Can you imagine that your company manufactures mobile phone, and no customer knows whether they are high end or budget phone or the ones that provide great cost benefit ratio or the customer doesn’t have any emotion attachment with your product? Today you cannot survive with having a good product and service only, what you need is an emotional connect with customer that cuts through all the competition and media clutter. This is where brand activation comes into play.
Let me give a simple example, you want to buy a bottle of water, so what do you ask the shopkeeper to provide? Bottled water? Packaged drinking water? Or you ask for a Bisleri? Of course you always ask for a Bisleri. How come a bottle of water became Bisleri? The answer is simple a bottle of water is positioned in your mind as a Bisleri. The company has succeeded in activating the brand, creating a position of brand in your mind. This is what brand activation does. It creates an imprint on consumer’s mind.So apart from quality, service and price of product, what you need is a brand full of life. A lifeless brand which doesn’t ring any bells in customer’s mind is not going to help marketing in any way.
In today’s age brand activation is extremely important because there are number of suppliers available for a product or service, in short there is crowding of vendors. And in order to succeed you need to stand out from the crowd. It is highly important that brands find a way to reach potential customers that will help company to create an emotional engagement. Such marketing events need to bring up positive feeling in the minds about them in order for them to become loyal customers and purchase their products. And what every marketer wants is loyal customer base, because they are assets to your brand, they stand with you through thick and thin.
So why brand activation is so important these days?
- Brand activation creates an emotional attachment, a positive stimuli to purchase. Today’s customer buys something which he/she has some emotional attachment with. Customer today wants to connect with the brand they are buying. They want a long term solution something with which they can relate to. And if you are unable to create some emotional attachment with buyer, you are not likely to succeed in longer term. This is where you need to conduct brand activation activities to create an attachment of your product with the customer. How this helps in longer term can be explained by a very simple example. Nokia is no more manufacturing mobiles today, they are being manufactured under Microsoft’s brand. However people who are in their 40s and 50s, still wants a Nokia mobile. Because their first mobile was probably from Nokia as they were the market leaders then. Since these people have emotional attachment with Nokia brand, they want to buy that phone only, even though they have fallen behind competition. Moreover people still call them Nokia phones even though they are Microsoft phones. This is what emotional attachment does, and this is created with brand activation.
- Brand activation helps in reducing the cost of other marketing activities. With brand activation we are already creating an imprint of brand. Therefore high cost activities like advertising need not be used that much. What brand activation does here is, it makes your brand prominent to those who use your products and even with the ones who don’t use it. Therefore customers and prospects already have a certain idea about the product irrespective of whether they have used or experienced it. You may or may not be using an iPhone, but you still know that it is of high quality. Another example is of Tata Nano. You will find that there is hardly any advertisement or promotion done by Tata for Nano. However you still know it’s an affordable car irrespective of whether you have bought the car or not.
- A brand is a transformative force, it can be used to change the perception about your company or products. And brand activation can be used to successfully revitalize your brand. Let’s take an example of Blackberry. When Blackberry phones were launched, they were perceived to be designed for corporate professionals. This image was created because Blackberry wanted to position the product in this way only as the product features were more useful for working professionals. However when a dip in sales was observed, they wanted to rebrand their image, revitalize their image. For this a campaign named ‘We are Blackberry Boys’ was run by Blackberry. This advertisement featured four men wearing suits and shiny black shoes and singing the song. And then they were joined by young men and women wearing casual clothes singing the same song. This way they started portraying Blackberry as a phone for everybody. With the help of specific brand activation tasks, Blackberry succeeded in revitalizing their brand image through brand activation.
- With brand activation you can create a specific positioning of product. In case a company is not taking help of brand activation then, one group may perceive the product different than what other group may perceive.And having two different positioning of product can be problematic with respect to conducting other marketing activities. It’s impossible to create an advertisement for a product if one group thinks product is high cost one and other thinks its low cost one.
- Brand activation helps other marketing communication tools. As we know brand activation creates a specific positioning of product, this specific positioning can be leveraged for other marketing communication techniques like advertisements, print media etc. Google has branded its mobile operating system ‘Android’ as somethingwhich is very flexible and can be customized by user. They use this with great effect in all the marketing activities they do and use it very proficiently to point to lacuna in competitors.
- Every relation requires two way communication. This is true for relationship between customer and company as well. Brand activation creates and improves interaction with prospects and customers, it opens up a two way communication channel. For example a detergent manufacturer is claiming that using their product will remove all the stains from a cloth. Now company decides to conduct a street campaign where they actually ask you to wash a stained cloth and see the results. What this does, is it creates an interaction of a product with the user. And with interaction user starts feeling comfortable with the product. And that’s what we want to happen with our product. We want people to be comfortable with product so that they become sales-ready leads. Sometimes in brand activation activities, feedback about company or products is collected from the consumer. This helps in getting a direct response from the consumer, and in turn consumer becomes happy because now they knows that what he thinks is very important for the company. Such brand activation techniques include the prospective buyers in your marketing activities and this does gives you brownie points over your competitors.
- Brand activation improves awareness about you. Google Labs is continuously developing new products and services. Some are for regular consumers and some are for enterprise users. But how we are supposed to know that. To address this Google conducts ‘Google I/O’ event which stands for ‘Innovation in the open’. In this event all the new releases, new versions, sub-versions, new innovations and new ideas are discussed and conveyed to general public. This gives us an insight in what Google is doing apart from their famous products like Android, Gmail and Google Plus etc. Similar event is conducted by Microsoft called ‘Connect’ which talks about future product launches and other developments.
- Interaction taking place in brand activation is voluntary unlike some other marketing communication techniques in which interaction in not voluntary. For example an advertisement coming on TV does not ask your permission. You are shown the advertisement whether you are willing to watch it or not. This is not the case with brand activation. The experiential techniques used in it require voluntary participation of customer and are not forced down the throat.
Marketers need to understand that they need to be prime movers, they need to mobilize their brand before the competitor does. Once you position your brand and product in customers mind, all you need to do is keep up with that position. You get a direction in which you need to move forward with respect to other marketing communication techniques of course unless you want to rebrand your product or company. With the competition that is in the market right now, if you fail to take the lead you are bound to come last in the race. The only thing that will differentiate you from the pack is branding. However brand is not created automatically, you need to create it and brand activation does that. For this marketers need to take help of brand activation.
What you need today is good quality product or service and to go with it brand activation.