What do yoga studios, water slides, human car washes, and Tinder accounts have in common? Brand activation.
Brand activation has been used by marketers across multiple industries to create awareness and engagement through brand experiences. This marketing tactic elicits an emotional reaction through interaction.
Last summer, Lululemon opened its experiential Wellness Center in Chicago, its biggest store yet complete with NBA-size basketball courts, workout studios, meditation rooms, and restaurant with a liquor license. There is also a space in the store dedicated to promoting local businesses in the Chicago area. Another strategic perk – customers can wear select Lululemon clothing, free of charge for the workout classes. I know that I would get suckered into loving the Lululemon gear and ultimately purchasing the items after completing a workout class and wouldn’t turn down an acai bowl or kale salad from their restaurant before leaving the store.
Lipton took London by surprise by constructing a 100-meter yellow water slide during morning rush hour and passed out free samples of their products and swag. Curious commuters couldn’t help but notice the spectacle and get involved in the party as part of the brand’s Daybreaker campaign.
Vitaminwater executed a hydration station (human car wash) at WayHome Music Festival in the middle of the summer. Festival attendees cooled off in a fun, unconventional way by creating a misting station in between band performances in the summer heat.
Sonic dipped its toes into some experiential marketing at the Coachella music festival. Sonic capitalized on social media for its square-shaped desserts that were perfectly sized and made for easy sharing to Instagram. This square-shaped themed is a great example of the importance of selecting brand activation channels that fit the strategy.
Dominoes swiped right on a brilliant Valentine’s Day brand activation strategy. The pizza chain created a Tinder profile to be the “ultimate date for singletons seeking love on Valentine’s Day”. Seems odd to have a dating profile for a brand, right? Dominoes became the first brand to ever create a Tinder profile and it paid off! Tinder and Tinder users created user-generated content that went viral on social media earning more than two million social media impressions. Not to brag, but the pizza chain also ‘matched’ with 234,000 people.
Activations, often inclusive and interactive processes make brands better known by consumers and give them ways to connect with brands. Some brand activations solve problems for customers, shock or surprise customers, or even create a unique complete experience for customers. Successful brand activations also focus on user-generated content that is easily sharable ultimately giving the brand activation an even wider reach.
6 Outstanding Valentine’s Day Experiential Marketing Campaigns. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.wowso.me/blog/valentines-day-experiential-marketing-campaigns
Laurenthomas. (2019, July 11). Lululemon just opened a sprawling, 20,000-square-foot store in Chicago with workout classes and a restaurant – here’s what it looks like. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/a-look-inside-lululemons-massive-new-store-in-chicago-with-yoga-food.html
Simpson, J. (2018, September 14). What is brand activation & why do you need it? Retrieved from https://econsultancy.com/brand-activation/
Smith, A. (2015, June 19). Lipton Ice Tea water slide in London. Retrieved from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/gallery/lipton-ice-tea-water-slide-5911330
Thomas, J. (n.d.). 20 Brand Activation Ideas. Retrieved from https://blog.bizzabo.com/brand-activation-ideas