News & Insights

A Checklist on Making Your Brand Activation Garner Media Love

By Jim Furrer

Overhead shot of Dunkin' Rewards Pop-Up Lounge activation bustling with visitors

As summer winds down and cooler weather approaches, more people will be out and about and no longer hiding from the scorching summer temperatures. This also means consumer brands want to be where those people are meeting, hanging out or commuting through – and now is the time to start planning. Consumer activations can be incredibly effective in reaching new audiences, while also offering brands a myriad of ways to amplify and extend visibility across multiple platforms.

Given the investment, there are some important things to consider as you plot out your brand activation to make it the smashing success it can be. Let’s start by determining your brand goal. Actually…. what are your brand goals? We say “goals” because a great brand activation should deliver on multiple objectives.

So before embarking on this journey, it is critical to ensure that you clearly articulate these goals and the intended business impact with the collaborative teams involved in bringing the activation to life. From there, consider this checklist to get the most from your campaign.

The 4 W’s in Reverse: Where, When, What, Who

  • Where: Activations do not materialize out of thin air. Location is often the biggest investment in cost so we recommend investing time in finding the best space to reach your audience.
  • When: Determine the timing of your activation, and then bake in extra time for planning. We typically recommend at least 8-12 weeks for planning prior to any activation but can work more quickly if the need arises.
  • What: Is your concept connecting to a universal consumer truth? An “A-ha!” moment? Or is it a fun distraction and bit of entertainment that will get people engaged? Lean on your external partners to fine tune the concept, enhance engagement opportunities and integrate messaging to make everything work together better.
  • Who: Does the activation need some extra sizzle? Will a celebrity, athlete, or influencer help elevate the event and extend your reach? These additional voices can drive social engagement and media interest with new audiences!

Maximizing the Visibility of the Brand Activation 

Once everyone is aligned on the creative direction, it’s time to put pen to the proverbial paper on our media strategy. Earned media is crucial to the success of most brand activations. We aren’t there to talk to ourselves. So, it’s our job as communications professionals to maximize the visibility of the brand activation to give us the best chance for success. Checklist Part II.

Media Time!

  • Have a clear media strategy mapped out. This is essential to both the success of the event and notably the peace of mind of all involved parties. It’s the roadmap you will go back to time and again in the weeks and days leading up to the activation.
  • Be creative! Brand activations are meant to be engaging. Not only should your media materials match the energy of the concept, but having a cohesive team excited about the activation will lead to a better event. No nail biting please.
  • Understand the deliverables. No activation should be created because “we want to be on that national morning show.” If that happens, sure it’s a major coup and great work by everyone. However, media entities are not going to just “air your branded commercial”. With brand integrations more prevalent today, revert back to your strategy. Understand where the content could be covered and assess if other options should be in the mix.
  • Content is king. If you’ve checked the boxes, good content can start from anywhere. Sure, the activation can be done in NY or LA, but from a content perspective, you can really activate anywhere. Our event in Wallkill, NY is a good example.
  • Set realistic KPIs. You can never plan for every external factor (even though we try). To ensure your activation is hitting all its benchmarks, invest in influencer amplification, paid media promotion (think radio, social), align your content on owned social media channels and of course deliver strong earned media results. Given the investment of time and resources, it would be a major miss not to showcase your activation across all channels.

In the end, we all want to say that the JUICE WAS WORTH THE SQUEEZE! A branded activation is a moment where a brand can really step out of its comfort zone to showcase itself in new & vital ways. But everyone must be all-in.

To learn more about RF|Binder, our activations and media strategy, contact us to learn how we can bring your brand experience to life.

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