Activation marketing is focused on inspiring action through brand engagement. It’s an excellent way to get your message across and to get your target audience to act and engage with your brand.

You may have heard about it or know a little bit about what it is but are curious to learn more. You’ve come to the right place to get a better idea of what activation marketing is, the history and background of it, how it works, and how it can help you. It’s time to implement these tips if you’re ready to take your digital marketing and brand marketing to the next level.

History of it

The world and technology have changed a lot in recent years. Activation marketing was considered a bit of grey area and a seldom mentioned topic. However, nowadays, it’s a widespread subject matter and many marketers are dabbling with various strategies and ways of making their brand come to life. It all started with marketing activations through a basic campaign, which evolved into event activations, and now into brand activation or activation marketing.

The first documented examples of experiential marketing are from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which then evolved into product demonstrations and street marketing and promotional vehicles in the 1900s. Then in the 2000s viral marketing took off, followed by immersive brand experiences and pop-up events. Today, we come to know these types of brand engagements as activation marketing.  

How it Works

Brand activations are a marketing method that involves engaging consumers by creating an experience and allowing them to interact with your brand. It’s a way to ignite positive associations with your brand and build long-term loyalty to it. Most are interactive and will allow your audience to directly interact with your brand and its products. Through activation marketing, you’re able to generate awareness and build lasting connections with your target audience. It’s an effective way to cultivate deeper, more personal connections between your brand and your target audience.

Keep in mind that activation marketing is different from general marketing and trying to build awareness. It’s different in the sense that it refers to a specific campaign or event. It’s an isolated experience with the sole purpose of elevating your brand, rather than the more general process of ongoing branding. It requires a lot of prep work but the results you’ll likely get will be well worth your efforts in the end.  

How it Helps Businesses & Brands

Activation marketing is important for several reasons and can truly help your brand succeed. It helps your business and brands by making your target audience not only aware of who you are and what you’re selling but creates an experience that will be memorable. It’s an excellent way to get your brand off the ground and make a name for yourself right away if you’re a new company especially. 

Personal connections such as these that are created with this type of marketing are essential to your business finding long-term success. You’ll be giving your audience a reason to get excited about your brand and what you’re doing. It’s an opportunity to bring your brand to life and gain attention from new audiences as well. Studies also show your audience is going to feel more inclined to make a purchase after having engaged with your brand in this way.

Examples

There are a few different types of activation marketing approaches to try. The four following ideas are some you may want to experiment with at your company.

  •  Experiential marketing
  • Samples and free trial campaigns
  • In-store brand activation
  •  Industry events and trade shows
  • Pop-up Stunt Activations for brands like Flash mobs

There are a few ways to go about executing your activation marketing strategy. Below are a few examples that may spark some other ideas and creativity at your workplace. At Momentum Solutions, our branding services strive to make those engagements longer lasting and more meaningful. The results are measurable and impactful.

  • A mysterious and magical mail slot gives random New Yorkers the chance to instantly deliver a Hallmark card and light up someone’s holiday.
  • A influencer dinner where Artificial Intelligence was invited to the table as a very special guest. 
  • A life-sized interactive tunnel where consumers walk through and interact with gigantic LED screens that mimic their movements.
  • Giant LEDs that immerse the consumer in a football field while they throw the drive fo their lives mimicking famous Superbowl pass of years gone by.
  • Placing a 10-foot tall boombox on Pier 17 in Manhattan and waited for unsuspecting people to plug it in.
  • In a stunt created with Hallmark, people’s messages are brought to life in the middle of New York City.

Best Practices & Tips for Success

There are some best practices and tips for success if you’re thinking about implementing activation marketing with your brand. It doesn’t matter what method or setting you choose, this advice will help ensure you’re happy with your results. Your goal is to avoid annoying your audience or being invasive to their space. You must respect your audience and not just roll out another publicity stunt. Plan and prepare your event with your audience in mind. Focus on coming up with a fun and engaging idea and not one that’s irritating or off-brand just to get attention.

Next, humanize your brand and focus on building relationships with your target audience. Involve humans who will represent your brand in the best way possible. Make it a personal experience and begin to build trust with consumers. Also, surprise and delight your audience without shocking them. The experience becomes much more enjoyable when it’s unexpected and brightens up someone’s day. Stick to your core values but also get creative and make sure consumers get to know your brand better. Finally, make sure that you keep your activation marketing approach a two-way street and listen to feedback. Collect feedback from your audience before, during, and after a brand activation. Surveying your audience will help you know what went right and what to change for the next time around.

Conclusion

Activation marketing is a hot topic right now and one you should be aware of and try to do at your company. However, you must think it through and be intentional with what you’re doing and how you do it to succeed. Follow these tips and best practices so you can get off on the right foot and ensure your audience walks away with the motivation to take action after having engaged with your brand.