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Unleash Your Brand's Potential: A Guide to Successful Brand Activations for Emerging Brands

April 28, 2023

Looking for a new marketing strategy to build sales? Let’s talk about brand activations.

Founders of emerging brands often feel intimidated by the concept of hosting a brand activation, thinking it’s a marketing strategy only for large brands with even larger budgets. However, after over a decade of building emerging brands with brand activations, it has proven that they can be an affordable and effective way to promote your brand and boost sales.

In this guide, we'll demystify brand activations by providing a step-by-step guide to help you boost your sales through creating memorable and enjoyable experiences for your target audience.

What is a Brand Activation?

A brand activation is a marketing strategy designed to create engaging and memorable experiences for your ideal customers, allowing them to connect with your brand.. This interactive approach enables you to share your brand story, interact with your target market, test ideas, and foster a sense of community - all contributing to increased sales.

A successful brand activation should focus on increasing brand awareness, encouraging brand engagement, cultivating a sense of community, building brand trust, and creating urgency for making a purchase. Together, these elements can significantly contribute to boosting sales.

Understanding Your Brand Story

Before you can start planning a brand activation, it’s important to understand and articulate  your brand story. Consider what  makes your brand unique and the story you want to share. Asking yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the story your brand is telling?
  • What’s the direction your brand is heading?
  • What are the brand storylines?

Brainstorming Consumer Engagement

Next, think about how customers can engage with your brand and understand its story. Helpful questions to ask yourself during this step:

  • What’s the overall message your brand is telling?
  • What type of community are you building for your brand?
  • What are common interests of your brand?
  • What lifestyle habits do they have in common?
  • What are common problems they are facing?
  • What are things they like to talk about?
  • How are they feeling before using your product?
  • What makes them feel compelled to purchase your product?
  • Why are they excited to shop your brand?
  • What activations, partnerships, promotions, or campaigns have you used in the past that converted to sales? What hasn’t worked?
  • What’s the top 3 selling points for your product?
  • What feature of your product do you feel the most confident talking about?

Your brand activation should be authentic, engaging, and shareable. Aim to leave a lasting impression on customers and foster a positive association with your brand. It should be something that sets your brand apart and makes customers excited to engage with your brand.

Team planning a brand activation

Creating Your Brand Activation: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Choose a Date, Time, and Location

My best advice is to start local. Where are shops, locations, meeting spaces your ideal client is already going that you can complement that space with your products or services? Ask if you can activate your brand in their space. Create an event page for RSVPs using an event management tool like Norby.

2. Define a Clear Call to Action

A good brand activation should have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to make it easy for customers to engage. You usually have a short period of time to engage so you need to make sure it’s clear. Your CTA should encourage customers to take specific actions, such as purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or following your brand on social media.

3. Set Measurable Goals

It’s important to measure the success of your brand activation. This can be done metrics like social media engagement, website traffic, and sales. A successful activation should:

  • Increase brand awareness - By creating a unique and memorable experience, customers are more likely to remember your brand and share it with others.
  • Encourage organic brand engagement - by creating a cool experience with your brand, customers are more likely to engage with a brand they feel a connection with and know their story.
  • Build brand community - By creating a unique experience, customers are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and connection with your brand.
  • Gather product feedback - By engaging with customers and asking for their opinions, you can improve your product and create a better customer experience
  • Boost point-of-sale purchases - A successful brand activation can also increase sales by creating a unique and memorable experience where customers are more likely to purchase your product on the spot.
  • Test selling points - By engaging with customers and getting their feedback, you can learn what resonates with them and adjust your messaging accordingly.

4. Develop a Content Strategy

Prepare your content strategy for your brand activation by:

  • Setting up an email list with an easy opt-in process
  • Leverage your social platforms for storytelling the setup of your brand activation and generate buzz
  • Sharing real-time content from the event to drive interest and attendance 
  • Capturing and sharing customer experiences during the activation 
  • Share a recap video of the brand activation capturing the event, key moments, and takeaways

And lastly, get creative with activating your brand! Remember that brand activations are all about providing unique and memorable experiences for your customers. So, think outside the box and design an event that truly stands out. This might involve incorporating interactive elements, using innovative technology, or partnering with other brands to create a one-of-a-kind experience.

Kelly Bennett (she/they) is an NYC- based Creative Director working with creative founders building emerging brands. You find out more about Kelly’s incubator, case studies, and listen to ‘Creative Direction with Kelly Bennett’ podcast here. Give Kelly a follow @withkellybennett

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