The End

Brand activation is a term for short-term experiential tools used to generate awareness, deepen connections with existing audiences, or achieve another objective with the goal of elevating a brand. 
During the pandemic, brands have started to adapt the look of the activations to what will fit CDC guidelines and regulations. This, however, is not the future of brand activations- it's the present. 
The future of brand activations lies in brands transitioning into the role of a supporter, and having a consumer-focused “why” as the basis of their activation.
This means using a list of five strategies to help combat the most important new realities consumers face due to the pandemic. 
To find out more about these strategies and brand activations, click on the boxes to view the deliverables above. 

Project Identification:

Course: Senior Capstone I + II

Dates: Fall 2020-Spring 2021

Credits: All components are mine

The Process

01 Secondary Research 

It all started with secondary research, combing through every news article, blog post, agency description, and case study I could find. 
Insight
There is no shared definition of brand activations and many don't fit the scope of what they are or allow room for growth. 
Takeaway
Create a definition that can be shared, and identify what activations could look like and could accomplish. 

02 Primary Research 

Then came primary research in the form of interviewing experts to gain a better understanding of what I had been reading about.  
There are two categories for why an activation could happen- brand-centered reasons and consumer-centered reasons. 
Insight
Takeaway
These categories are the future of activations as activations are too broad to say the future of them is what they will look like.

03 Create + Communicate

Lastly, it was coming up with the future of brand activations and creating a way to convey what I learned in a way that made sense. 
Insight
The future of brand activations lies in brands transitioning into the role of a supporter, and having a consumer-focused “why” as the basis of their activation. 
Takeaway
Communicate this through examples, analogies, case studies, and other methods. 

The Deliverables

01 Textbook Style

02 Recorded Presentation

The Future of

Brand Activations

Imagine you and your brand spent years on an activation, sinking hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into it- only to have it canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Believe it or not, this was a reality for me. I was the project manager and production coordinator for Ringling College and Flight School Studio's brand activation at South by Southwest for the new VR game Glitch Out. Getting the phone call that SXSW was canceled was devastating, but my mind immediately jumped to the bigger picture:
What was the future of brand activations?
This was a question I felt so passionately about that I made it my thesis.