With Collaborate Global
In this blog we take a dive into using brand activations to help boost your PR. Written by the brand activation and event experts at Collaborate Global. Their team have created, built and hosted events and activations for global brands such as Aston Martin, Randox and Goodwood.
PR and brand live in a world of harmony. The common goal for any PR work is to help get your brand noticed in a positive light. The ability to control the narrative that is being said about your organisation is a hugely powerful tool. In a world where only 34% of people, according to the Elderman scale taken in 2020, trust the brand that they buy from. And yet we as brands are always trying to prove our worth and gain the trust of our clients, both with new business and our existing clientele. The need for a strong narrative and a clear, defined story is more important than ever.
What is ‘brand activation’
Brand activation is a very broad term. If I was explaining it to my 5-year-old niece I would say “It is a way for companies to stand out from other companies” and she would probably just laugh at me and run away.
Sometimes it can be extremely fun – converting shipping containers into transportable gyms with DJ’s booths built in. Other times it can be as simple as building a functioning stand for an expo event. The nature of the activation rests with the brand itself. You will have seen the likes of Red Bull and Go Pro’s brand activation campaigns. However, it isn’t just the big scale brands that can utilise this tool.
In my opinion brand activations should be an extension of your brand’s personality. Every billboard you see, every poster on a wall is a brand activation in some form. Make it an extension of the personality of your brand.
The quandary the team would have faced when launching a global product in the midst of a pandemic – how do we get people to actually talk about it?
Well, I am sure you would have seen the incredible partnership with TFL (Transport For London). PlayStation, with a high level of creativity and friends in the right places partnered with TFL to change the underground signs of 4 stations to match with the synonymous PlayStation controller buttons. This may have been seen as a risky move, as traditionally you would be focussing on actual people seeing the activation. Yes, there are 1 million people that pass through those stations on a normal weekend. However what PlayStation tapped into was much larger.
On twitter alone in a 48-hour period and the brand was seen over 439 million times.
Going back to our earlier point, that is a brand who is controlling their story – creative, modern and out the box thinkers. They put out 4 simple images and let the internet do the rest. From an actual investment perspective, the cost per impression here would have been so low that this simple 48-hour physical activation would have paid for itself multiple times over.
I personally loved this campaign. Beautifully simple, a great example of a brand tapping into their personality and utilising something that PR agencies love – national holidays!
Hobgoblin understands their brands personality within the market. Their name even sneaks it in. They are the outsiders who are loved. They are literally the Halloween of beers – they have a huge following and will happily stand out from the crowd.
So, to further enhance this message they took over multiple billboards and random walls in and around their audiences’ location with the messaging ‘the unofficial beer of Halloween’. Genius! The wording is very clever to note the level of status which is implied but doesn’t have to be backed up by fact and also using glow in the dark paint and specific lighting the art pieces came alive in the night.
I don’t know the exact ROI for this campaign, but in terms of brand building it hits the money perfectly. Anyone who would have seen these would have immediately connected the 2 worlds together and the sense of magic and enjoyment that comes from Halloween then gets passed onto the product itself.
Collaborate’s involvement at Goodwood Revival 2019 was to design, deliver and manage the ‘Cars In Film’ display, a regular feature at the three-day event.
Tapping into Goodwood’s brand personality we knew exactly who the target market would be, so we took on the challenge and for the first time in Goodwood’s history we turned the display into a live-action set. Recreating the original filming of The Italian Job.
With the soundstage at the centre of the event, the main goal for Goodwood and Sky Cinema was to achieve heightened visitor interaction. With professional actors, stage extras and stunt drivers alongside genuine 1960s lights and cameras, guests were transported to the original film set, convincing enough to believe Michael Cane could appear any minute!
Grenade Gym’s reopening
When talking about brand personalities immediately Grenade comes to mine for me. This is a relatively new business in the grand scheme of their market – global health snacks. In some ways Grenade remind me of Tesla in their beginning. A company who pushes hard to be different, to stand out from the crowd and to do things their way.
It isn’t simply about getting their product in your eyeline at supermarkets that makes them the powerhouse they now are. This is a brand that stands for something. And when you stand for something, people respect that.
So, how do they use brand activations to help their PR? Well in about every which way you can think of and then in about 15 ways you wouldn’t have thought of.
From building their own custom hot air balloon in the shape of a grenade to taking a Grenade branded tank to the houses of parliament with signs saying ‘reopen our gyms’, Grenade look to constantly push their personality out through their crazy activations.
Grenade aren’t constantly shouting about how their products contain X ingredients or are X% less sugar than their competitors. No. In turn they do the opposite.
They use brand activations to create a story – partner with us, join our community and share in our vision to make fitness fun.
This is just the beginning for such a creative and out-there brand and I am excited to see what they do in the space.
Brand activations are accessible for everyone.
- A local coffee shop taking over the village square with a ‘brew your own coffee’ session.
- A local art gallery inviting children to come and make splatter paintings which can be hung around their homes.
- A paint company creating a billboard with dripping paint next to beautiful pristine paint – showing the difference between them and their competitors
- Or get really whacky – a toothpaste company building a huge slip and slide and inviting top buyers and their families to a fun day where they can experience a mint smelling, 50 foot tunnel slip and slide
Get creative, get going.
You can reach us if you wanted to talk about how we can help your brand at firstname.lastname@example.org
Content and Marketing Manager