Understanding the How and Why of Brand Activation

in Branding Strategy & Trends | by Adrienne Morgan

Today, leading brands understand the importance of engaging the hearts and minds of their consumers, and the impact that this engagement can have on a business’s objectives—from bottom line ROI to brand awareness. At the core of this engagement is brand activation, which involves creating a positive experience that connects the consumer with the brand and evokes a favorable impression.

When considering how to activate a brand, it is important that brands understand the impact that a successful activation can have, from the early planning process to strategy implementation. Beyond understanding this potential impact, brand leaders must also understand that “brand activation comes in many forms and is delivered through multiple channels” and that successful “brand activation that resonates with customers and achieves results calls for strategic planning that starts with Why and How” (Advertising Age).

Some questions to consider when determining the “Why” and “How” include: Why would the audience care about your brand? How will target audiences engage with the brand? How will audiences react to the new brand? With answers to these anticipated questions at the forefront, brands are primed to bring the new brand to life in a memorable way, and create a seamless identity across all branded properties and places.

With a group of branding and marketing experts, our team at Sparxoo has had the opportunity to lead branding activation efforts for a range of clients—from non-profit organizations to city government to professional services. As we understand with any brand activation effort, clients’ needs vary from one project to the next. Accordingly, we know how important it is that activation efforts are customized and are planned to address the “Why” and “How” questions for each brand. To demonstrate, below are examples of three brand activation efforts that we have led.

 

Brand Activation Examples

  • ELCHC: The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County (ELCHC) is a 501-C3 organization that specializes in the funding and delivery of quality early childhood care and education and after-school programs and services to the children and families of Hillsborough County.

For ELCHC, a successful brand activation meant gaining stakeholder buy-in and approval on a logo that is professional yet friendly. The organization’s new brand will be introduced in July 2017, and will be rolled out to a range of target audiences including families, partners, providers, etc.—all of whom played a role in developing the new brand and were an integral component during the brand research and validation process.

  • City of Clearwater: In 2015, the City of Clearwater embarked on a rebranding process and hired Sparxoo to lead the brand rollout initiatives, which included activating the brand across the City’s various audiences, i.e. staff, residents, tourists.

Given the brand’s reach extended across the entire City, the brand activation required that our team consider all of the various touch points, ranging from basic collateral and brand education presentations to print magazine implementation and city signage.

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  • Lewis Longman and Walker (LLW): Founded more than 20 years ago, LLW is a Florida-based law firm, dedicated to providing expertise in a range of industries including, but not limited to land use, real estate, and governmental law.

As part of LLW’s new brand activation, the law firm decided to use the rebranding as an opportunity to revamp the firm’s website. Activating the brand via the public facing website provided an ideal platform to share the refreshed firm look to a variety of audiences including: clients, staff and stakeholders.  The new website, which reflects the rebrand, can be viewed here: http://www.llw-law.com/.

 

Preparing for Your Company’s Brand Activation

When preparing for your company’s brand activation, it is important that you review and refine the “Why” and “How” questions posed in the up front. Continuously revisiting these questions will further enable your brand to connect with your target audiences and create meaningful consumer experiences.

As brand leaders, we often advise our clients to take full advantage of the excitement and buzz that surrounds brand activation efforts and to not let the opportunity pass by. A well-executed brand activation plan is an exciting opportunity for any brand to energize the brand, engage followers and share the brand’s story.