A successful brand activation is a powerful way to create meaningful connections with your customers. When done right, they can transform your brand into an unforgettable experience that resonates deeply in people’s memory. While ideas for great activations are limitless, the hard part is making sure every element comes together to bring your brand vision to life.
Thanks to our uniquely skilled sculpting team, Smash Design has had the pleasure of working with a lot of fancy activations by some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Some of them have been truly unforgettable, and we’ve learned a lot about what makes for a fun and memorable event. We’ve developed three essential keys to designing a brand activation that leaves a lasting impression: focus on experience, connect emotionally, and build buzz. By following these principles, anyone can activate a brand in a monumental way!
What is a Brand Activation?
If you don’t know, a brand activation refers to a campaign or event that is designed to create lasting emotional connections between a brand and its target audience. It typically involves experiential marketing strategies, allowing people to directly interact with and experience the brand. An early example might be the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile: It pulls up, and you get to see and touch a giant hot-dog car and maybe get some branded swag. Pretty simple!
Activations can get far more elaborate than that. But no matter what, the main goal of a brand activation is to generate brand awareness, foster audience engagement, create fun memories, and build relationships with customers.
Key 1: Focus on the Experience
A great brand activation is all about experience. Every detail should be designed to immerse people in your brand’s world. That means creating an interactive space where people can see, touch, and feel what your brand is about. For example, if you’re activating a tech brand, include opportunities for people to play with your latest products. If it’s a lifestyle brand, recreate the aesthetic and mood of your brand through visuals, sounds, scents, etc. An experience-focused activation makes a lasting impression by bringing your brand vision to life in a tangible way. The more immersive an experience you can create, the better!
Key 2: Connect Emotionally
The most impactful brand activations forge actual emotional connections with audiences. Look for ways to surprise and delight people by tapping into their interests or values. You might highlight a cause your brand cares about or create a shareable moment that sparks joy. An emotional connection, even a small one, sticks with people and makes your brand more memorable. For example, Google installed giant slides in train stations as part of their “Recess” campaign, tapping into heartwarming nostalgia for childhood play. It can take some creative engineering to stage an activation that resonates on a deeper level!
Key 3: Build Buzz
A monumental brand activation generates buzz that amplifies your message. There are a few ways to build buzz, starting with choosing an attention-grabbing concept and location. You’ll also want to promote your activation on social media to spread the word and get people excited to participate. Collaborating with influencers, media partners, or other brands is another great way to increase visibility and drive engagement. The more buzz around your activation, the bigger impact it will have. Measuring social shares, press mentions, and attendee numbers will show you how much buzz you built. Give people something to talk about!
The Smash Design Way
When Smash Design works on a brand activation, it’s our job to build really big, really cool stuff that people want to see, touch, and photograph. We put our talents to work creating monumental art pieces that can be transported anywhere to attract attention and make people smile.
In our experience, a monumental brand activation comes down to crafting an unforgettable experience, forging emotional connections, and building buzz. By focusing on these three keys, we can help transform your brand into a living, breathing experience that resonates with audiences. What type of brand activation will you dream up? The possibilities are endless when you tap into the power of creativity!