From gamification to experiential co-branding, here are five immersive brand activation strategies for 2023.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unique live events can help you reach a larger audience and create a lasting impression
  • Gamifying your product or service can help user understanding
  • Augmented reality can help create personalized experiences that maximize customer satisfaction
  • You can be charitable while still promoting your brand
  • Partnering with non-competing businesses can help you grow your customer base

Interested in reaching more customers and increasing your brand awareness? These brand activation ideas might be all you need to establish more meaningful connections with your target audience. They’ll help you increase direct engagement, provide more personalized immersive experiences, educate customers about your brand, and stand out from the competition. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Unique live events

Live events can be a great way to engage with your audience and immerse them in a memorable experience. A good example is Red Bull’s 2012 “Stratos” jump. Red Bull has long been a leader in extreme sports coverage, creating events such as the Crashed Ice, Air Race World Championship, and the Cliff Diving World Series. 

In 2012, the company embarked on a record-setting marketing campaign that catapulted it to new heights, leaving a vivid memory in the minds of millions of viewers. Code-named Stratos, the remarkable event featured Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner in partnership with Red Bull. He jumped from 24 miles – about 128,000 feet – above the earth’s surface. 

To pull off this awe-inspiring stunt, Red Bull put the skydiver in a compact communication capsule and launched him into the stratosphere using a helium-filled balloon. This resulted in setting two new world records: one for the highest skydive and another for the highest viewing traffic of a live stream at slightly over 8 million viewers. 

The takeaway: Marketers should not underestimate the power of live events in delivering memorable immersive experiences to a massive audience.

2. Gamification

Gamification is an excellent brand activation idea, especially when dealing with a product that isn’t very appealing or easy to understand. For example, Docker is an open-source software platform that enables developers to build, run, and manage apps on different operating systems. It uses containerization technology, making it a complex product even by enterprise standards. 

During its developer conference, DockerCon 2017, Docker created a unique product demo, Docker Dash, to help its target audience interact with its product and understand why it’s so invested in the containerization market. Docker Dash was a live simulation of Docker’s platform, and it recruited 5,000 conference guests to collaborate on building an app by solving a series of exciting challenges. Each challenge allowed the participants to interact with a feature of Docker’s platform and understand how it works. 

Approximately 3.6 million people – those who attended the conference in person and those who watched and shared it on social media – became more educated about Docker’s product thanks to this gamification strategy. Gamification sparks interest in your target audience, encouraging them to play, compete, collaborate, and become more passionate about your business.

3. AR integration

Digitalization is at an all-time high. Though customers still want to be able to try out products before making a purchase, immersive experiences don’t have to be in person. This is where leveraging the power of augmented reality comes in pretty handy. 

For example, if you’re in the cosmetics business like Sephora, you can create an AR-powered app to show customers how different types of makeup or shades of lipstick look on them pre-purchase to help them make the right decision. This strategy can be replicated in virtually all industries, from fashion to interior design, as demonstrated by brands like Nike, Balenciaga, and IKEA.

Engaging customers (or in some cases, fans) can add product value. You may be too close to the situation, but customers know what they want so they can feel a unique engagement – just ask them. They can assist with thought leadership.

4. Help your customers do good while promoting your brand

People want to do good things and help others, but sometimes they don’t know where to start. Why not highlight charitable causes while promoting your brand and its values? That’s what German relief NGO Misereor did with their SocialSwipe campaign, setting up airport billboards to highlight some problems they work to resolve, like hunger. 

Each digital poster had a card reader where travelers could make a 2€ donation. After swiping their card, donors received a thank you message from Misereor in their bank statement with a prompt to turn the one-time gift into a monthly donation. This reminded them of their participation while encouraging continuous contributions. You can use a similar approach to acquire and nurture leads.

5. Experiential co-branding

Partnering with noncompeting brands can be quite lucrative as it allows you to tap into a new audience base. For this to work, you must choose a company with a similar audience and one that would benefit from your audience. For a win-win outcome, you must also create an experience that involves an exchange of both companies’ products.

In 2015, Google set out to promote its new photo app by giving free cupcakes in Austin – but there was a catch. To get a cupcake, people had to take a photo with the new app. Zappos got excited by the idea and strategically set up shop just across Google’s cupcake truck, giving out free watches and shoes in exchange for cupcakes. 

In other words, to get a reward from Zappos, people had to take a photo with Google’s new app – so both brands gained new customers from the event. This is an excellent example of experiential co-branding. Since Zappos and Google are in different industries, they complemented rather than sabotaged each other (which is what you should aim for when choosing a co-branding partner).

Shockoe for a winning brand activation strategy

Shockoe is a leading digital solutions provider with seasoned experts in all stages of the product development process. We help businesses predict and answer customer wants and needs through unique experiences. Whether you’re looking to create a game simulation to demonstrate how your product works, build an AR-powered app for more personalization and conversions, or are just getting started in your brand activation journey, Shockoe can help. Book an appointment to learn about the exciting brand activation ideas we have for you.