Brand Activations vs Experiential Marketing vs Event Marketing – What’s the Difference?

Do you understand the differences between these three types of marketing? Factory 360 specializes in these and other marketing strategies. Here's a closer look at each one.

What is a Brand Activation?

With a brand activation, you need to clearly decide what you offer your consumers and make sure you're marketing that. The message you send has to be true to the product and show that the promise made in the ad is what happens when you bring that product or service into your life.

Think about the memories you want consumers gaining when they use your product or service. How will you meet that promise? That's the goal of brand activations. You want to impact the emotions and keep promises.

In the late-1990s, Levi's ran an advertisement that left many viewers baffled. The ad featured a hamster running on a hamster wheel. The wheel broke and the hamster died. How that related to the company was puzzling. Plus, the dead hamster now had consumers feeling sad or confused. No one could figure out the message Levi's was trying to portray. It was a failed advertising campaign.

If you want a brand activation that worked well, look at Lipton iced tea. Think about an emotion you most desire. How about happiness? If Lipton promises fun and refreshment, you expect that of their teas. Lipton was brilliant with a campaign that made people associate their teas with happiness. The company set up a giant inflatable water slide in the middle of King's Cross Station in London. People were invited to skip their usual daily activities and drink iced tea and ride down the water slide instead.

What is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on experiences. It doesn't have to be directly related to the promise made by that company, however. You can create a memorable experience without adhering to the product's promise or emotional appeal.

It includes a variety of techniques you can use to market your service or product in a memorable way. Fashion Revolution set up a vending machine in the middle of a busy German shopping district offering a t-shirt for two Euros. People flocked to the machine to get cheap clothing. Before the t-shirt was dispensed, a video showing how much children in foreign countries were paid in sweatshops to make that t-shirt.

At the end of the video, shoppers were given the choice of donating the 2 Euros or taking the t-shirt. While Fashion Revolution isn't a clothing company and doesn't sell t-shirts, the marketing plan to raise awareness about where cheap clothing comes from worked well.

What About Event Marketing?

Those are examples of brand activations and experiential marketing. What about event marketing? How does that strategy work? Event marketing gives you the platform to show off your product or service. You're spreading the word about your product or service directly to consumers at a live event. It might be a music concert, beer and wine festival, or tradeshow, but it's live and there will be a lot of people getting exposed to your company.

With event marketing, companies focus on getting information into the consumers' hands. While the information is out there, it doesn't have to create a memorable experience. That's how it differs from experiential marketing.

Don't Be Afraid to Mix Marketing Strategies

You can pair event marketing with experiential marketing. For example, say you're a beer festival. One brewery is giving out samples and free coasters. That's event marketing. Take that same brewfest. A competing brewery is giving out free samples and the chance to compete play cornhole with players from a local minor league team. Which experience will you remember the most? That's where experiential marketing comes in.

You can also add in other marketing strategies like brand activations, pop-ups, and social media integration. Ultimately, you want a campaign that captures attention and gets people to interact with your company.

What's the ideal marketing strategy for your business? Let Factory 360 help you decide which methods best fit your company's needs. Talk to our experts about turning your next marketing plan into a great success. Send us an email or call 212-242-2417. We'll help you create an experience your consumers will not ignore.