Let’s start with the definition of brand activation:

“Brand activation is the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction and experiences. In simple terms, the key aim of these sorts of campaigns is to get consumers to act. It’s about bringing brands to life via experiences and forming long-term emotional connections.”

The definition essentially refers to the process of putting your product/service into hands and minds of your potential customers, increasing awareness and engagement through some sort of brand experience. Experience is the key word here, it is also a reason why you should take a close notice of brand activation. We live in an experience economy, thus next generation of customers expect more than just a valuable quality product/service, they seek for a feeling and emotional connection.

You might be asking yourself, how is it different from brand marketing then? To make it clear, brand activation is a brand marketing activity specifically referred to the process of getting your brand from one state to another. For example, brand activation is vital when the old brand/sub-brand is introduced to new markets or a new brand is brought into present market. Whereas brand marketing is the all-encompassing process of promoting and maintaining your company’s brand. In other words, brand activation is a part of your overall brand marketing plan focused on interaction. It’s your brand in action!

 Brand activation = interaction = engagement

Brand Activation campaigns take many forms and may involve some, or all of the following:

  • Experiential marketing
  • Sampling
  • Sponsorship and strategic partnerships
  • Shopper marketing
  • Consumer promotion
  • SoMe campaigns (mainly used as a support activity to generate more awareness)

Brand activation campaigns attract consumer’s interest by allowing them to interact with your product or experience your service. Experiential marketing is the main component of every brand activation campaign, which affects any other brand activation activities involved. If you have chosen to go with sponsorship per se, do not limit yourself with brand logos on the official partners’ poster and couple of shoutouts on Social Media – integrate an event, sampling, stand/booth, competition which will generate content from the users or any other means allowing customers to experience your brand. That is the real value of sponsorship! By using the right message and allowing consumers to get as close to the brand as possible you will make them comprehend your brand identity. Your brand activation activities will transmit your brand values and paint a desirable picture in the minds of your customers. Those activities are nothing but brand touchpoints which allow consumers understand your brand better and accept it as the part of their lives.

Benefits of brand activation

Every human being seeks to establish an emotional connection, which would ignite an initial feeling of trust. This emotional connection is one of the key factors when making most of the purchase decisions. Another thing, when consumers make a decision on a purchase, they place more weight on brands that have been recommended by their peers. So if a brand activation can leave a lasting impact on consumers through experience, there’s a pretty high chance of that positive experience being shared to their friends and family members​ by word of mouth or through social media platforms.

During brand activation campaigns your company has an opportunity to interact with potential customers directly. Hereby it grants a possibility to gain valuable insights and feedback on a promoted product or service. Moreover, brand activation conveys your brand positioning and supports your overall marketing communication message. For instance, if you are trying to communicate that your product is very easy to use, a brand activation campaign which allows your users to test the usability will support your claim. One more thing – it will make your brand stand out! You don’t want to be one of those generic and boring brands doing the same thing everyone else is doing, right? Brand activation campaigns have a huge creative potential and if done right can make your brand memorable and unique. Ultimately, the aim of every brand activation is to establish trust between the consumers and the brand and eventually transform them into loyal customers and advocates.

How to activate your brand

Start with assembling a team, setting the objectives and answering this set of questions:

Why do we do it?

What is the budget?

Who is the target audience?

What’s the message and story?

How is the content discovered?

How do we measure success?

To create a successful brand activation campaign, marketers must also consider 3 core elements in their strategy to maximise reach and achieve favorable results:

1. Experience

Brand activation is all about providing your potential customers with good experience to make a positive association with your brand. A 2015 study by the Event Marketing Institute found that 98% of people believe that seeing a product or service marketed through an experiential marketing campaign would make them far more inclined to purchase it, so live brand activations are something no marketer can afford to ignore.

2. Messaging

Great experience must be accompanied by a powerful message which is relevant to the audience and delivered in the most effective medium. To activate the demand of your product, we have to ignite consumers’ enthusiasm with the big idea. Don’t be afraid to be different, be bold!  When crafting a compelling message look for core features that constitute your brand or a product. It might be your brand positioning statement, unique selling proposition or holistic company vision. Use a combination of rational and emotional benefits and engage as many senses as possible to ensure that your message is heard, read or even smelled.

3. Amplified strategies

The first thing to mention is leveraging social media. If you are running an experiential campaign, for example, it is vital that you coordinate social media activity to ensure the campaign gets the exposure it deserves. PR is another important strategy. If you’re hosting an extraordinary event, then it’s likely that the press will be interested in publishing a story about it. Prepare a press release and let them know in advance. Finally, combine different elements of activation campaign to drive customer engagement – such as digital media with an event or social media with product samplings. You can also combine reward loyalty programming and giveaways with product sampling and points of sale.

Examples of brand activation campaigns from citrusmedia

More inspiration from all over the world


To sum up, brand activation allows consumers to actively engage with the brand in a dynamic, fun and memorable way. Ultimately, the aim of brand activation is to establish trust between the consumers and your brand, eventually transforming them into loyal customers and advocates.  It’s a matter of reaching the right audience at the right moment in a way that connects with them on an emotional level. That is exactly what we do at citrusmedia.


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