What is Brand Activation, and Why it Matters

Hamilton Hamilton

In the past, it was just a bonus if a brand resonated with its audience on a personal level. Now brands need to connect with their audience on a personal level in order to be successful. Companies are continuously looking for innovative ways to cultivate deep, personal connections between their brand and audience. This is where brand activation comes in, but what is brand activation? Let’s explore what brand activation means, how it works, what it looks like, and why it is important. 

What is brand activation?

Brand activation is an event, campaign, or experience that creates brand awareness and builds lasting relationships with your audience. Brand activation is interactive so that clients and consumers can engage directly with your products and services. Although there is some overlap between brand activation and general branding strategies, brand activation is distinct because it refers to a specific campaign or event rather than an ongoing process of creating a branded company or product image. 

Types of Brand Activation

You need a brand activation strategy that suits your goals and appeals to your audience. There are a few different types of brand activation, so you can choose the approach that most exemplifies your vision or integrate aspects of each approach for a truly customized strategy. 

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is a strategy that involves immersive, real-world experiences that engage the audience. The dynamic, immersive experiences can give people memorable, personal experiences with not only your brand’s products but also your brand’s values and message. Most experiential marketing endeavors entail in-person participation, but virtual and augmented reality technologies can also be used to engage with audiences online. 

Sample Campaign

A sample or trial campaign is a classic brand activation strategy that continues to generate excitement and increase the size and loyalty of the customer base. In a sample campaign, you let people try your product or solution for free. The hope is that people will try the free sample and love it so much that they become a customer. Sample campaigns for products sold in the retail settings are popular and well-known. If your brand specializes in intangible solutions, it may take a little extra creativity to formulate a sample campaign, but the innovation will likely make a big impression on your audience. 

Industry Event and Trade Show

Trade shows and industry events are excellent opportunities to activate your brand. A branded booth, seminar, or presentation can enhance the authority of your brand, introduce your brand to new audiences, and give event attendees the opportunity to interact with your products. Industry events and trade shows can integrate elements of experiential marketing and sample campaigns. 

Brand Activation Examples

Let’s take a look at a few memorable brand activations. These are some of the best brand activation examples because the strategies and approaches are designed specifically for the unique brand and the audience. While there is no “one size fits all approach,” you can draw inspiration from these successful brand activations. 

Corteva Agriscience at the Farm Progress Show

After the Dow Dupont merger, the new company Corteva Agriscience needed to make a big impression at Farm Progress. To activate the brand, Hamilton created an immersive experience consistent with and supportive of the new brand that created a buzz and impact with attendees, media, and the industry through an environment that energizes sales teams and enables them to have professional, meaningful interactions with prospects and clients. The Corteva space at Farm Progress was the center of attention for the entire show.

Dematic at MODEX 2022

At the Premier Supply Chain Experience Trade Show, Dematic partnered with Hamilton to activate their brand with a strategy that set them apart from all of the other booths at the show. Dematic eschewed the standard array of products and instead presented an innovative all-digital experience that highlighted their software solutions, earned prestigious exhibit honors, and solidified the Dematic as an industry leader. 

RCA at the Consumer Electronics Show

To celebrate RCA’s 100 Years of Magic, Hamilton created a one-of-a-kind brand experience that highlighted RCA’s technological contributions of American ingenuity worldwide. Vignettes showcased key product innovations from each decade, and the nostalgic booth resulted in a double-digit increase in traffic, social engagement, and social impressions from previous years. 

Why You Need Brand Activation

Brand activation is important because it brings your brand to life. You know your target audience, but how well does your target audience know your brand? Brand activation dynamically generates engagement that garners interest, gives your audience a reason to be excited about your company, and facilitates interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between your brand and audience. Brand activation is powerful because it can attract attention from new audiences and redefine how your existing audience perceives your company. Brand activations can accelerate lead generation as the excitement over your company intensifies and expands. 

Let Hamilton Lead Your Brand Activation Strategy

Hamilton is a full-service event marketing agency with a 75-year legacy creating immersive brand experiences for companies throughout North America and around the world. We design, produce, and execute integrated experiences that drive meaningful connections between your brand and your audience. Our full range of solutions include mobile tours, exhibits, proprietary events and conferences, corporate environments, outdoor events, and digital experiences. 

To get expert help for your brand activation, contact Hamilton today!