Home' micenet eMag : micenet AUSTRALIA August September 2014 Contents ALICIA BEACHLEY
t a friend’s dinner party recently I was asked what I do.
My response was that I work in the brand activation
space. To that I was met with silence and then, “oh,
right, what’s that?”
While brand activation is my area, many people are unsure as
to what it is, so I thought I would take this opportunity to shed
some light on what helps get me out of bed in the morning.
Brand activation is a marketing discipline, and is a relatively
new term in the industry. 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.
Brand activation campaigns take many forms and may involve
some, or all of the following:
• Consumer promotions
• Experiential marketing
• Digital campaigns
• Shopper marketing
• Sampling campaigns
Best practice brand activation is strategically-led and delivers
measurable results, with a focus on ROI (return on investment).
I often find that real world examples help when I’m trying to
explain what I do. Working in such a rapidly evolving industry
and in my role as a judge on local and international awards
shows, I have certainly seen the best of the best. Two examples
of outstanding brand activation campaigns that come to mind
are ‘NRMA Car Creation’ and ‘SickKids Pain Squad’ out of
Canada. The NRMA Car Creation won the Grand Prix at last
year’s industry awards show, the Australasian Promotional
Marketing Association (APMA) Star Awards.
Streaming a team of eight mechanics live on the internet, and
providing several platforms for public interaction and influence, a
working car was built from scratch using the car parts that
competitors did not cover in their insurance policies. The
campaign resulted in 3.373 million enquiries in the first eight
months following its launch.
SickKids Pain Squad is a great example as it highlights the
diversity that abounds in the brand activation space. The
campaign did not aim to sell any products, it went far beyond
that and changed sick children’s lives for the better.
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto needed to
find a way to encourage their young cancer patients to complete
daily reports on their pain. With a little back-up from Canada’s
top police dramas in the form of filmed messages of
encouragement and prizes to incentivise, a mobile app made
this overwhelming task easy and fun.
While brand activation campaigns can achieve outstanding
results, conducting a brand activation campaign that is not
aligned with brand strategy and doesn’t stem from brand insight
should always be avoided.
To activate a campaign successfully, you need a mix of the
following elements: insight, budget, concept, consumer interest,
promotional support, sufficient time in market, eye catching
creative and, an important point to consider from the outset, a
brand that will respond well to brand activation. The right mix is
critical to campaign success. If the creative is not captivating,
the prize not aspirational, the campaign not promoted or the
promotion not given enough time in market, the brand activation
campaign may not meet the objectives set at the outset. There
really is a science behind getting the formula correct.
My top five dos and don’ts for brand activation are as follows:
1. Brand activation should be considered as a vital part of the
overall marketing approach, or marketing mix, and not a
standalone discipline. With this in mind, it is important that the
resources and budget are in place from the start in order to
meet objectives and ensure the best results.
2. Campaigns may need to be tweaked or changed to suit
market conditions and testing is a great way to sound out a
campaign before a national rollout.
3. Consider all the options available to you within the brand
activation space and work out which is the best option for
your brand and budget, and most importantly, which tactic will
get you the best return on investment based on the campaign
4. Get a great agency to help you! There are specialist brand
activation agencies that are experts in this space and are
dedicated to creating campaigns that deliver on brand
5. It’s not all about sales. Brand activation campaigns can
generate trial, awareness, brand switching and brand loyalty.
It’s all about employing the right tactics.
It’s certainly an exciting time to be working in the brand
activation space and hopefully now I have answered the “what I
do” question. m
Alicia Beachley is CEO of April5. She can be contacted via email - Alicia@
Alicia Beachley demystifies some of the
misconceptions about brand activation.
What is brand
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