Just like there’s a red button for roller coasters, there’s one for your business too (figuratively speaking).
Brand activation is your big red button.
It refers to the season of your business where momentum starts to pick up, relationships flourish, sales flood in, and a real buzz around your brand begins.
To get to this sweet spot you must increase brand awareness and build lasting connections with your ideal audience through targeted campaigns and events.
This is especially important for B2B companies in spaces where personal connections substantially influence buying decisions.
It has been proven to be so effective that 98% of people who attend a brand activation event feel inclined to purchase your products.The key point here: Human touch and immersive experience pay off massively for brands in the long run.
What is brand activation?
Brand activation is the process of creating an emotional connection between your brand and consumers through interactions and experiences with your products.
Brand activations build your brand’s image and drive specific consumer behaviors or actions.
Imagine when you start a company.
Nobody knows who you are and are not even aware of your brand. Technically, your brand is lifeless.
It has to be brought to life through activation before you can grow your business to the next level.
However, it’s not just for beginners. It applies to giant companies, too. If a big company wants to rebrand itself, they can’t just change their logo and hope for the best.
This business has to do a comprehensive brand activation (or rather reactivation) that completely shifts people’s minds to their new brand.
Let me use this metaphor.
If your brand is a cold and lifeless lump of charcoal, then brand activation is the lighter which transforms it into the hot and bright fire that everyone can see.
Why is brand activation important to your business?
You’ve studied your audience extensively.
You know their pain points, how much they make, and heck… you might even know their order at Starbucks.
Point being, you know about them but they don’t necessarily know about you.
Without this critical step your audience will miss out on the opportunity to form a relationship with you.
So let’s go over the top three ways brand activation works to skyrocket your business.
Creates a buzz
Say you’re in the sustainability niche and you see influencer Tara McKenna, owner of Zero Waste Collective testing out a new eco-friendly type of wrapping paper for the holidays.
You get curious and the “FOMO” (fear of missing out) mentality sets in. You want to know more about this super awesome eco-friendly wrapping paper brand so you click on their Instagram.
In that way, our made-up eco-friendly wrapping paper company created a buzz around their brand by partnering with an influencer.
By creating opportunities for others to talk about your brand, get curious about your offerings, and naturally post it on social media or on their blogs, you build up traction and get more eyeballs on your business.
Improves customer retention
When you continue to foster relationships even after the “brand activation phase” has started, you improve your customer retention rate. Let’s explain why.
As your business grows and adapts, it should aim to continuously seek customer feedback. As you tweak your services to fit their needs, they’ll recognize this effort and continue to come back to you.
When you thoughtfully create services and campaigns with your customer in mind, they’ll be excited to stick around and to share what you have to offer with their loved ones.
Grows your business
To piggyback off the last idea, by staying relevant and adaptive, and leading the conversations in your industry, you’ll keep reminding your audience that your business is the best solution for their needs.
Seek to create experiences for your customers and allow them to test out your products whether through a freemium model or free trial. The more they interact, the more likely they stay loyal to you.
5 common brand activation methods
Most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying process before the first meeting with a representative.
Potential B2B customers form a relationship with your business through a series of touchpoints before they whip out their money.
Because it takes patience to build a relationship with customers, dedicated marketing is required.
Whether you own a website or you are introducing a new product into the market to generate leads and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, effective branding strategies are necessary.
Let’s start with how you can use content marketing to stay consistent.
Content marketing consists of creating and sharing of online materials such as videos, blog articles, whitepapers, and case studies to draw in prospects to your brand.
Done right, content marketing stimulates interest in your products and brand because it focuses solely on answering questions instead of selling.
As a result, content marketing builds brand authority. Customers visit websites that they believe have the most trustworthy information.
Hubspot comes to mind when we think of content marketing. This SaaS company leads the conversation through their blog in which they get on average 7 million views every single month. Yep, you read that right.
So, how did they do it?
By consistently posting high quality content around the challenges of their target audience.
Copywriting gives your company a personality which is critical for increasing brand awareness. Choose a specific style of communicating about your products to your audience and retain that style throughout all the marketing platforms.
Here are tips for formulating your brand copy:
- List out emotions that you want to evoke
- Create a copy style guide – for instance will your brand use “&” or “and”
- Think about your brand as a human – how would they speak?
- What does your brand typography look like? (this contributes to the way your audience perceives what the words say)
- Consider the mood that you want to portray
- Infuse your values, mission, and story into your copy
Now, to truly paint the picture let’s take a look at some examples.
Barkbox does a fantastic job of infusing witty copy throughout all their platforms:
The SaaS company, Writeoff smacks you in the face with their no nonsense potty mouth.
Basecamp’s copy is simple and straight to the point showcasing your life before and after using their services.
Your tone and your brand story all make up how customers see your brand. The key is to remain consistent in your style to give your brand a unique personality.
Marketing automation is the use of software to automate your activities such as email marketing, social media posting, and ad campaigns.
It’s crucial for brand activation because it allows you to create a sales funnel with personalized content that scales over time. So, all the brand activation efforts you do will grow your business quickly when you combine it with marketing automation.
Once your marketing efforts are automated, you can focus on elements that move the needle – like lead generation.
Lead generation is the process of identifying and nurturing prospects to eventually become customers. Within brand activation, lead generation is the main activity. This is because without customers, a company cannot survive.
Strategies of lead generation for brand activation could be:
- In person events
- Free templates
- A free call
- Cheat sheets
Marketing automation and lead generation are crucial because they enable customer segmentation and testing in order to scale your business.
By using customer segmentation, you place prospects and existing clients into groups based on certain buyer characteristics. It’s then easier to develop a strong connection with people who have similar needs because the marketing message is clear.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing involves the use of social media platforms to connect with potential customers, build your brand, and increase sales. Dedicated social media marketing activates your brand through interactions with your audience.
The best part?
Social media is free (unless you use ads) and is the most personal form of marketing possible with a low investment. Customers interact with your brand directly through engagement and get the impression of your values.
Using platforms such as LinkedIn, you can grow your personal brand by showcasing your skills and experience. Potential customers connect with you when your posts resonate with their needs.
Using social media lingo like memes is an easy way to portray personality or to communicate complex topics.
We’ll leave this section with a meme by Gucci:
4 Tips to Make Your Brand Activation a Success
Achieving a successful brand activation requires you to evoke a strong emotional response from your customers.
You need to clearly understand your brand as well as the needs of your customers to develop the strong connection that brand activations are about. Without branding no one will know about the existence of your business, so you need to prioritize branding efforts to get noticed by potential customers.
Here are the tips for effective brand activation.
#1 Focus on your customers
It’s not about you, it is about your customers.
Every brand activation strategy should be centered around the needs of your customers. Your prospects are not interested in hearing an aggressive pitch about your brand and your products. Rather, they want to listen to someone who empathizes with their problems.
Customers want to feel like they are in control and you are merely helping them solve their problems. Apply this simple concept in your brand activation strategy to see much better results.
#2 Give your brand a human touch
Human interaction is the quickest way to develop lasting relationships between brands and target customers.
Regardless of the brand activation you use, ensure to involve real human beings. For example, a huge billboard along a busy highway may gain the attention of target audiences but a pop-up booth run by three employees has a much more powerful effect. Human interaction makes your company more trustworthy.
#3 Leverage the power of storytelling
Storytelling gains the trust of your target audience and is a component of creative brand activation.
Create stories in which the customers are the hero and your product is merely helping them to achieve their desires. When you craft stories that have the consumer as the primary player, you get a positive response.
#4 Get people involved
There is a reason why successful marketers live by Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote:
“Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
This is why traditional marketing such as TV ads are not as successful as experiential marketing. When customers participate in activities rather than remaining a passive bystander, your brand sticks longer in their minds.
One of the best ways to do precisely that is to utilize social media. We all voluntarily sign up for social media because we see some benefit from it – despite the fact that it’s a massive platform for marketing and advertising. If you asked someone 20 years ago about whether the premise would work, they’d probably laugh it off.
So, if you want to encourage user-generated content and get as close as possible to your target audience, use social media.
Ready to use brand activation to grow your business?
Activating your brand not only builds brand awareness, but it drives purchases and long term growth. The essential ingredient to any business success lies in the ability to cultivate fruitful relationships.
But that only happens with a sprinkle of marketing automation, content marketing, brand copy, storytelling, and the right experts.
To activate your brand and cultivate Justin Bieber fangirl excitement from your customers, let AS marketers help you.