Brand activation

Posted in Brand on 23 May 2018 By Jennie Robertson, Account Director

A brand is every part of what makes your company unique. It’s made up of your look and feel – logo, tone of voice, colour palette etc – but also your leadership, your employees, your behaviours, personality and culture. All the things that touch customers’ lives to create an impression and emotional connection with a brand.

Once your brand is in place, whether new or refreshed, you need to activate it and make it known. Brand activation is the switching on of your brand in people's minds, waking them up to it and allowing them to experience the product or service in a personal way. It might not mean much to the average person but if they’ve sampled a product, watched an ad campaign or even used a voucher, they’ve experienced this kind of brand-building, whether they realised it or not.

And the aim is that these moments, especially if they happen regularly and the message is consistent, will create positive feeling, build trust in what you’re saying and eventually lead to action, increasing the number of people who buy your product, use your service and engage with you across channels.

In order to activate effectively and see results, you need to really understand your audience - who they are, where they are, what’s important to them and how they like to be communicated with. Once this is known, you can plan opportunities to engage with them, make sure you reach them on the right channel, in the right moment and in a way that resonates with them. Activation done well should create an emotional connection between customers and your brand so that it sticks in their minds and makes them more likely to trust and engage with it and become your long-term consumers.

In order to activate effectively and see results, you need to really understand your audience - who they are, where they are, what’s important to them, how they like to be communicated with etc.

Activation done well is connected too – we have more channels than ever before, so brands must work harder and be smarter with their touchpoints and communications to reach people.  The experience of your brand must be the same on each channel they encounter you on. Consumers expect a seamless experience from you across the channels they move around.

An example of a brand getting activation right is John Lewis. Take their Monty the Penguin Christmas campaign– as well as audiences seeing the ad on TV, it had an active social campaign (being shared 288,000 times) and was brought to life in stores with displays, Monty’s own ‘Magical Toy Machine’, and online with the specially created app. There were also, of course, the range of Monty toys and branded items available to buy, final sales of which more than covered the cost of creating the ad itself.

And that is one of the key benefits of adding activation to your marketing strategy. Activation can reduce the investment needed in other marketing activities. By using experiences to build a relationship and connection with consumers, they are already aware - and warm to - your brand and this allows you to use high-cost activities like advertising more strategically. A warmth and trust in your brand can also speed people along the decision-making process and encourage further discovery of your brand, promoting further connection, purchase and repurchase.


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