The term brand activation, is something still not (too) familiar in Indonesia, people have many names of for each of the specific activity it relates to, for example: sampling, trial, sales activities, promotion, event roadshow, trade shows, exhibition – etc.
Based on my experience, in many ways, many people would simply call it “Marketing”. Luckily, now the term “Brand Activation” is getting rather popular than 10 years ago, though unfortunately not a lot of agency awards have this category listed –
What is it really?
In a nutshell, branding is who you are—and marketing is how you build awareness. Branding is your strategy, while marketing encompasses your tactical goals. Your branding will cultivate what your consumers can expect of you, and what they will experience when they utilize your products or services.
“A brand activation is any campaign, event, or experience that enables your brand to engage directly with consumers and build a loyal brand community around your product or service. Activations, often inclusive and interactive, ignite the fire that will light the way for people to find your product and align with your purpose”. (cramer.com)”
The most successful companies – regardless of size – focus on both branding and marketing. The combination is powerful. And the order in which you approach branding and marketing matters.
Your branding includes attributes such as a high commitment to quality, community, convenience, communication—or an ongoing commitment to a specific need your target audience needs to be fulfilled.
When speaking of marketing vs. branding, marketing refers to the tools you utilize to deliver the message of your brand. Marketing will continually change and evolve, just as the products and services you offer will continue to change and evolve. Marketing will be directly and specifically geared towards sectors of your target audience, all while supporting the core values of your brand. Even if you make adjustments to your brand, they will typically be in response to your growth or expanded services offered—but is rarely an overhaul of your core principals, mission, or values.
“Your branding includes attributes such as a high commitment to quality, community, convenience, communication—or an ongoing commitment to a specific need your target audience needs to be fulfilled. While marketing methods will evolve, and respond to current industry and cultural trends—branding remains the same”.
How do you ‘activate’ a brand?
With an increasing number of channels and touch points comes a growing number of ways to introduce your brand to people.
Let’s take a look at some of those methods.
1. Experiential marketing
Perhaps the best way to activate your brand in people’s minds is by allowing them to experience it first-hand. One of the industry that has been using this method, is the automotive business. Whenever they have a new model being launched, a gathering event followed by a series of test drive take place. It’s very rarely that someone would buy a car without trying it first. Once the customer enjoy the feeling & have the experience with the car, then the sales team would pitch in with their flexible payments, low down payment fees, and further extras.
2. Sampling campaigns
It could simply mean giving people the opportunity to try your products. Giving out free samples of a new product can be a great way to introduce people to your brand and get them to enjoy it and it’s more likely that they will be talking about the experience afterwards.
3. In-store brand activation
Another opportunity to activate a brand is through in-store promotions or events. We see this a lot in supermarkets and hypermarkets, where there is usually a gondola (special design product display) with a salesperson standing nearby talking to people, or just simply putting a salesperson there to explain the product.
A brand activation could also be a combination of different strategies, it could be from as simple as a trial/sampling activity, to a multi channel exhibition & supported with a direct house-to-house initiative.
Each brand should have a unique activation approach, making their consumer experience with the brand = unique.