brand activation example

What is a Brand Activation?

Posted on Posted in All Posts, Marketing, Promotions

What is brand activation and why you need it?

Brand activation essentially means introducing your brand or a product to the market. The goal of this marketing action is to gain brand awareness and engagement among the target market. Best practice is to design some kind of experience to create an emotional connection between people and your brand. The brand then stays in people’s mind and they are more likely to become your (long-term) customers.

Not only for new brands and products

Brand activation is equally important for new brands and when rebranding, introducing new models/flavours or with any other major change. The experience helps people get familiar with a new look, feel or taste.

However, this marketing activity should be a part of your overall brand marketing strategy and not a stand-alone action.

How other brands do it

There are various ways to introduce your brand to the market, depending on your creativity. However, the best way is to allow people to experience the product first-hand.

Let’s take a look at some methods and examples:

Experimental events

Probably the most memorable experience you can create, but you need to have a brilliant creative idea, so it attracts people’s attention. With experimental marketing, it is vital to have good media coverage to ensure the campaign gets the attention it deserves.

Example 1: “Probably the best poster in the world” by Carlsberg

This interactive billboard literally made people stop…and pour themselves a free pint of beer for a day. It was definitely a campaign worth talking about. 60 million consumers were reached globally via earned PR. The impact on social was just as widespread, with the campaign hashtag #probablythebest generating over 3 million Twitter impressions in one day!

brand activation example - carlsberg

Example 2: TNT TV, Belgium

If you see a big red button, you have to push it, right? See what happened … great activation campaign. 


The simplest form of brand activation is sampling. Distribution can be done in many ways, as you can see with the examples below. The more creative you can get, the better memorable experiences you can create. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this marketing concept, poor planning leads to poor results and lost budgets. It is imperative to know in advance what your desired outcome is, and what kind of feedback do you want to collect from customers.

There is 47% more likely for people to buy a product they have sampled before.

Example 1: Sponsorship events – goodie bags sampling

Example 2: Street sampling

Example 3: Sampling tour

In-store activations

Retail marketing activations can help customers to select one brand over another directly when they are making a purchasing decision. In fact, 56% of consumers like product samples because they are looking for alternatives. Furthermore, there is 47% more likely for people to buy a product they have sampled. And after making just one purchase, a customer has around a 27% chance of coming back to make another purchase.

Example 1: Retail sampling

Example 2: Sample on-pack, “a bonus gift”

Digital sampling campaigns

When it comes to in-store activations, brand marketers have been trying to overcome the barriers to customer tracking and targeting. Who is stopping by their demonstration table? Is that customer their target market? How to do a follow-up when they walk away?
This is where digital sampling comes in handy, as it is focused on the data behind. It gives brands the ability to target and track their campaigns. Brands can digitally target a specific audience and send them samples by post. Because the targeting is done completely online, brands can become more connected with their customers and gain deeper insights.

Example: Request a sample

How to measure the success of brand activation campaign?

It is not always about increasing the sales. Brand Activation campaigns can generate trial, awareness, brand switching, and brand loyalty.

Here are some questions to consider when planning your next brand activation campaign:

  • How many consumers would this campaign reach? Is it a national, state or local scale?
  • Is this brand activation campaign relevant to the brand’s message?
  • Does this campaign integrate with other marketing activities with the brand?
  • What are the benefits vs the cost? It cannot always be measured in sales. Can you collect consumer data, such as emails, social media followers, and other marketing leads?

Let's talk!

Sunshine Coast Marketing specialises in developing creative marketing campaigns that engage your customers.

Contact us to help you plan your next brand activation campaign.
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