September 5, 2023


What Does Activation Mean?

In business, activation is the collection of marketing experiences, events and campaigns designed to generate greater awareness of your brand. Effective activation should be interactive, resonate with the audience and create a clear path to purchase for your prospective customers. 

When properly executed, it can drive sales, increase growth, strengthen brand loyalty and accelerate the realization of business objectives. Unlike the general ongoing brand awareness activities, brand activation refers to a specific one-off event or experience with the sole purpose of increasing your brand’s profile. Activation usually requires considerably more preparation.

Activation is meant to generate excitement and engagement as means of forging a lasting emotional bond with your audience. It introduces your brand to new audiences and reignites your connection with your current one.

Brand activation can take different forms such as:

  • Experiential marketing: Also known as engagement marketing, this strategy provides a live, immersive experience to foster audience engagement. It may cover the brand’s products, the values it stands for and the sentiments it wants to communicate to its audience.
  • Free trials and samples: The most common type of activation, you allow prospects to try your product for free in the hopes that will persuade them to buy.
  • In-store activation: Popular with B2C brands like retailers, it involves hosting events at a brand store, providing snacks and allowing customers to see/sample products in person.
  • Trade shows and other industry events: Through branded booths, presentations and live seminars, introduce the brand to your target audience.

For effective activation, consider the following:

  • Understand your audience: Do not go overboard. Activation should be engaging and fun but not inappropriate, inconveniencing, irritating or invasive.
  • Human representatives: Human interaction is the quickest way to establish meaningful connections with your audience. A giant billboard may draw attention but a booth run by your staff provides a more personal and relatable experience.
  • Element of surprise: Activation should not be predictable or boring. Get creative and step out of the lines while staying on-brand.
  • Listen: Be open to positive and negative audience feedback.

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