Brand Activation: Bringing Brand To Life

Marketing, as we know, is all about waging war against competitive forces to win market share. For this purpose, marketers create warriors which win the perceptual battle for them, and these warriors are called BRANDS. Brands have proved their worth by earning premiums, decimating competitions and even beating time factors (as many brands are still leader as they were a century ago). Owing to this, marketers have stepped up their efforts to build their brands. They are building their marketing programs around their brands.
Today, marketplace is replete with competition. Opening up of economy has led to the entry of foreign brands into the marketplace. These brands are also adding to the chorus. Advertising has always been seen as main weapon to build brands by the brand managers. Excessive reliance on this form of communication has resulted in “over communication”. Ad clutter has been increasing gradually and the future shows no sign of relief. Not only has this, advertising also lost its credibility if we compare it to what it used to be decade back. Reasons are many: More knowledgeable customer, comparative advertising, internet etc.
Therefore, marketers are exploring new ways of supporting their brand. One such method is called Brand Activation. Brand activation can be defined as marketing process of bringing a brand to life through creating brand experience.
Next question now is what to activate? Generally, the core features or brand values of a brand are used for activation. That’s what every brand manager strives to achieve i.e. communicating their brand values to their target customers. But a word of caution here: select only one or two features or brand values to activate. Don’t try to communicate each and every detail of your brand. One has to appreciate the fact that branding is based on the concept of singularity.
This concept assumes a greater significance in case of services which are intangible in nature. Let me take example for both products and services to explain brand activation.
B.A. In Products:
Consider a hypothetical shaver brand “X”. Further assume that there are six other brands in this category. All brands are touting themselves as provider of smooth shave in their respective ads. But you are the smoothest one but how do you make your T.A believe of the same. B.A comes handy in case scenario.
Create such a platform, where you can meet your T.A and give them free shave so that the can feel the “smoothness”. Allow them to interact with your brands as much as possible. You can do so with the help of road shows and exhibitions etc. Once you have done that, customers will be able to validate your claim. Also, they will relate to your ads.
B.A in Services:
It’s the people in services which actually activate your brand. Consider the case of insurance company which claims to be most caring company. But the problem is that every company is saying that. The company (lets say) which reaches the place of accident, will be considered as most caring.
Benefits of Brand Activation:
1. You can convey your positioning using brand activation.
2. It supports your ad claim if used carefully.
3. Distortion is minimum in this case.
4. It increases your brand salience.
5. Helps in revitalizing a brand. Horlicks is doing it through its campaign which is trying to change its image from fuddy-duddy to an exciting brand among children. Their Wiz-Kid competition across the country is the perfect example of brand activation.
6. Brand activation can elicit customer insights as people interact with the brand.
Limitations of Brand Activation:
1. Lack of initiative on part of brand managers is the major concern.
2. Lack of measurement matrices or indices is the limiting factor.
At the end, I would like to say that brand activation should not be confused with the below the line activities. Brand Activation is seen as a tool to build brands through interaction with its target people whereas below the line activities, most of the times, are sales oriented.

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