How does your job fit into the advertising process? I work mainly on brand activation for food brands and mass market. These brands usually have 2 or 3 peak sales times during the year depending on the type of product they’re commercializing (back to school and Christmas for kids, Valentine’s Day, etc.)
What exactly is brand activation? Activation is about helping brands obtain higher visibility during peak sales times. Because brands don’t aggressively push sales year-round, brand activation is simply ‘activating’ the brand during those peak moment(s) to maximize exposure while their product is in highest demand.
For example Signal toothpaste from Unilever has two major brand activation periods: Back-to-school in September and then again in January when people make their New Year’s resolutions of taking better care of their appearance: exercise more, eat healthier, quit smoking…
We launched a ‘Back to School’ push which included an in-store stand with a flyer with a quiz for children along with a competition where kids could create and upload videos with ideas on how they could incentivize their parents into brushing their teeth twice a day.
What are typical components of a brand activation campaign? Typical components can include, but are not limited to:
- – Creating a website landing page that acts as the headquarters for your brand activation campaign.
- – Launching a contest or giveaway (online or offline) as an incentive for consumers (actual and potential) to engage with your brand.
- – Organizing an event around your brand and product.
- – Creating content – articles, videos – to inform, help and/or entertain consumers.
- – Handing out coupons in and around the sales point.
But brand activation is much, much bigger than simply launching a giveaway and then driving people to your landing page to sign up. Brand activation is about meeting an objective. It’s about actively taking control of your consumer’s image of your brand by creating an experience around it as a way of explaining your brand’s core values, vision and unique selling point as well as showcasing your products.
What are a few of your favorite advertising campaigns?
Mr Clean in Dusseldorf
For smaller brands, is it wiser to put my entire budget in one large brand activation or to stretch my budget out over the year? This depends on your objectives and your industry. If your objective is generating conversions such as collecting email addresses, then you might consider activating your brand every three months or so. But if you’re selling a product, then product demand (i.e. the high sales points during the year) will dictate when you should invest most heavily in activation.
Range is also a factor. If you sell more than one product, and if those products’ peak sales fall at different times during the year, then you’ll need to have separate activations for each product.
What are some misconceptions clients usually have about the work you do? Clients and agency live a particular relationship. They need each other. The agency advises the brand but sometimes we may have difficulties understanding each other and the brand might not always agree with the agency on how the brand can best meet its objectives.
Another frustrating part of our relationship: creative agencies always have big and sometimes crazy ideas for the brand.
At first presentation brands may love what agencies come up with but as we move together through the stages of the project, some brands may decide that the project is perhaps a little too ambitious and/or won’t fit with their consumers. As a result the campaign turns into a classical, smaller brand activation.
That’s why agencies love brands which dare to innovate and propose new expriences to its consumers.
What are a few websites you go to for inspiration?
I want to do your job, any advice? Learn to work with people. We work with a lot of different experts in the agency (art directors, production managers, the execution team…), so you have to appreciate working with people and know how to adapt your attitude and speech.
I’m a small brand with a budget, any advice?
- 1 Set up a stand in close proximity and accessibility with customers (current and potential) so they want to interact with your brand.
- 2 Create brand content to make your band come alive