out & make an everlasting impression.

You have been assigned the responsibility to conceptualise and create the next brand activation event for your upcoming product.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your creativity and come up with a memorable and innovative activation ideas to promote your brand.

However, you feel stuck as you know how hard it can be to capture and sustain the attention of people.

Tried and tested branding and event marketing strategies no longer work in the age of distraction. You need something out of the box and unique to suit your brand and its target audience.

Fret not as we are here to help you out and take you through some of the most creative brand activation ideas employed by reputed firms all over the world.

As we go through this list, we will also analyze these brand activation examples and come up with insights that you can use to craft your own brand activation campaign.

So, let's begin. 

 

Table of Contents (Click to Jump To A Specific Section):

1. In-Store Activation Ideas

2. Christmas/Festival Brand Activation Ideas

3. Rural Brand Activation Ideas

4. Automotive Brand Activation Ideas

5. Food Brand Activation Ideas

6. Sports Event Activation Ideas

7. Real Estate Brand Activation Ideas

 

Also see: What Poe From Altered Carbon Can Teach You About Branding 

 

Best Creative Ideas for Brand Activation

In-Store Brand Activation Ideas

If your company already has an offline store and engage with customers regularly, in-store activation could be a great strategy to promote a new product. Some of the ideas you can employ are:

1) Re-Create the scenario of Product Application within Your Store


Know how your customers could use the product and come up with ways to make them experience the product in the store itself. This could involve setting up a "Try Yourself" counter where you provide a setting where store visitors can actually use your product.

For example, IKEA opened up a pop-up DIY restaurant in London where visitors can come and cook their own meals.

The purpose was to promote the dining product range of IKEA as well as the food in their cafes. This was a great example of a brand recreating application of product within their store.

2) Share your brand story and history in a creative way


People don't just buy products these days, they buy your story. So, share your story with your visitors on the day of launch. Design an activity that helps visitors have fun and discover secret facts about your brand as they go about exploring your store.

For example, Bloomingdale’s designed a unique scavenger hunt for their flagship stores. 

Scavenger hunt participants posing with a mannequin - Museum Hack's in-store brand activation for Bloomingdale's

Source: Museum Hack

The visitors not only got to know about the brand closely but also interacted with salespeople, tried on products, and shared their experiences on social media, thus created additional user generated content for the brand.

3) Use technology to create an in-store brand experience that solves a problem


Advancements in augmented and virtual reality technologies have opened exciting new doors for experiential marketing.

Especially in retail fashion stores, there is an immense scope of offering an interactive brand activation using augmented reality technology. Make sure your brand activation also solves a particular problem your customers might face in stores.

Digital fitting rooms used by fashion retailers like perfect example of employing technology to create a brand experience while solving a problem. 

The interactive fitting room allows visitors to visualize accessories like bags or scarves on their selected outfits on a mounted interactive display. Another example is UNIQLO's Magic Mirror, which is a virtual dressing room. It allows customers to virtually try out various colors, thus reducing the need to to change their outfits multiple times. 

UNIQLO magic mirror (color-changing mirror) - In-store brand activation using Augmented Reality technology

                                                                                                               Source: UNIQLO Magic Mirror

Also See: Augmented Reality Shopping is Changing The Way You Buy

Christmas/Festival Brand Activation Ideas

Christmas is the perfect time to launch a new product and attract people to your stores. Here are some of the best holiday brand activation ideas to help you generate the maximum attention from potential customers during Christmas festivities:

4) Go big on mall activations


Marketing is all about communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time. You need to not only know who your customers are but also where you could find them.

 When it comes to Christmas, shopping malls are one place where you can expect to find all kinds of people. So, utilize this opportunity and connect your product with the festive spirit to make the best use of Christmas season. 

5) Capture the right emotions with your brand activation campaign


When generating your Christmas activation idea, remember that this is the time when people are or want to be around their families celebrating together. So, your purpose should be to delight your customers with the holiday themes of love, generosity, joy, family, and fun!

For example, the luxury hotel, Landmark in HongKong transformed their atrium into a "wishing factory" with a "Wishing machine" next to the installation.


The whole setup was run by 80 life-size Santa Paws teddy bears working to make wishes come true.

Visitors can write their wishes on paper and drop them as tokens and for every token, Landmark donated HK$20 to a charity highlighting the festive spirit of giving and generosity.

6) AR-enabled photobooths and experiential zones with your brand in background


Augmented reality can take the simple photobooth experience to a magical level during holidays.

Add interactive backgrounds of snow, Santa, reindeers, and other holiday symbols with which people can take selfies, experience your product, and go back with memories and smiles.

For example, we at WOWSOME did a Christmas activation for kids where we created a mixed reality Christmas environment comprising of responsive reindeers, Santa Claus, and lots of snow!

Rural Brand Activation Ideas

Brand activations in rural areas can prove to be a challenging task if you try to employ similar ideas suited to an urban audience. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination and creativity to promote your brand in remote corners:

7) Create content in the local language to connect with the audience


This is a simple idea but often ignored by brands while reaching out in a rural setting.

Ultimately, marketing is about communicating and connecting with your audience and using the local language can significantly enhance your chances of making that emotional connection with your audience.

For example, to promote a brand of pesticides targeted towards farmers, WOWSOME did an activation in multiple local languages and the response was overwhelming.

Despite being a brand activation using mixed reality technology unfamiliar to most farmers, the brand activation managed to engage and connect with them wonderfully. To know more about how this brand activation engaged the rural audience, check out our case-study on taking mixed reality marketing to Indian farmers

8) Try the power of edutainment to activate your brand in the rural segment


If your product solves a critical problem faced by rural people, an idea to educate them and entertain them at the same time can work wonders for your brand.

For example, using traditional forms of entertainment mediums like street plays, flash mob can be immensely helpful to educate and entertain people while making them aware of your brand.

9) Product demos through mobile vans to raise awareness


Connectivity can be a major hurdle while reaching out to rural consumers especially in India. To raise brand awareness and reach, you can stage demonstrations and small exhibitions or events in such areas using mobile vans.

This on-ground marketing tactic is successfully applied by many FMCG companies in India to activate their brand and reach rural customers.

For example, Operation Harvest by Hindustan Unilever initiated mobile van operations to reach 30,000 villages where they gave promotional packs, showed product ads, and identified key accessibility points to set up their distribution centres.

It was a perfect example of brand activation combined with an overarching omni-channel retail strategy.

Automotive Brand Activation Ideas

The right idea for activation of an automotive brand depends a lot on the type of automotive and target demographics. Have a look at some of the creative brand activation ideas for an automobile:

10) In-Store Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality experience


Virtual and augmented reality technology has emerged as a go-to strategy for many car brand activations. You can offer a highly personalized, interactive, and immersive experience of your brand by integrating this tech with your in-store displays and installations. 

For example, Jaguar partnered with IBM to offer a personalized VR experience to store visitors where they can configure the car features and then experience the luxury car using sensory-based technology. 

11) Car brand activation at airport


The idea of activation at airports could be an ideal way to reach out to your target customers, particularly if you cater to a premium segment.

Many luxury car brands often partner with airports for their brand activations and promotion of new car models. For example, Jaguar XE in 2015 had an interactive display while showcasing their latest model in the airport. 


The campaign not only managed to garner attraction but also made people interact and learn about the features of the product using the display.

12) Mixed Reality gamification to get them familiar with new features


Going a notch above virtual or augmented reality technology, mixed reality technology can totally revolutionize the customer experience and engagement at your brand activation.

Since people can interact with the virtual environment in a mixed reality scene, it offers varied possibilities of making people engage with your products.

For example, WOWSOME worked with Mahindra, a leading automobile manufacturer in India, to come up with a mixed reality game to promote their new truck model Supro

The mixed reality game focused on making people learn about unique features and benefits as they played the interactive game delivering a perfect value-based brand activation campaign. 

Food Brand Activation Ideas

Promoting a food brand through on-ground activations can be the most simple and challenging task at the same time. While you can simply offer freebies and samples at an ongoing event, this easy trick could not establish the emotional connection with your audience.

So, here are some creative food brand activation ideas that could help you go beyond the freebie strategy:

13) Take visitors through an experience of making the product


Brands like McDonald's have successfully employed this unique brand activation strategy to improve their brand perception as well as awareness of their products.

You can craft a unique journey during which visitors learn the making of your product from sourcing of raw materials to final packaging.

For example, Bombay Sapphire created a 60 minute live, immersive experience to share their brand story.


Located in a stationary train, the journey involved people going through 10 different locations that corresponded to different botanicals used to make Bombay Sapphire gin.

The brand activation campaign generated a lot of excitement and hype among people and attracted a lot of media attention. 

14) Delight them with a fun activity and reward with free goodies


Freebies and product samples might be a simple strategy as said earlier, but when given as a result of an engaging activity, people are more likely to recall your brand later.

There are a number of event branding examples of food brands organizing fun competitions at events to attract people and reward them with free samples of their products.

The most memorable event branding example that comes to mind is the noise-rewarding vending machines by Pepsi installed during NFL. 

 
People had to cheer for their teams and make enough noise to get a Pepsi can out of the vending machine. No doubt it generated a lot of attention from visitors.

We, at WOWSOME, did a similar activation during IPL 2018 for Royal Challengers Bangalore using our customized mixed reality module, Excitometer. The fans had to show excitement in front of the screen to make players run between the wickets. More the excitement, faster the running between the wickets!

15) Focus on offering additional value with your product


A simple, low-cost brand activation idea for a new food product is to offer some additional value such as a quick cooking session with an expert chef in the store itself.

Or you can go the IKEA way as earlier where you offer people a chance to try different recipes using your product and reward people with most delicious dishes. 

Brand Activation Ideas for Sports Events

Sports brands are front-runners when it comes to innovative brand activations at popular events. The underlying theme behind all activations, however, involves getting people to act in some way or the other.

Here we present some of the best sports brand activation ideas that could help you formulate your own branding and marketing strategy.

Also see: Augmented Reality - A Game Changer in Sports

16) Look for the trending events aligned with your product


The impact of your brand activation on sales largely depends on how effective it is to capture the imagination of the right audience.

So, timing and location of your activation play a crucial role. Look for local sports events or trending competitions in your area which are relevant to your product and plan your brand activation campaign accordingly.

For example, Nike took advantage of the annual holiday of Go Skateboarding Day for their activation. 

They transformed the New York City barge into a floating skate park and invited influential professional skaters to wow people.

It was a great example of a brand utilizing a relevant holiday to promote their brand messaging.

17) Make creative use of public places for brand activation


Bill boardings, interactive posters, and glass displays are just a few locations to promote your brand offerings. In addition, many brands also make use of public spots such as waiting lounges at airports, bus stands, railway station parking, etc.

For example, sports drink brand Lucozade used a public bus shelter and turned it into an interactive screen which motivated people to move and gave them free drinks at the end.


The shock and the novelty factor of the activation made sure that people had a higher brand recall and connected with the brand emotionally.

18) Get them moving and reward them with goodies


A simple yet effective strategy, just like Pepsi's Oomph-o-Meter, is to get your target customers play some sport or mimic movements from the screen to win a reward. You might need to implement augmented or mixed reality technology to track the motion of people and develop the system.

For example, Adidas opened a popup store to distribute free trainers of NBA star Derrick Rose.

 

 

However, there was a catch as people had to mimic the basketball movements and jump to knock off the shoes placed at the height of a basketball hoop. 

Real Estate Brand Activation Ideas

Effective real estate branding and marketing is all about how well you can make your customers imagine and experience living in the place. With the advancement in Augmented Reality Technology, that has become a lot easier but there are few other ideas for real estate brand activation that you can employ to generate audience attention.

19) Sponsor events at the private clubs/societies


This is the best way to reach out to potential customers in the premium segment. You can sponsor parties and events at the local clubs and societies where you can find people who might be interested in buying property.

20) Integrate technology with your traditional marketing collateral


Traditional print brochures for real estate cannot give an accurate idea of the property, at least not better than using a 360-degree video or interactive video. Thanks to the power of Augmented Reality technology, you can now integrate with your marketing collateral.

For example, using WOWSOME Interactive Print, you can offer interactive brochures that people can scan with their phone and visualize the experience of living in that property.

 WOWSOME - Exploring interactive spaces through Virtual Reality 360 degree videos - Real estate

Exploring interactive spaces through virtual reality  

21) Partner with hotels for activation


This is one of the best ideas for real estate brand activation as you can find out people who might be looking for places to stay in the city. It can be as simple as putting up a banner display at the entrance or a highly interactive screen with 360 degree virtual reality view of the entire property.

Summing It Up: 

There is no one special trick to get your brand activation right. You must be willing to experiment and think outside the box to connect with your audience.

However, you must keep one thing in mind to come up with best brand activation ideas: Know Your Audience. Unless you know who is your target customer segment and what excites and appeals to them, even a great brand activation idea might fail to make an impression. 

So, go ahead and try some of the above ideas for your next branding campaign. If you have some more creative event branding ideas you would like to see in this list, let us know in the comments below. 


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