SEO and Engagement Marketing

How to Combine Brand Activation Marketing With SEO

An effective example of brand activation marketing follows a tested and proven methodology, as outlined below. Once the hashtags, tweets and shares start to abate, organic searches should be starting to grow. An effective search engine optimisation campaign takes time to gain traction. Therefore, an effective brand activation plan seeks to engage curious consumers with the intention of turning them into raving fans.

One instant hit with event attendees, is anything which delivers a tangible memento. Ideally- the Brand should be in the spotlight. If not centre stage- then certainly included alongside the people. We spoke with the people from  Poppy’s Place about experiential marketing campaigns. They’ve had outstanding success building brand awareness in the minds of consumers. They follow clear steps, as they create critically acclaimed activations suited to each individual business. But how does one go about creating a successful brand activation? And how should you coordinate your SEO efforts to complement what your shopper sampling, digital marketing or consumer outreach has begun?

While it makes good sense, to arrange a photo booth and produce branded snaps for social sharing, the buzz only lasts a short while. The secret sauce comes from combining an event with effective search engine optimisation, so that after the buzz- your business, product or service can be found through organic search.


SEO Steps to Take with Activation Marketing

brand activation marketing uses social media to maximum advantage

Ensure you rank for your brand! Simple, obvious but not always the case in reality. Claim your Google business listing at Google’s business registration page without delay! Optimise your website and digital media so that branded searches are pointed to your own assets.
Remember- on your own website- it’s your stage. If a visitor searches your brand and is taken to a third party site which talks about your brand you often have no control over what content is displayed.

Once you’ve sorted the business listing and branded search optimisation, check that there is content on your website that follows on from the activation. In that regard, visitors will easily link your brand and your website to their perception of who you are and what you stand for. And in marketing, consumer perception at brand level, is almost everything.


An Example of Brand Activation ‘Step by Step’

search engine optimisation combined with engagement marketing is an example of brand activation strategy well done

According to April 5, a successful brand activation needs to be strategically led, deliver measurable results, and focus on Return on Investment (ROI). To achieve this, your concept needs to:

  • Align with your brand.
  • Appeal to your target audience.
  • Involve a call to action.
  • Set clear SMART goals.
  • Convert participants to loyal brand ambassadors.
  • Start- and maintain- a momentum of following and engagement, where people interact with your message and content and make it a part of what gives them a buzz.


Wanting to start a brand activation campaign is great, but before you do anything you have to actually come up with an idea.

The idea of a brand activation is to get consumers interacting with your brand, including signing up/buying your product/engaging in your movement. Consider this thought provoking campaign by Refinery29 titled 29Rooms, the goal of which was to ‘open people up through play and then expand their minds to new ideas and experiences that they might not otherwise be exposed to’ according to Piera Gelardi co-founder and executive creative director of Refinery29 in an interview by Forbes.

Refinery29 is a brand that is focused on empowering young women as, per the Refinery29 website, where they say:

“We inspire, entertain, and empower our audience through optimistic and diverse storytelling, experiences, and points of view.”

In 29Rooms, guests were invited to answer 29 Questions with deep topics such as ‘Who do you miss?’, write letters to their younger selves, and engage in artistic workshops. At the end of the experience, the exit stairway displayed the words ‘We built our dream world, now go build yours’. This concept works well: it aligns with their brand image (one focused on empowerment, new experiences, play and betterment through introspection), it appeals to their target audience (young adult women), and it involves a call to action.

Before entering the planning stage, consider all the options and choose the one that best aligns with your brand and will give you the best ROI.


The first thing you should consider is the budget. Not only will you need money for any materials, venue costs and any bills incurred, you also need to consider the cost of staff who will aid in planning, transport on the day, and marketing for the actual brand activation. Failure to effectively plan your budget might result in the same disaster the Fyre Festival organisers faced when they failed to pay artists and vendors while continuing to pay the models that promoted the event.

Also be aware of the need to augment your campaign to fit the current climate: your concept may need to be changed or overhauled partway through organising. Make sure you regularly test and promote the activation to ensure 100% satisfaction before rollout.

Make the most of your social media by:

  • Implementing a personalised hashtag for the event.
  • Offer prizes/products for following you on social media.
  • Don’t forget to keep running your own socials before and during the activation

Continue to market your activation up to and during the execution. After all, a campaign can’t market itself!


After the event is over, it’s important you don’t lose steam by checking in with your audience. If you have a mailing list, send out an update on how the event went and what the results for the company were. Offer incentives for people to leave feedback for the event such as vouchers or other exclusive offers. Gather any and all photos or media clips of the activation so you can use them for your own marketing. Follow up any inquiries from the event. Finally, do it all quickly and don’t stagnate! Capitalise on the hype of your activation, don’t sit on it and wait for it to die down!

If you set your goals correctly at the beginning of the planning stage, then now is the time to see the results! Did you meet all your goals? Did the results measure what you wanted them to? Was there anything missing in the data? Did you meet your ROIs? Hopefully your activation was a success, but if it wasn’t make a note of where it went wrong.

The last thing to do? Start planning for the next one! Use all the data you’ve collected to future-proof your next brand activation. The marketing never stops, and neither should you!


  • Make sure your brand aligns with your activation concept.
  • Set SMART goals to track your progress.
  • Focus on ROI.
  • Keep the marketing going, even during and after the event.
  • Follow-up quickly and totally: leave no loose ends.


A lot goes into a successful experiential or engagement marketing beyond a good idea. In order to be successful it needs to be targeted, measured and focused. When you combine SEO with a brand activation plan like the example on this page, you continue to enjoy the compounded benefits of customer acquisition through both disciplines.