What makes a consumer choose a brand? Factors like price and availability play a part, but often brand affinity tips the scales to inspire a purchase. For this reason, companies are increasingly investing in experiential marketing for brand activation.

Now you might be asking yourself, “what is brand activation?” While there are many definitions to reference, brand activation refers to using a campaign, event, or experience to build an emotional connection between a brand and its target consumers. That being said, experimental marketing is a major strategy for brand activation.

In 2017, experiential marketing company Freeman found that chief marketing officers spent 21 to 50 percent of their budgets on experiential campaigns. Nearly 60 percent of these CMOs believe experiential marketing can “formulate ongoing relationships with their core audiences.” What’s more, 90 percent of marketers feel it “delivers strong face-to-face interaction and more compelling engagement. “Branded real-world experiences that take place in airports, train stations, empty storefronts, malls, and street corners allow passers-by to interact with companies and their products, which can help immerse potential customers in a brand.

PODS pop up shops being used for brand activation

The benefits of brand activation campaigns through immersion include boosted product awareness, excitement about your company, and higher revenue. By infusing experiential marketing in your activation marketing mix, you can get all of those results and more.

EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING and brand activation ideas

Over the years, experiential marketing campaigns for brand activation have ranged from a climbing wall studded with life-size furniture to promote a new IKEA store in France, to a self-contained journey through the Netflix series “House of Cards” during the real-life 2016 Republican primary debate. Branded events pop up on a regular basis as companies continue to experiment with this highly adaptable trend.

While experiential marketing events appeal to all manner of consumers, they’re particularly popular with millennials, which the Pew Research Center says are about to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest adult population. The love for a fun and memorable experience is in these consumers’ blood; research from event management website Eventbrite and research firm Harris Group reveals that 72 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 would like to increase their spending on experiences, while 55 percent say they are “spending more on events and live experiences than ever before.”

According to marketing design agency Anthem, partnering with a social media influencer who attracts millennial followers for your campaigns can make them “feel more authentic and organic to their loyal following – making their audience more inclined to build their own connections with your brand.” Experiential marketing companies like Anthem can be useful when you’re conceptualizing experiential marketing ideas, as they develop campaign-related promotional products that serve as a reminder of your brand as well as a keepsake from the event.

Building ACTIVATION marketing experiences

These experiential marketing events, while clearly rewarding for brand activation, are complex undertakings — whether your creating the event yourself or seeking support from a brand activation company. Setting them up isn’t so different from establishing a pop-up shop, complete with merchandise and product displays along with multi-faceted multimedia materials related to interactive activities, like large screens that allow for the creation of life-sized special effects.

Marketers, brand managers, event crews, or even a specialty experiential marketing company will be enlisted to must move and assemble huge amounts of equipment and signage, with some of it being delicate technical equipment used for virtual and augmented reality experiences. For example, in conjunction with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Coca-Cola developed an augmented reality experience in Switzerland that involved a giant green screen surrounded by Coke-branded materials. Meanwhile, in LA, beauty retailer Sephora launched a beauty convention called Sephoria: House of Beauty, as Glamour describes, where consumers could explore three floors of beauty products in an event space.

To complicate matters, a brand experience activation marketing event might occur in a single location or tour the country. The latter is often necessary so that potential customers in cities across the nation can engage with your products, which in turn expands your reach.

Whether your experiential campaign is a grand endeavor like those created by IKEA, Netflix, Coca-Cola, and Sephora, or a smaller installation, a storage solution is a must. Distroller World, a retail experience created by Mexican toy brand Distroller, invited children to adopt its Neonate Babies. The project, the LA Times notes, involved toys, a fictional adoption center, and pneumatic tubes used to deliver the toys. In addition to major experiential brands, smaller organizations with even far simpler setups can benefit from PODS for Business and PODS containers for storing and moving the goods you need to manage your marketing activations seamlessly.

Having a reliable logistics partner is especially crucial for brand activation when you’re running a short-term experiential marketing campaign and aiming for big consumer impact. With little time to construct and break down a set up, there’s no room for transportation delays or errors like forgotten equipment. And since many experiential activation marketing events take place in public venues — including open-air locations — an on-site storage solution is key.

PODS storage container

Companies can use portable and weather-resistant containers to house the display and signage materials they need prior to setup, as well as to store additional merchandise and promotional materials for activation marketing. PODS containers also allow you to pack up quickly and move on to another location or city once your limited-time event has come to an end. A reliable PODS for Business team can move those your containers for you.

Post brand activation, the marketing value of an experiential event can be gauged by surveying participating consumers on brand awareness and product affinity, as well as by measuring social media mentions and sales. This data can help companies make improvements and optimize their approach to future experiential marketing activations for an increased return-on-investment. Whether it’s using a few on-site storage containers to event supplies or using a PODS shipping container to house a branded pop-up shop, we have a solution for you.

Regardless of the challenges involved in executing your experiential marketing event, the brand activation strategy is a creative way to familiarize consumers with your products and encourage them to consider your brand as they weigh purchases.

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