How to Execute a High-Impact Brand Activation (The White Board)

Key Takeaways

  • A brand experience should not stand alone but be the catalyst for an omni-channel marketing campaign.
  • Augmented reality is an underused technology that provides brands with immense value when incorporated into a brand experience.
  • Smart brands are using experiential marketing as a tool outside of direct consumer engagement, such as in developing relationships with influencers.

How to Elevate Your Brand Experience through an Omnichannel Approach

Consumer behavior and expectations are in a constant state of evolution, with the digital revolution only increasing the speed at which the marketplace changes. In response, marketers need to “follow the money,” and use methods that resonate with an ever-changing audience.  But now technology is not a novel concept, and with the Internet of Things and an increased integration of the physical and digital, smart brands have incorporated an omni-channel approach in improving interactions and the impact of the brand experience.

But executing an effective omni-channel strategy is not without its challenges. In addition to digital advertising, marketers are smart to consider and potentially incorporate influencer marketing, digital offers, email, and other elements of a healthy marketing ecosystem. Here Digital Agency Network shares steps that brands can follow when diversifying a brand experience into an omnichannel strategy.

Adidas’ Fan-First Event Brings Happiness to Coachella

From Outsidelands to Bestival, brands embrace the summer to pull out all the stops when meeting consumers at all of their favorite music venues. But the rising popularity of festivals also means the price of admission is rising, in some cases making these events inaccessible to some consumers. To better illustrate this phenomenon, the 2018 price to attend Coachella was $429, which only included admission into the festival. Factor in the cost of housing, food, transportation (Coachella is in the desert and is fairly secluded), and the cost for one weekend at the festival could be well over $1,000.

Knowing this, Adidas, in partnership with retailer Journeys, created a free one-day festival in San Diego. The event, which incorporated an interactive art display, was carefully curated from the artists to the location. According to the Senior Communications Manager of Adidas Action Sports, the brand wants to be involved with fans, and the experience itself is the reward. He explained that “it’s not something we expect people to pay for.”

Why You Should be Using Augmented Reality at Brand Events

While we as a society have embraced technological advancements, for some there is still a fear of the unknown, such as the power of artificial intelligence. However, unlike AI, augmented reality has seen less concern, in large part because of gamification apps like Snapchat or Pokemon GO. For brands, AR presents a significant opportunity during brand activations as a way to engage attendees.

Due to the nature of AR (which superimposes a digital experience into reality with the help of a device like a phone or tablet), brands can get highly creative. A recent Event Marketer article outlines some of the most popular ways brands have incorporated AR during an activation, including using it to showcase a new product. Check out the full article here.

Revolve Embraces Experiential Marketing to Woo Its Influencers

Despite a recent call for better endorsement transparency from online celebrities, influencer marketing is still a strong tool in marketing to consumers. While most people are aware that influencer marketing is a tactic, they are willing to be marketed to as long as it is authentic and transparent. Some brands have achieved an authentic relationship with their influencer partners by designing influencer-only experiential marketing events.

recent example of this technique was in the case of online fashion retailer, Revolve, who partnered with the Bermuda Tourism Authority for #RevolveSummer. The month-long activation brought together some of the biggest fashion influencers, and featured creative parties, catered events, and natural beaches. Revolve created not only a backdrop for influencers to create content, also cultivated a strong relationship with the influencers themselves.

Tailoring Measurement Strategies for Variety in Experiential

We’ve previously shared the impact experiential retail can have on the longevity of  brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, 72% of consumers say they positively view brands that provide quality events/experiences, and 74% say engaging with brand experiences makes them more likely to make a purchase. However, it is important to note that store experiences can vary dramatically. While an influencer-inspired vacation works for Revolve as detailed above, it may not work for others. Similarly, the measurement and demonstration of ROI for each experience will vary.

In this article, the creative director of XYZ agency puts it best: brands need to understand the value of context. More specifically, “by controlling the circumstances in which their products and services are experienced gives brands a far more powerful way to tell the stories and develop a more empathetic relationship.” This article goes further in discussing the context of measurement across different types of activations. Check out the full article here.

L’Occitane Sees the Power of Experiential Retail Across the Globe

As mentioned above, when it comes to creating an experiential retail space, one-size does not fit all. Brands need to identify measurable goals, how they want to build and maintain the consumer relationship, and how they shape the experience to meet these needs. This translates to some highly-creative spaces that can effectively highlight the brands personality.

One recent example of a brand that took an experiential retail approach while maintaining their brand personality is L’Occitane en Provence. The skincare company recently invested in their flagship New York City store with the intention of creating an interactive, highly-personal customer experience. The store’s aesthetic matches that of L’Occitane’s brand history and signature products, which helps convey their brand narrative. Having found success with the New York store, the brand is looking to create similar, location-specific experiences in their stores globally.

Winky Lux’ Beauty Pop-Up Finds Inspiration from the Museum of Ice Cream

Whether or not you attended the Museum of Ice Cream, chances are you’ve heard of the interactive experience. This is largely in part due to the fact that the space was well-known for its Instagram-able content. From an ice cream sandwich swing to a mint mochi garden, and the now infamous sprinkle pool, the experience set a new standard.

From the success of this and other similar events like the Color Factory, a new trend was born. Using the museum as inspiration, beauty brand Winky Lux created their own experience. The pop-up, which is slated to activate in 5 cities total and beginning in New York, looks to fully immerse customers into the world of beauty. Unsurprisingly, the pop-up also provides ample opportunity for customers to take photos and share across their social media channels.

Esurance Upgrades Monday in 10 Cities to Consumers’ Delight 

When it comes to experiential marketing, brands that sell a service, as opposed to a physical product, sometimes have to approach experiential from a different angle. With no product to sample, test, or demo, these brands may have an added challenge related to consumer engagement. If the company is in insurance, finance, or other professional categories, add to that the additional challenge of often being labeled “boring” or “hard to understand.” Not only does the brand have to creatively engage with consumers, they also need to make an impact strong enough to change how they are perceived.

Knowing this, Esurance faced these challenges head on. They created a multi-city activation that sought to turn around the bleakest of days (Monday of course). In Los Angeles, Denver and Boston, Esurance sent glam squads to the Department of Motor Vehicles to surprise and delight consumers who were waiting in line with free makeup and touch ups. Meanwhile in New York, Seattle, Austin, Chicago and Tampa, consumers got free pastry and coffee. By creating these positive activations, Esurance sought to change the perception of insurance while making people’s days just a tiny bit better.

Author: Elissa Liong

Elissa Liong is the Data and Analytics Manager at Elevate Staffing. She's a certain kind of particular, and loves thinking about all things data and insights. When she's not uncovering consumer insights and building out engagement tools that people love, she is probably at the gym or reading online spoilers about TV shows (even for episodes she hasn’t watched yet).

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