Lighting and sound convey emotion, which is why they are such critical elements of any AV plan. Emotions are what memories are made of, so creating an evocative experience makes your event memorable. It’s not surprising, then, that both lighting and sound can play an impactful role in brand and sponsorship activations.
Brand Activation Basics
Brand activation is a sort-of new marketing term, but the concept is not new at all. Customers (or, for events, attendees) who have an interactive experience with your brand (event) and/or your sponsors are far more likely to enjoy their experience, remember it, and purchase your sponsors’ products or services make a concerted effort to attend next year).
Think hands-on, but using lighting and sound to create a fully multi-sensory experience.
Brand activation can be especially valuable for introducing new products (or a first-time event), but it is equally valuable for re-branding or simply breathing new life into a brand or event that may have become stale and “old hat.” You can use brand activation to promote your event ahead of time, augment attendee experience, and help sponsors engage with attendees.
Brand Activation Examples
Here are some successful consumer brand activations that might spark your imagination:
Create a series of experiences-within-the-experience
Refinery29, a women’s lifestyle marketer, created “29 Rooms” – in which each room is uniquely themed and orchestrated to provide a different type of immersive or creative experience. Art, dance, music, food, stimulating conversation – all interactive. "29 Rooms" was such a hit, it has become an annual event. There are almost unlimited ways to adapt this to any event:
- Set up selfie stations using digital backdrops or projection mapping to “create” props relevant to your brand. Use music or sound effects (birds singing, pounding hooves, waves crashing, a babbling brook) to create an atmospheric mood.
- Set up instrumental karaoke stations where attendees can pick up a guitar or sit down at the drums to play along with their favorite band’s tune. Record the sound and video so they can share the fun.
- Line your ballroom or a conference hallway with digital touchscreens that attendees can activate to learn a part of your brand’s story. Use short interview segments or a narrator to provide context, or display video only with contextual background sounds or music.
You could also adapt a “one room” version of any of these ideas to use as a pop-up pre-event promotion.
Do something kooky
Lipton Iced Tea placed a giant yellow water slide outside a London train station during the morning commute to grab attention so they could hand out tea samples. You could build a pop-up carnival-style ticket booth done up in bright colors and lights, and have it appear at all sorts of unexpected locations to promote your event. Or hire a band of strolling minstrels to wander your event venue musically extolling the virtues of this afternoon’s workshop agenda or of visiting a sponsor’s exhibit booth.
Why watch a demo when you can do the demo?
Ikea created an interactive Private Dining Club inside their showrooms, where shoppers learn from a chef how to sharpen their cooking skills. Is your conference keynote speaker talking about how attendees can make better use of lighting at their next event? Set up a small stage where audience members can play around with different lighting techniques, with hands-on assistance from a member of your AV team.
Pro Tip: No matter what you do in the way of brand activation, make sure it incorporates a social media feature so people can post about their experience, helping spread the word about your brand.