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Brand Activation on digital | Digital marketing for digital dinosaurs

We continue our analysis of the type of activities that we can implement on digital. After the big chunk of social media advertising, I now want to look at one of th most interactive: Digital activation.

Following the guidelines previously discussed, activation requires people participation in activities that are designed to make them interact directly with the brand / product.

Traditional marketers are very familiar with activation, from events to in-store activities to experimental marketing, we know the importance of making people actually experiencing the product, whether through a demonstration, a test or a discount coupon.

There are several points to consider when it comes to activation.

It allows High interaction with consumers, tends to be very relevant for those who actually participate in it.

Effective in building conviction and make people experience the products.

HOWEVER, it is Costly, it Requires complex logistics, therefore it often happens in Small scale.

Now, as today we are constantly living in online-offline world, it comes to no surprise that activation is executed both online and offline, often in both spaces in order to maximise its impacts and reduce its limits.

Online activation happens when we use digital media, usually social media, to inspire, engage and in general make people experience the brand. In most of the cases this digital activation requires a physical interaction with the product itself; therefore the digital space is mostly used for two purpose

  • to raise awareness and to invite people to participate at the beginning of the activity.

  • to amplify some aspect of the experience itself at the end of the activity.

Consider this, one of the biggest limits of activation has always been its ability to operate at scale due to cost and logistic complexity. Digital media allows to break this barrier and allows for big visibility.

In fact my recipe for digital activation is create a small event activity that can be cleverly amplified as much as possible in the digital space.

When asking people to participate, you don’t want to create complicated activities or ask them to participate to big events, unless you’re a super big brand with big budget. On the contrary you want to ask people to participate in something simple and fun that they will want and will be able to do easily.

Once done this you can collect footage, images comments, experiences that can be used online to amplify your activity and create the sense that the scale was in fact a lot bigger than it is.

In my experience this applies to small and big brands. Some years ago we were fascinated by coca-cola friends machines, seems everyone in the industry was talking about something like this.

But in reality, how many of you have ever seen one?

A really funny example of usage of digital in activation from Slurpee, an irreverent young brand selling self serve frozen drinks in 7/11 wanted double sales and to create brand engagement through participation and via social media. 'BYO Cup Day', ('BYO' being a well known Australian abbreviation of 'Bring Your Own', often seen on party invitations!): You bring the cup, and we'll fill it up – whatever it is"

As part of digital activation of course we have a lot of examples of digital promotions, where brands ask people to participate to lucky draws, competitions or sweepstakes

Here an interesting example from Magnum ice cream with a code printed in the stick and then using a physical space, a Magnum cafe, to make people experience unique ice creams recipes made with Magnum.

Brand activation on digital is a massive opportunity for brands to create meaningful experiences for people to interact with the brand and at the same time overcome the challenge of reaching a much bigger audience.

Hope this is useful for you, please feel free to get in touch!


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