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The Secret to Brand Activations


What is a Brand Activation?

Brand activation essentially means the process of making your brand known to people, increasing awareness and building lasting connections with your target audience through some sort of brand experience. Your brand needs to be activated, to stand out from the crowd, to excel, grow and a brand activation can do that for you.

Even though building awareness and connection to an audience is the focus of brand activations, they usually refer to a specific campaign or event, an isolated experience through which a company drives customer actions with the main purpose being the elevation of your brand.

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So what types of brand activations are there?

The Different types of Brand Activations

Brand activation campaigns are all about creating something new and exciting that will grab the audience's attention. They should be fun and surprising with innovative elements that can engage and impact people effectively.

Brand activations can be conducted on physical and digital platforms, all the while seeking to provide a unique experience that people desire. They include new immersive interactive designs in pop-up stores and site-specific temporary or long-lasting experiences and often incorporate technology, different scenarios, and bold designs that provide something distinctive that is specific to the brand.

Phoenyx Spirits Brand Stand @ Imbibe Live 2022

Designed by Imagineerium

Brand activations include:

1. Experiential marketing

Also known as engagement marketing, where a brand creates an immersive, real-world experience for the purpose of engaging with their audience. These experiences usually centre around the value a brand believes in, the company’s mission and the sentiments it wishes to relay to its audience. Campaigns that use this form often involve live participation with virtual and augmented reality technologies taking it to a whole new level.

Elements tend to be tangible, immersive and ignite imagination in consumers, drive awareness to your brand, generate intrigue and provide a fun and engaging experience for your audience.

Designed by Imagineerium

2. Samples and free trial campaigns

Sample and free trial campaigns have been around for a long time and are probably one of the most used forms of brand activation. The goal is to let people try a product for free with the hopes that they’ll love it so much they will want to spend money on it.

Choosing the right environment and way to approach prospects is essential in this type of brand activation, so rather than bombarding people in a public setting and risk scaring them off, consider an upcoming event that your target audience are likely to attend and use this space to leverage your company.

In this digital age, sample campaigns can also be orchestrated digitally, by sending previous customers samples or surprising people with additional samples of newer products if they purchase something from your brand (something we know has worked on us in the past.) With the boom of social media, influencer marketing has also been extremely beneficial for brands, sending samples to those with a strong follower base to review, picture and therefore inform their followers of your products and services.

3. In-store brand activations

As we have established, the purpose of brand activations is to forge strong connections between the brand and audience and there is no better environment for this than the business headquarters or flagship store. Usually more popular for B2C companies or store-based brands, this activation offers consumers a chance to see and sample products in person and experience the brand in its organic environment, which can help transport consumers to the heart of the company, its values and customer service style.

Window installation for Kentucky Owl at Amathus Drinks, London

Designed by Imagineerium

4. Industry events and trade shows

Industry events and trade shows provide the perfect opportunity to activate your brand and incorporate a number of the brand activation techniques, including experiential marketing and sample campaigns. These events can act as a springboard for brand authority and introduce your company to new audiences, as well as allowing you to see what your competitors are doing. A great example is Imbibe Live, an annual interactive that brings brands from the drinks industry together to showcase what they have to offer to prospective buyers. It was at this event that we designed brand activations for two different companies and came up with designs that highlighted their message, values and products.

Designed by Imagineerium (Blog)

These different types of brand activations can be used singularly or in combination with each other and provide a plethora of options to accentuate your brand.

So now we have broken down the many ways to activate your brand, you may be wondering why they are important.

Why are Brand Activations important?

There are many values and advantages that come from brand activations, including:

  1. Boosting of sales by linking the event directly to a new release or featured item

  2. Creating and improving interaction with customers using various methods to increase their brand loyalty

  3. Invoking an emotional response with your campaign to ensure that people walk away having felt something

  4. Obtaining relevant customer data and opt-ins

  5. Acquiring consumer feedback in real time as they interact with your brand

  6. Reaching new audiences that have yet to engage with your brand

  7. Reinforcing your brand’s position in the market

  8. Making your brand more relevant

  9. Using them for rebranding purposes

  10. Reducing marketing costs and expenses by cutting through traditional advertising clutter, such as, television adverts, print, web adverts and many more

As with all types of marketing, brand activation should not always be measured simply in terms of additional sales. Of course the goal is to increase revenue in the long run, but a brand activation focuses more on raising awareness and the profile of the brand, opening a two-way dialogue with potential customers that helps with organic growth and builds a stronger business to consumer bond. Creating that emotional connection is imperative to ensure that engagement has an impact and therefore the brand or even product sticks in the mind of the target audience.

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Make your business stand out from the crowd

If you are just starting your business, you know your audience well, but they have no idea who you are, what your story is, where your values lie and what you have to offer.

As mentioned previously, brand activations are an excellent opportunity to present your brand and create emotional connections with your future buyers. Building long-term support and networks for your brand, connecting with customers on a deeper level than what is feasible in traditional settings, invoking that emotional response and ensuring people walk away having felt something are sure fire ways to keep your clients interested in your brand.

So, now that you know the reasons why companies often conduct various events, create unique campaigns, and directly interact with their customers, it’s time to learn more about how to make your business stand out from the crowd and what it takes to come up with an activation strategy.

Picture Credit: iStock

How does a brand activation take shape?

Creativity has an important role in designing an extraordinary experience and here at Imagineerium our designers seek creative and innovative ways to connect brands with their customers.

By leveraging our design expertise we aim to introduce brands to new markets through brave, unique, and larger than life concepts.

When we begin a project for a client we will often ask them to provide us with some information that will aid us in our endeavour to tell the story of the brand. It is helpful to know:

  • What the brand stands for - what you want to be known and valued for and where your priorities lie, ensuring that your brand message is clear and consistent

  • Your target audience - According to a survey done by Accenture, 91% of customers prefer to engage with marketing messages tailored to their interests. Knowing the demographics, interests, and traits of your ideal customer is crucial when it comes to creating a buyer persona and this can help you find clients who truly appreciate your products and services

  • SWOT - The brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

  • Preferred method of communication - How you want to communicate your message to your target audience clearly, whether it be through immersive installations, tangible assets, games and many other activities

  • Target reach - How many people you hope to reach or have attend the event

  • Social Media Coordination - We all know how beneficial social media platforms are for the reach and growth of brands, so when we are designing an event we do like to know how you want to coordinate social media activity to ensure the campaign gets the exposure it deserves. Collaborating with our clients we find it useful to know if there are certain areas that need to be highlighted

Once we have these initial pointers solidified, we get to designing an activation that delivers an experience to emotionally connect the audience with the brand, whether it be through bespoke tangible assets and spaces or elaborate immersive designs.

The Little Cocktail Village in Covent Garden in association with London Cocktail Week

Designed by Imagineerium

Final Thought

Humans desire stories that resonate and can be experienced in an engaging way, while brands need to give their audience a reason to be excited about their company, therefore brand activations have a very strong position in the field of marketing and keep us busy in the events industry.

We know that we need to elicit an emotional reaction through content and make the right kind of impact so an experience sticks firmly in the audience’s mind for a significant period of time and a brand activation is a perfect way to provide this. Imagination and creativity lies at the heart of any successful brand-driven campaign to ensure that an activation is interesting, bold and memorable, suiting start-ups and well-established companies alike, they tend to resonate the best when they are interactive and immersive.

To conclude, brand activations can be presented in the form of any type of event or campaign, in any location, digitally or physically and mainly aim to engage directly with target audiences, promoting a certain product or service, to initiate a customer bond with a particular brand and company. They can shake people from the monotony of life through inspiring content and thought-provoking insights that span across a range of different types of media.

All in all, what is not to love about engaging directly with audiences to generate an organic relationship through exciting experiences that are designed with love and care. So, next time you’re looking to take your product, brand or company to the next level, why not consider making your dreams of a brand activation a reality with support from some of the biggest imaginations out there…

Imagine that!



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