Since time immemorial, business owners and marketing professionals have been constantly on the lookout for ways to effectively convey their message, showcase their products or services, and establish strong bonds with their target audience. While seemingly straightforward, it’s not always an easy thing to do.
With so much buzz on the Internet and countless other brands fighting for market share, how exactly do you stand out? While there is no shortage of ways to achieve this objective, there is one ingenious and foolproof strategy you can bank on—brand activation.
Brand Activation in a Nutshell
In essence, brand activation is defined as the in-person experiences, events, and interactions that can help forge an enduring emotional connection between brands and the people they are targeting. Others define brand activation as so-called experiments in experiential marketing, with creating buzz as one of its primary aims.
Nowadays, big brands are investing more money each year in an effort to outdo each other in terms of generating buzz. Case in point: Who can forget when Lady Gaga performed inside a 62-foot-tall “vending machine,” courtesy of Doritos? Or that time when USA Networks promoted Mr. Robot by installing a 100-foot working replica of the Coney Island ferris wheel in Austin?
This might not be common knowledge but in the marketing world, providing amazing experiences is more than just an effective way to create buzz. More than anything, it is considered one of the best ways brands can build emotional connections with their target audience.
If forging a strong emotional bond with your target audience is something you’d like to achieve, the following brand activation ideas should get your efforts off to an amazing start:
Activation Idea Number 1
Give attendees the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones
It’s safe to assume most of the people who attend your events have things on their bucket lists they can’t wait to check off—riding a mechanical bull, trying chocolate-covered crickets, or listening to a 24-piece orchestra, to name a few.
When you give your audience an opportunity to get out of their comfort zones and tick things off their bucket lists, you’re also creating a memorable and lasting connection with them.
Case in point: Durango Boots gave avid country music fans an unforgettable time and an opportunity to explore (and show off) their adventurous side by providing unlimited rides on their mechanical bull El Diablo during Canada’s Boots and Hearts Festival.
Ardent Game of Thrones fans had the time of their lives when HBO organised an expansive renaissance fair-like event complete with costumed Wildlings, Dothrakis, and banners from the Lannisters and Starks. The other highlights of the affair? Fortune-telling, sword fights, and listening to a 24-piece orchestra.
Activation Idea Number 2
Create a fun and memorable experience
In 2017, luxury department store Nordstrom provided patrons with a fun and memorable experience by setting up shops that only sell experiences. By providing makeover, styling, and sampling services, they were able to give people delightful and memorable experiences they’re more than happy to share with others.
To bring awareness and give attendees an exciting, fun, and unforgettable time, Redoxon held Boost and Slide. In the venue, they set up a giant water slide (over 100m!) where participants got wet and had fun without inhibitions. The 2-day event was very exhilarating that it even drew in international participants!
Activation Idea Number 3
Immerse attendees in their favourite worlds
Want an infallible way to astound and excite attendees? Give them a quick escape from everyday life and whisk them away to their favourite worlds!
To usher in the highly anticipated final season of HBO’s top-rated show Game of Thrones, HBO collaborated with MGM Resorts to produce a show that featured music, video projections (dragon silhouette, anyone?), and pyrotechnics on the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.
To prepare for Season 6 of The Walking Dead, Fox International held “The Walking Dead: Mission Survive.” Fans of the hit show grouped themselves together and participated in over 30 physical and mental games. They also had to find secret locations and open new stations and missions. No doubt, it’s pretty much the closest thing solid fans can get next to actually being on the show!