Brand Activation Isn't An Attention Chore

Woman playing with bubbles
Maddie Presland
Maddie Presland

If you want to grab someone’s attention, you may need to get extreme.
Whether you’re trying to attract a niche audience or be accessible to everyone, a marketing strategy called brand activation can help you get noticed and be remembered. Brand activation allows the audience to experience an aspect of the product or service, instead of just being told what it is. And some companies get really creative.
We love Kristina Monllos’s post on brand activation at SXSW this year. She describes five of the most intricately designed and over-the-top examples of brand activation, including a giant Ferris wheel and the opportunity to get tattooed in the name of marketing. SXSW is one of the places to be when it comes to brand activation, and Zivtech is proud to be among the companies that represents Philly at the conference and festival.
Although we won’t encourage our clients to get a Drupal drop tattoo, here are a couple of brand activation campaigns and strategies we admire. 

Apple: Shot on iPhone 

As a part of a strategy to promote the iPhone 6 after its release in 2014, Apple started an extensive ad campaign called “Shot on the iPhone.” Photos and videos  taken on the iPhone showed off the new phone’s impressive camera. This brand activation was all about accessibility and telling people that they could take quality photos without a standalone digital camera. The campaign has been rebooted to promote the iPhone 7. The marketing strategy behind it allows people to see what others are experiencing through their high-quality iPhone cameras. It's also aspirational. Seeing the images makes viewers want to get creative.

IBM Watson

As a question-answering computer system, Watson is the prime trivia team member. And that’s exactly how computer hardware company IBM introduced Watson. In 2011, IBM Watson competed on Jeopardy against two other champion contestants as a way for viewers to become acquainted with the software. The show was a hit, and IBM captured people’s attention with Watson’s intuitive artificial intelligence. Since then, the program has been used to diagnose rare diseases and coach teachers. 


Remember when you couldn’t get the phrase “There’s an app for that!” out of your mind? Although people don’t usually say that, apps are a way for companies to introduce their products to potential consumers. Apps are often easily accessed and can hold a lot of information. The customer experiences a company’s product or goal when it's convenient to the user, not to the company.

Pop Up Shops 

It seems like everyone opens up a pop up shop or truck that brings the virtual into reality. From retail giant Amazon to websites that focus on carefully curated services, a pop up shop is becoming the trendy essence of brand activation. These pop ups allow companies to advertise their products and services right in front of potential customers in a fun and interactive way. Even stalwart Procter & Gamble opened hip pop up shops in Miami Beach and Manhattan to showcase its beauty and cleaning products.
Whether you are just incorporating brand activation into your marketing strategy or you’ve been around that block before, consider the message you want to convey, the best location for an activation, and how you will measure success. Activations are cool, but if they don't forward the brand in a measurable way, you've wasted precious time and money.
Check out Zivtech's branding at this year’s SXSW Festival, and stay tuned to see what we have planned for SXSW 2017.

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