Brand activation through event marketing

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We spoke to Stuart Andrews, Johannesburg branch operations manager at Gearhouse South Africa, one of the country’s leading events technical service providers, about what makes a great brand activation.

From your perspective as a service provider, what kinds of event activations are doing particularly well at the moment?

Innovative use of technology is attracting people. The use of interactive technologies such as games, touchscreens, bespoke apps, music and lighting make activations attractive to passers-by and make the activation stand out.

Why, in your opinion, are these particularly successful?

At any public event there may be any number of activations trying to grab a few minutes of the attendees’ time, so an activation that stands out, with a quick, punchy and engaging means of passing on the message, is preferred.

Which kinds of events activations are “old news”?

Inflatables, flyers, poster displays and people handing out information, and also asking attendees to fill in forms. Instead, embrace technology and make it work for you.

Tell us a bit about Gearhouse.

Gearhouse South Africa is a member of the Gearhouse Group, a group of nine companies under one roof, each specialising in different event technical services, including lighting, audio, audiovisual, structures and staging, power, rigging, sets, LED screens, grandstand seating, and portable venues. I joined Gearhouse Johannesburg when I returned to South Africa in 2003, after working in Dubai, where I headed up the AV department of a hotel group.

5 ways to improve event activation success

  1. Know your target audience: know who you’re aiming your activation at, and get your event look, feel and message right.
  2. Use social media to reach your audience, using relevant hashtags.
  3. Put effort into your signage and branded materials – you’re relying on a visually appealing display to attract people.
  4. Staff the event with experienced brand ambassadors who understand the product offering and are also engaging, energetic and approachable.
  5. Give people a reason to attend – create a buzz, hand out free stuff or host a fun activity.

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