Every brand needs to have a compelling story behind it to support itself. Without a narrative, a brand is all but marketing noise to the target audience. If you want your target audience to take you seriously, you will need to support your brand with a story that touches the hearts and souls of your target audience. When you combine this narrative in a visual manner with personal interaction, the brand comes to life. This process is known as brand activation.
What is brand activation?
Brand activation integrates different media, communication platforms and creative tools to stimulate interest, trial and loyalty. So far, we have only focused on advertising, which communicates the existence of a product or a service to the audience. It may also persuade the buyer to purchase or to be informed.
However, brand activation stimulates the act of buying. It encourages, pushes, cajoles and inspires the buying process. It is for this reason that brands need to have a compelling story that strikes the note with your target audience emotionally and cognitively. When a brand is thus activated using various forms of media and a solid creative basis, people will begin to find you relevant, convincing and important.
Why is it important?
Brand activation that fosters engagement helps in:
However, the goal of brand activation shouldn’t necessarily be focused on the buying process like most authorities and academics would tell you. Instead, it should focus on fostering engagement. In this article, let us take a look at how we can activate a brand to foster engagement.
What a good brand activation routine looks like
A good brand activation program follows a multi-channel approach. You will need to combine social, digital and real life engagement in order to activate emotions and behaviors that are desired. In other words, brand activation ensures that certain behaviors and emotions are activated each time a prospect encounters your brand.
To ensure that this happens, you will probably need to create inspiring content, events, activities and other experiences which inspire the customers to act. All this requires you to study consumer behavior closely and personalize the entire experience. It is important to remember that brand activation does not follow a format, and you will probably have to create your own model to chart success in these kinds of programs.
However, you can follow certain general rules that help in creating brand activation that foster engagement. The more you make these branding experiences interactive, the higher your chances of creating an engaging experience that translates to brand loyalty. Thus, you will have to focus on making experiences interactive and tie these experiences with your brand’s story.
The most important aspect of any brand activation exercise is to connect with the target audience. This can only happen when you create a compelling story with which your target audience can relate. In other words, make your products or services accessible. This helps the target audience to interact with your content, events and experiences. Tie all these together with your brand, and ensure that you reinforce desired behavior. The story should act as a glue to connect the target audience with your behavior, so that it activates longing, desire, inspiration and other positive emotions.
One simply cannot look away from social media, if one were to enhance engagement. It is then no wonder that social media and digital platforms are an integral part of brand activation. Infuse the story or the narrative into your social posts and digital marketing campaigns, so that there is always a shadow of your brand in everything that you communicate. Whenever there is engagement, allude to your brand narrative directly or indirectly.
Your brand activation exercises should be first and foremost inspiring. They should inspire your target audience to take interest, try and then keep coming back for more. Secondly, nurture those who show interest in your branding exercises. Continuous activation leads to hard-wiring of a particular behavior, and this is neuroscience. So, nurture those who engage so that they become hardwired to respond to your brand narrative positively. Thirdly, influence your audience with expertise and quality. Weave these qualities into your brand narrative and ensure that you reinforce engagement when it happens.
Brand activation is inherently tied to branding exercises, both online and offline. However, remember to create experiences that take the brand narrative into account. Always remember that the purpose of the brand activation is to promote or inspire a desired behavior while pairing your brand narrative with something positive. For this to happen, create experiences that are unique and that which are tied to your brand narrative. Use every creative media to weave the story with events, content and experiences, so that there is more engagement.
Brand activation is not a onetime exercise. It needs to be an ongoing and year-round activity whose success is measured and analyzed. For this reason, you will need to start quantifying your brand activation exercises. Analyze the success, growth and goals that are met with the help of brand activation. Accordingly, make changes to the strategy so that there is more engagement.
Focus on engagement
Indeed, the focus of any brand activation strategy should involve engagement. Engagement is one of the most important ingredients of brand activation. Your target audience needs to engage with your brand narrative when they are exposed to visual, sensory, auditory or other forms of stimuli. Only when they feel inspired to act and engage, and then take action will your branding activation be successful. So, always bear in mind that along with creating a compelling story, you should also focus on boosting engagement.