Sunday, October 10, 2010

Activation 2.0

A few years back, if you asked 3 people to define our industry, you could have got up to 10 different definitions. Business defined it as “tactical”… Marketing defined us as “BTL”…  Advertising people defined us as a “non-advertising service”…… we were called promotions, brand activation, experiential marketing, BTL, promotional marketing, event management and several other names.

Today there is near consensus on the term “Activation”, we have come a long way in the past 15 years.

In version 1.0, promotions and BTL were an afterthought with little direction to the money spent. There were several fragmented service providers, many of them fly-by-night operators with little commitment to their own business let alone the brands and business of their clients. Clients often indulged in promotional spending to add just another slide on the annual brand presentation.

We are now hitting the age of Activation 2.0. Today Activation is part of the brand planning process and clients’ expectations for delivering measurable activation have soared, and the industry’s ability to mould consumer behaviour is now in such demand that advertising often claims our best work and renames it advertising.

Clients must not be forced to choose between spending on brand building and spending to induce instant sales. All marketing activities must do both, and with the same money spent. Most marketers aim to grow stronger brands and expect purchases to be directly linked to the money spent on the brand. This can be achieved through a focus on purchase behaviour and that is exactly what activation agencies do best. We must move towards owning consumer purchase behaviour and everything that motivates that behaviour one way or the other.

The journey has just begun, where we go from here will define whether Activation 3.0 can create an environment where Activation LEADS brand building.

No comments: