Decoding Why Brand Activations Fail: Insights from Camlin, Philips, Denver, CS Direkt, TBB & Others

Industry Watch | October 27, 2016 | Feature

Camlin CS Direkt The Brand Brewery Philips Denver

Picture this, if you will –  the sweltering heat, a bazaar, a booth, a few sweaty teenagers all in red T-Shirts and caps hard-selling you the latest phone or lip-stick or scooter, evidently unconvinced themselves. This was what the typical brand activation in India looked like a 15 years, a format used indiscriminately by luxury brands and low-end brands alike, across segments and across industries.

Now, move that booth with the same kids in the same T-Shirts selling the same products into any one of the many malls we have in metros and cities across the country. Well, granted, the setting is markedly different. But not much else has changed, at least for the bulk of activations that take place every festive season.

And yet, the same does not hold true for experiential marketing in India on the whole.

The first ever ‘Trends in Experiential Marketing’ research by unveiled at the ExM Summit of the WOW Awards and Conventions Asia 2016 revealed various interesting statistics on the significance of Experiential as part of Brand Marketing in India. The study highlighted 3 important points:

52% of marketers invest around 5%-10% of their marketing budget in Experiential which mainly consists of brand activations and standalone events.

6% marketers stated that their annual spends in experiential marketing was over 40% of their annual marketing budget. (Brand Segments included Fashion, Retail, Consumer Goods, etc.)

Marketers from Telecommunication, Automobile and Fashion/Retail segment believed their experiential marketing budget is expected to increase another 10%-15% by next year.

The findings are a clear reflection of how the importance of brand activations is increasing rapidly, and how brands are shifting a greater chunk of their marketing budget in that direction.

And, even though brands do activations throughout the year, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that most of these brands do not truly thrive on the power of Experiential till the festive season of September-December strikes.

The reason? Well, this time of the year is of huge importance to a normal Indian household as most important festivals of the year — Diwali, Dussehra, Puja, Dhanteras — take place then. It’s a time when families celebrate by buying gifts for each other and completing their shopping wish-lists for the year.

However, despite waiting for months to strike when the iron is hottest, many brands fail miserably in engaging their target audiences through brand activations.

In this exclusive feature, we at ExM speak to top brands (Philips, Denver, Camlin), agencies (The Brand Brewery and CS Direkt) & experiential venues to try to find out how and why brand activations fail. 

The marketers we spoke to agree with us that a successful activation needs to reflect the marketing goals that drive a business, with the same level of seriousness that other experiential, digital or ATL promotions do.

“Concept is the core of any brand activation and is extremely crucial. The idea of any activation has to be good, because if the idea itself is fault no matter how much you re-tweet it, or promote it, it will just end up eating up the reputation of your brand,” notes Amit Tiwari, Director Marketing, Indian Subcontinent – Brand, Communication & Digital, Philips India. 

                                                                                   Amit Tiwari, Director Marketing, Indian Subcontinent – Brand, Communication & Digital, Philips India

Talking about why activations fail, Saumitra Prasad, CMO, Camlin remarks, “This happens when the activations are not strategic and not amplified. Most effort should go in developing the concept of a promotion. It is as important as developing a creative brief for a new TV commercial.”

                                                    Saumitra Prasad, CMO, Camlin

Anjali Pasricha, Director, CS Direkt says, “Activations build coherent brands by offering their consumers a complete brand experience with the company, be it face-to-face or digital. Activations bring consumers closer to a brand. We find that success of any Activations lies in its relevance to the consumer. It’s not about Flash mobs, Apps, technology. It is all about ‘What’s in it for me?’ Conceptualizing an activation is not an easy task. There are many elements that have to be considered before going ahead with pitching a plan to any client. Our team at CS Direkt study the brand and its various aspects and how it has affected the target audience in the past.”

                                            Anjali Pasricha, Director, CS Direkt

Saurabh Gupta, Marketing Head, Vanesa (Denevr & Envy 1000) adds, “Concept is the heart of any brand activation. If your concept is faulty to begin with then no amount of investment or fancy activity will bring you the desired result.”

                                           Saurabh Gupta, Marketing Head, Vanesa

Pradyumn Tandon, Founder & Director, The Brand Brewery adds, “Whenever a brand launches a product in the market it is an end result of a lot of market study. The brand understands that there is a gap in the market and then creates a product to fill in that gap. Similarly, the job of an agency is to correctly identify these places where the gaps is occurring, go to those locations and target the right person at the right. This is the recipe of a successful brand activation. Any brand or agency that deviates from this market insight ends up with an unsuccessful brand activation.”

                                  Pradyumn Tandon, Founder & Director, The Brand Brewery

To read the full article in the Sep/Oct 2016 issue of Experiential Magazine. Click on the image below. 


Top Brands, Event Planners and Experiential Venues speak on why do brand activations fail and spill the reasons behind it.

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