Brand activations are not just brand ambassadors handing out free product samples.
Rather, they are one of the most effective marketing tools within the marketing mix, with the ability to effortlessly connect with and engage consumers, as well as convert leads into sales and drive a purchasing decision.
“Activations can be defined as brand engagement with a human face,” says Cooke. “We are placing an actual human being in front of a consumer for a particular brand.”
This can cover a range of engagements, from in-store promotions, mall and taxi rank activations, to intersection drops, launch events, beach activations, expos and tradeshows, fashion shows, PR stunt events, stokvel activations, flash mobs and more.
“Another way to think of activations is that they bring the brand to the people instead of the people to the brand,” says Cooke. “Often, activations take place in local communities, commuter sites and other places that would typically not have too much brand exposure. We see this in the level of engagement when conducting stokvel activations. These women are so willing to engage, simply because we have come to them and made it convenient for them to engage with the brand.”
Convenience is one thing, but there’s also much to be said for the flexibility and quick turnaround times that activations offer, with little in the way of lead time required, depending, of course, on the complexity of the brief.
According to Cooke, this means brands can often launch campaigns in a matter of a few days and sometimes hours.
“This is what differentiates activations from any other media platform,” she says.
Not only that, but activations offer the kind of measurability modern-day marketers crave, with the current economic climate ensuring ever-increasing pressure on the delivery of tangible ROI for every marketing Rand spent.
“Activations offer truly measurable leads, as the engagement period between a consumer and promoter can be recorded,” says Cooke. “When dealing with other media platforms, whilst they may have extremely high reach, they often have a much lower retention rate. When it comes to activations, a person is actually engaging with the brand in a way that is truly measurable.”
With measurability comes a certain amount of control and the top operators in the activations space have a strong handle on how to deliver tailor-made solutions that bring both brand and audience together in a seamless manner.
“How consumers interact with a brand is often not in the brand’s control, with consumers, in many instances, not understanding the full range of benefits that a product may have,” says Cooke. “Activations provide a platform for consumers to engage with the brand in exactly the way that client wants them to, showcasing the diversity of the brand in a fun and engaging way.”
Ultimately, it comes back to connecting with an audience and engaging it, before leveraging that connection and engagement into the conversion of a purchasing decision.
Activations are a key and ideal solution for brands looking to ‘move the needle’ via influence and behavioural change. When included within the marketing mix, they achieve measurable and instant results via one-on-one contact which has been lost in today’s digital world.