What is brand activation and how can I do it right?

What is brand activation and how can I do it right?

While at first it may be assumed that the term ‘brand activation’ is just another industry buzzword in this modern age of marketing, it is, in fact, a very valuable method of engaging with the public and making authentic connections with your target audience.

What is brand activation?

Brand activation is the process of generating awareness of your brand through a campaign, interaction or event. It is crucial for new brands who are not yet known to the public to create a buzz when launching, bringing your brand ‘alive’ to the public eye.Brand activation can also be used for businesses that want to re-brand. It provides the opportunity to launch a new concept, transforming old perceptions and re-establishing yourselves with your new vision.

It is important to know the difference between brand activation and brand marketing. Brand activation is a specific event or campaign with the aims of creating momentary excitement, while brand marketing is a more general term for an on-going marketing strategy with a steady approach to maintain a brand.

The point of brand activation is to set off your brand in the right way. While it is only a short-term method, the idea is to have long-term effects as you want the public to engage on a personal level so that you stick in their minds. So, while revenue increase is important as this is a factor of any promotional strategy, think deeper and consider that it is about creating an authentic connection with your target audience. Brand activation is less about pushing your message onto your consumers and more about drawing them with campaigns and events that they actually want to interact with.

Types of brand activation

There are a few different ways in which you can ‘activate’ your brand:

  1. Experiential Marketing

As suggested in the name, experiential marketing is all about creating an in-person experience for consumers that allows them to physically interact and engage with your brand. Also known as engagement marketing or interactive marketing, it is the interactive element that makes experiential marketing memorable to the consumers and therefore helps you to form relationships with your target audience. This is a chance for you to get creative and really cause a stir to get your name known.

An example of experiential marketing would be French water sports brand Tribord’s ‘worst drink in the world’ campaign. To launch their new inflatable life vest, they wanted to highlight the importance of water safety.
The aim was to create the sensation of drowning by offering a new drink ‘WAVE’ out to the public. To everybody’s surprise, it was actually just seawater in a can. This would definitely have been more memorable than just seeing an AD in a magazine.

Sampling Campaigns

People are often apprehensive about trying new products, therefore offering them a chance to try out what you have to offer for free will help to draw them in and introduce them to your brand and hopefully, they will like it and want to spend money on it. The more creative this is done, the more effective it will be as the more people will be talking and sharing online about your brand.

You must keep in mind that it is unlikely that people will take too kindly if they feel they that are having products forced upon them. Ensure that you have a well-thought-out plan to carry out your sampling that focuses’ more on entices your audience rather than pushing it on them.

2. In-store brand activation

Executing an in-store promotion or event is another interactive method that allows consumers to see and sample products and immerse themselves in everything that your brand is about. This allows you to show how you treat your customers and humanises you by putting a face to the company, making you appear more authentic and trustworthy.

3. Industry events and trade shows

Showcasing your brand at an industry event or trade show is the perfect opportunity to activate your brand and introduce yourself to your specific target audience. Here you can also try out other activation methods such as sampling or experiential marketing.

How to do brand activation successfully?

It is important that you use your social media platforms to give exposure to your events and campaigns. This will magnify the effects of your brand activation as you want to ensure that as many people know about what you are doing as possible to expand your reach and maximise the effects. As well as making use of all of your social media platforms, having a PR strategy in place will ensure that you allow coverage in the right publications.

Be aware that done wrong, brand activation can instead be seen as more of a publicity stunt and may be more likely to put potential customers off. While it is OK to be daring and have a shock factor, it’s important to consider boundaries and stay on-brand. Be aware of the feedback you receive either personally or from what you see on social media. This will help you to measure the success of your brand activation.

A final word would be to stay patient and don’t assume that one activation will turn your brand into a viral sensation overnight. Done at the right times combined with an effective PR and marketing strategy, they can certainly give a boost to the conversation surrounding your brand.


For help with brand activation, please contact info@londoncbdgroup.com. We would love to assist you in taking your brand to new heights!