Brand Activations Post-Covid

Brand activations can provide real benefits, if executed well. Brand activations are usually face to face marketing campaigns however. So, are brand activations no longer viable in a world of ongoing Covid variants and restrictions? 

These are the questions we’ll answer in this article.

Brand Activations Explained

A brand activation is a marketing campaign in which customers interact with a company’s brand and products. Interaction is the key defining factor of brand activations, and that’s not in vain. With a successful brand activation, companies improve the relation they have with their target audience. 

It’s also important to make the distinction between brand activations and branding in general. A brand activation is a singular event, which highlights a company’s brand in a particular way.

But brand activations have been a reality for years. 

Examples of Brand Activations

Retail company isles inside supermarket stores are the most common example of brand activations. The food industry in particular takes advantage of this to leverage their products. They’ll simply set-up a booth with samples of their product inside a supermarket. Anyone passing by can stop and have a taste of the product for free. On top of the product itself, these stalls also feature key defining characteristics of the brand itself. 

For example, if a food distributor focuses on organic sourcing, this can be reflected in the design of the stall.

But brand activations can be more specific.

Music festivals reserve a lot of booths for companies that target party-goers. Urban Wear or drink distribution companies can set-up a stall at music festivals to highlight their favorite songs, and inspire a party flavor to their target audience.

That’s not all though.

Brand activations rely on delivering an experience to the target audience. Anything that can do that, while engaging their attention, and communicating brand values, is a brand activation.

The Benefits Of A Brand Activation

The modern world is cluttered. With notifications, outstanding tasks, and snippets of information finding their way to people every second, it’s hard to get someone’s attention. Regular branding or marketing efforts don’t help in all scenarios either. Any regular PR campaign is part of that clutter.

Brand activations help you stand out of the clutter. It delivers more than a simple message, email, notification, or 20% discount offer. It delivers an experience. Just with that, the clear benefit is larger market penetration, as well as an increase in customer trust for a brand.

On top of that, brand activations help:

  • Convert more customers.
  • Understand a target audience’s needs.
  • Solidify a brand’s standing in the community.
  • Raise awareness about CSR campaigns.

How To Do A Brand Activation

The first step to any successful brand activation is developing a good experience. That is what brand activations are focused on: experiential marketing. But it’s not always a straightforward approach. Delivering a memorable experience to a target audience requires some brainstorming, and outside the box thinking.

Sure, it’s not always the case.

But usually, a successful brand activation can only stand out with something truly special up its sleeve.

So the first step when doing a brand activation is to brainstorm. Marketing teams that want to deliver a great experience need to analyze the brand, the products, and find an activation opportunity based on it.

But the products and brand aren’t the only things that matter.

The context of the brand activation is also important.

Let’s take a company that sells kitchen appliances for example. If they get the chance to do a brand activation in an online conference, they’d probably focus on creating a great virtual demo. By contrast, the brand activation of the same company should be much more interactive at a conference.

On top of context, it’s important to create a connection between the brand and the target audience that will interact with the brand activation. For this, marketers should focus on infusing a brand activation with the right style, tone, and message that reflects the value of their business.

Remember that brand activations aren’t just about highlighting a product. They’re also about highlighting a brand. They’re a marketing and sales effort as much as they’re a branding effort.

The Covid Factor

With massive vaccination efforts across the globe, the world is slowly coming back to normal. That includes the resurgence of live events, and brand activations. But since we’re not completely out of the woods yet, brand activations need to account for this factor.

The first step in managing that is to research public safety regulations in the place where a brand activation will take place. Things like the number of people you can have in a specific place, mask mandates, or social distancing measures need to be taken into account before even brainstorming a post-covid brand activation.

However, for complete safety and social responsibility, companies can go beyond the legal requirements for public events. Ensuring a sanitized environment for brand activations is a plus for post-covid experiential marketing.

But companies can take advantage of the situation even more.

The Covid pandemic didn’t just affect how we conduct in-person events. It also changed a lot about people’s needs. A larger appreciation for remote work, a default to digital solutions, and a larger concern around health issues are only a few of the shifts that Covid created. 

So in any branding effort, a company should formulate answer to the post-covid needs. Brand activations are no different.

In Conclusion

Brand activations are the one form of marketing that has been truly impacted by Covid, and that may not change anytime soon. That said however, they always required a lot of effort and outside the box thinking to pull off right, but now companies that want to implement them also need to worry about public health regulation.

But it’s all worth it. Brand activations provide a ton of exposure and solidify a brand immensely.