The Role of Social Media in Brand Activation Campaigns
Letting your target customers build an emotional connection with your brand is one of the most vital aspects of marketing and nothing does this better than brand activation. Brand activation is a marketing strategy that creates opportunities for your customers to interact and experience your brand and thus create a connection that drives them towards conversions. Offering free product samples, letting customers test drive your car or even organizing a PR stunt that delivers an experience that customers can then associate with your brand are all examples of brand activation campaigns.
So where does social media figure in all of this? One of the key takeaways from any brand activation campaign is the multi-sensory experience, and social media is all about sharing experiences. Take the example of the Apple iPhone 6 ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign. Through this ad campaign, Apple tried to get non-users experience the power of an iPhone 6 camera and thus connect with the brand. Allowing friends and family to share this experience is a natural extension, and this is where social media comes in handy. In essence, social media helps amplify your brand activation strategy by reaching out to more customers than you do directly.
Social media channels can also be the core platform over which the brand activation campaign is run. Unboxing and product review videos, for instance, are a rage on YouTube. People love these videos that are often an honest take on what an actual product looks and works like in comparison to what is being advertised. Such videos also let viewers ‘experience’ the product themselves and help them connect with the product much better than simply watching an ad for the product. A number of product manufacturers, including toy makers like Mattel, today partner with such original content producers to allow their target customers to experience their product through such experiential videos.
Social media-based campaigns do not have to be all digital. Some of the most successful brand activation campaigns have had a hybrid strategy. The 2009 Tour de France saw a unique real-meets-digital campaign where tweets of hope from viewers were captured and painted along the circuit where cyclists peddled their way through. The ‘chalkbot’ also snapped images of these chalk notes and tweeted them back to the senders, creating a unique experience for the viewers who instantly felt gratified by reaching out to their sporting heroes from thousands of miles away.
Essentially, social media plays two important roles in any brand activation campaign. It serves as an amplification chamber by taking your communication beyond your direct reach. It can also serve as a platform that will help execute your brand activation campaign. This is especially true in case of campaigns that are looking at a global reach that is beyond the conventional activation marketing strategies.
In either case, one advantage that social media has over other forms of marketing channels is the ability to take campaigns viral. Since brand activation campaigns are all about experiences that connect with the customer at an emotional level, they make for pretty amazing viral campaigns, and by extension, are strong assets for your social media marketing channels as well.
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