5 Event Activation Ideas to Engage Your Audience

ITA Group
ITA Group

Incorporating innovative brand activations into events is important because they engage your audience long after the event is over. With a bit of planning, meaningful event activations can build lasting memories and positive brand associations that attendees will be eager to share with others.

Positive feelings are nice on their own, but they also have a real effect on business goals. According to Gallup, brands that build strong emotional connections with customers outperform competitors’ sales growth by 85%.

Whether your company is looking to launch a new product or reenergize top performers, let’s look closer at how successful event activations use memories to develop brand affinity.

Choose Event Activations That Connect to Brand Values

Event activations help attendees interact with your brand in a physical and emotional way—not just in the moment but long after the event itself. Make sure your activation ideas and overall event experience are authentic to your brand messaging to maximize their ROI.

Because activations can take the form of anything from robots serving drinks to a 15-city nap tour, potential brand activation ideas are limitless.

Consider these questions as you brainstorm event activation ideas:

  • What brand values do we want attendees to experience?
  • How does this activation idea bring brand values to life?
  • How do we want attendees to feel about the brand? Will this activation change or strengthen the emotional connection they have with your brand?
  • What do attendees value? Will this immersive experience be unique and meaningful?

Novel Event Activations Increase Brand Affinity

After considering what the activations need to accomplish, take a look at how to achieve objectives in a creative, immersive way. The more you can involve attendees in the activations, the more they will remember the event and brand messaging.

Memory plays an important factor in developing brand affinity, and novel experiences have a special way of imprinting on our brains. Out-of-the-ordinary experiences make people pay attention. If you can harness the power of novel event activations, attendees are more likely to home in on your brand messaging.

Related: T-Mobile needed a partner to develop an immersive experience to launch into a new market. Discover how we exceeded the attendance goal by 21.8%, with 93% of attendees reporting an enhanced view of the brand after the experience.

Five Event Activation Ideas To Get Attendees Talking

1. A Fresh Spin on Traditional Breakout Groups

Utilize 360-degree swivel chairs around satellite stages. Each time an attendee spins around to change perspective, you’ll re-capture their attention. This set-up encourages face-to-face collaboration while setting the stage for more active, engaged participation. Plus there’s not a bad seat in the house!

event attendees view meeting from 360-degree seats

Don’t stop at just changing the viewpoint. Ideas can soar during sessions held in the SkyLab, where attendees’ chairs are suspended in midair similar to a carnival ride, which debuted during IMEX Frankfurt in Germany. The unique breakout session literally elevates your audience, suspending them 50 feet in the air. Adding the Y-axis to the event boosts creativity, innovation and attendee engagement. Ideas on the ground are one thing—see what ideas emerge in a more uplifting space.

meeting event attendees sitting in suspended chairs

Photo: Sebastien Roy

2. Science Up Your Food & Beverage Stations

Tap into molecular gastronomy to produce a one-of-a-kind cocktail and hors d’oeuvre experience. Using fire, spherification and different concoctions, create an impactful taste experience attendees won’t soon forget.

chef serving molecular gastronomy food

If something a little cooler better aligns with your brand, experiment with the taste and theatrics of liquid nitrogen. This type of modern food preparation excites guests with a show of magical vapor clouds that cover and freeze exquisite appetizers and desserts.

Take it a step further and let participants relieve their stress by smashing their frozen creations.

chef smashing frozen dessert

Photo: Ann Reardon of How to Cook That

3. Offer Insta-Worthy Photo Ops

Who doesn’t love sharing a once-in-a-lifetime pic on social media? Instagram-worthy photo ops are a must for sharing brand activations and brand messaging beyond the in-person event audience. Don’t settle for a boring Instagram wall with some brand logos. Go above and beyond by offering a set with a photographer who can turn your selfie into a production.

Remember you aren’t limited to a static wall. From building a custom movie set to creating custom GIFs, create a campaign that attendees can only experience with you. Use motion to capture memories and tell stories that can be uploaded instantly to email, Facebook, Twitter and SMS. Everything looks better in slow motion, right? Take it to the next level—capture and turn it in to a 3D GIF. Influencer status, here you come.

When it comes to social media, the selfie reigns supreme. But instead of adding another one to your album, how about adding one to your plate? Enter the edible selfies. Cookies, macaroons, lattes—anything is possible.

drink with selfie photo as froth

Photo: Selffee, LLC

4. Give Your Swag a Hand

For a completely unique and experiential experience, may we suggest the interactive Wall of Hands. This large décor piece adds a Seussical whimsy to handing out swag in an unforgettable way.

event attendee interacting with hand wall

We used the Wall of Hands in the entrance space of our annual corporate-wide meeting. As guests arrived, white-gloved hands extended from behind the wall to hand out branded swag. As an incentive to interact with all aspects of the event, guests were encouraged to collect redemption tickets by participating in the various company event activities and activations. These tickets could be exchanged for small prizes from the Wall of Hands.

5. Light Up the Night

Make the audience a part of the evening event like never before using a drone light show and projection mapping.

A sustainable alternative to traditional (and sometimes unimaginative) firework displays, these high-tech light shows bring the wow factor to any space. Through the use of audio/visual technology, the event is transformed into a living show with attendees playing an active role in the story.

Synchronize music to presentation, choreographing ooh-and-aah moments that engage the audience and leave them buzzing about how cool your brand is.

Creative Event Activations Immerse Your Audience in the Brand

Immersive event activations get brand messaging to your audience in unexpected, personal ways that stick in their memories. Use them to enhance the overall emotional connection to your brand, and energize attendees to share what makes your brand amazing.

For more examples on how to use brand activations and immersive events to build emotional connections with customers, download our ebook.