Proven Brand Activation Ideas for Connecting with Your Audience

Expo Centric has worked with thousands of companies to bring their brand activation ideas to life over the last fourteen years. They understand that a brand activation goes beyond turning up to or creating an event. Brand activations are connecting a brand personality to a company’s target audience, and the following details some of the incredible ways other companies have executed this. 

What is a brand activation? 

A brand activation is a curation of enabling your brand to have a presence within a certain market, and most often for a finite period of time. 

Brand activations work to build awareness around a brand holistically or a certain element of the company. The awareness is often built by creating an element of engagement, to boost brand awareness and make a lasting impact on the audience.

The timing of a brand activation often lends itself to key moments within a company’s calendar. This may include the release or launch of a certain line or a celebration of a significant moment within the brand. Aligning the timing of brand activation events works to keep the focus on specific messaging, ultimately driving the success of the campaign. 

Determining the audience

Understanding the target audience will help support the type of brand activation event the company is considering. Often the audience of the brand activation aligns with the wider audience of the company. This may however be refined for a brand activation or shifted if the company is looking to explore a new audience. 

Consideration of the target audience will be required when looking at the cost, location, and format of the brand activation. Often a brand activation experience is hosted in a location nearest to their target audience to ensure their attendance is encouraged. 

Types of brand activations 

Whilst there may be endless types of brand activation examples, many of them can be categorised into either a virtual or face to face brand activation campaign. The following brand activation campaigns have been proven to provide strong engagement and successful results for companies across a variety of industries.

Face to Face Activations 

Face to face activations provide the opportunity for companies to connect beyond their existing potential customers. In person events work to create an emotional connection with a target audience to create a longer lasting impression. There are a myriad of physical brand activations to suit a budget of any size. 

Pop Up Stores

A pop up store is a temporary business presence that companies can adapt to create tactility with their audience. Pop up stores are quickly becoming popular for those businesses who cannot sustain a physical shop front, but like to connect with their audience and have a physical presence for a specific period of time. Pop up stores increase brand awareness through having limited edition experiences for consumers to enjoy. 

Exhibition & Trade Events 

Exhibition and trade events are a successful way to represent a brand in front of their target audience. Whilst the initial outgoings are priced higher, for companies who continue to attend with a custom stand and reuse items it can be a more cost efficient brand activation event. Attendance at events like these generate brand awareness beyond the companies existing database, as often the event planners will dedicate budget to the marketing of the show.

In store activation 

As suggested by its name an in store brand activation looks to host an event or campaign within the initial store of a company. This type of campaign can work for both established brands who have a signature store, and those that are just starting out to minimise costs. In store brand activations help support a personal connection with local existing and potential customers as it remains within their local area. The location of this type of activation also works due to minimised external limitations due to it being located in a space the company is familiar with. 

Influencer Events

Influencers are those personnel acknowledged as influential within a particular industry, and moreover those with a high following on social media. Influencer marketing and events work to drive attendance through the influencer’s network due to the opportunity to directly interact with the featured guest whilst at the event.

Companies often look at influencers as ambassadors for their brands or products and lean on their influence within the industry to promote their new line. As part of their brand activation, companies can create an exclusive event around the special guest to build excitement and extra hype. This will in turn boost sales, and potentially grow the customer base.

TIP: Companies should look to provide free samples at key events like this to help build brand talkability among the target audience. 

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a Virtual Reality headset or helmet. A virtual reality experience is an opportunity companies can look to incorporate as part of an existing event to level up the engagement amongst the attendees.

Annual event 

An annual event creates consistency in the brand activation calendar allowing a similar audience to be aware of and look out for the next event. An annual brand activation allows the opportunity to strengthen the brand values, and further develop the event year on year. Budgeting is able to be refined with more cost effective processes put in place with feedback taken into consideration. Types of annual events may include gala dinners, exhibition and trade shows, birthdays, and anniversaries to name a few.  

Virtual Activations 

As suggested by its name, a virtual brand activation strategy is one that occurs without the physical presence of it. Following covid, virtual activations have been increasingly more popular due to their flexibility, ability to reach larger audiences and at times cost efficiencies. 

Social Media Activation 

Social media activations usually sit within a company’s marketing campaigns and unlike other face-to-face activations, are often coordinated by a marketing team. A social media activation may include a social media challenge or competition incentivising engagement through winning a prize. 

This type of activation can be executed across a number of social media platforms to further grow the reach and target audiences beyond that of their usual following.

Virtual Events 

Virtual events allow companies to showcase their brand beyond the face-to-face attendees of an event. A virtual event breaks barriers to international travel and extends the company’s visibility to more customers. 

Pending the capability of the software, virtual exhibitions can be built to look like a physical exhibition stand and enable video calls, as well as virtually host information about the company’s offerings beyond the dates of the event. Beyond the interaction, virtual exhibitions can offer strong opportunities for lead generation. 

Cross Promotional Brand Activations 

Beyond purely virtual and face-to-face brand activations, sits the opportunity to cross-promote a brand activation. This enables a face-to-face activation to have an element of virtual presence to ensure all potential target audiences are hit throughout the campaign. A simple example of this may include a store’s new product launch whereby in-store customers receive a gift with the purchase of their new line. 

Virtually this same promotion can be distributed among social media platforms and via email for those purchasing online to also receive the same gift. This ensures regardless of who the audience is, they are able to create the same emotional connection with the brand. 

With so many ideas to choose from, make your next campaign one to remember by executing a brand activation. Whether it be face-to-face or virtual, create emotional connections, drive sales, and continue business growth well into the future with the support of brand activation. If your team is interested in creating this type of brand experience for their community but isn’t sure how speak to one of our experienced team members today.

Love what you’ve learnt, but still not sure where to start? Speak with one of our expert team members today.


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