ROI of Brand Experience


Proving the ROI of a Brand Activation

How do you qualify the return on investment (ROI) of a live brand activation? Your answer to that question can make all the difference in being able to run the live activation of your dreams and being told there’s no room in the budget for such things.

Brand activations have been around long enough – and have been proven to be effective – that a fair number of CEOs, CFOs, and the rest of the C-suite recognize and understand their value. Still, it’s not a universal understanding, not yet. For many executives, when they hear the term “brand activation,” they picture something that is supplemental and not a business solution. Compared to elements that empirically drive sales, brand activations can be (incorrectly) seen as soft.


So, you may be dealing with a boss who wants to see a benefit that immediately results in cold, hard cash, and terms like “emotional impact” and “purpose-driven” simply cause his or her eyes to glaze over. If that’s the case, you have some convincing to do.

Fortunately, you have some compelling evidence on your side because a company with a focused, strategic vision will positively and directly impact sales. The good news is that determining the exact metrics that will help you prove the value of brand activations and win over your harshest critics are also precisely what you need to refine and improve the effectiveness of your efforts.

 How to Evaluate a Brand Activation

To accurately measure the effectiveness of your brand activations, you need to select the metrics that best suits your goals. Since there are many elements you can utilize to judge the success of your efforts, your first step is to narrow down your options.

 To do so, you need to understand your business goals and then correlate them with your event. When you are beginning, make sure that you do not overwhelm your efforts. Keep the number of metrics you intend to measure reasonable. It is recommended to only select five or six.

Nissan Airclad-6.jpg

 Are you hoping to boost sales across your organization? Then you need to evaluate how the live event improves your company’s performance. Look to metrics like:

• Sales
• Leads
• Close ratio
• Repeat purchases
• Customer retention
• Consumer lifetime value
• Relative price
• Customer satisfaction
• Consumer preference
• Referrals

While these metrics do include specific consumer actions, like purchases, they also embrace behaviors that occur over an extended timeframe, which is where you can highlight the effectiveness of your efforts on brand loyalty.

Speaking of brand awareness, if that is a goal of your activation, you can zero in closer on specific metrics that evaluate consumer knowledge and how they feel about your brand. These metrics look at the impact of your efforts on customers and how they improve a customer’s perception of your products and services and include:

• Perceived quality
• Impressions
• Followers
• Brand recall
• Marketing reach
• Website traffic
• Brand image
• Competitive advantage
• Differentiation
• Relevance
• Purchase intent

Nissan Airclad-15.jpg

You can also choose to examine metrics that evaluate how your activation creates substantial, concrete economic value. You will likely want to focus on a few of these metrics if you have upper management questing the necessity of your brand activations. Some elements to review are:

• Brand valuation
• Cost per action
• Revenue
• Profitability
• Market share

After you have selected the metrics you intend to evaluate, the next step is to determine your current status with each one. This will help you understand where you are presently and help you establish a series of benchmarks you wish to achieve.

Now, all you have to do is run the activation – no big deal there, right ;).

After the live event concludes, then you repeat the steps you took when you initially evaluated your metrics. You want to follow the same steps as closely as possible. This will help guarantee that you are comparing apples to apples. Your results will enable you to see where your efforts achieved or exceeded expectations and where you fell short.

Don’t be frustrated by metrics that show underperformance – that just lets you know where you need to refocus your efforts. That’s the final step, to evaluate the results and refocus your efforts. Brand activations are fluid and need to be consistently tweaked to continually improve. The results of your evaluations will highlight areas that need improvement as well as strengths where you can maintain momentum.

Now, repeat these steps with your next live activation.


Additional Selling Points

All Actions Taken at Brand Activations Are Measurable

As shown above, there are metrics upon metrics you can use to evaluate an activation, but you can also measure many touchpoints at the actual brand experience. Whether you use an app on a mobile device or an RFID enabled wearable, the biometrics and analytics of each attendee are available for measurement.

Live branding activations offer the most intimate view of your consumers, including their behaviors, interests, and emotional connection to your brand. The insights gleaned at events will allow you to understand better how to target and service specific individuals.

The best part? We have not reached the peak of what is possible. Technology is still evolving and how this data is stored and utilized is in constant flux. In the future, there may be large pools of data networks that could revolutionize how we look at and share consumer information.

Attendees Love Sharing Their Experiences

It’s likely that social media marketing is an essential part of your promotional strategy. It is undoubtedly an essential part of your attendees’ lives. This means that if you host an engaging brand activation, your attendees will share their experiences across all of their social media channels.

You can (and should) provide them with tailor-made, shareable opportunities. Photo ops, personalized videos, and social media walls are just a few of the possibilities. If you provide the chances, your attendees will share content throughout your event.

Brand Experiences Attract a Crowd that’s Difficult to Reach

Speaking of social media, brand experiences attract the lucrative millennial crowd. Millennials have proven to be very savvy at avoiding traditional advertising by choosing to cut the cord when consuming media and using ad blocking software when online. They are also quite skilled at avoiding non-traditional advertising, as well. For example, as Facebook became more adept at targeting its social media advertising, the average user of the platform began to trend older because millennials jumped ship when their feeds started filling up with ads.


Millennials have also shown that they would rather spend their time and money enjoying experiences instead of purchasing material possessions. A brand experience, because it is delivering an experience, is not seen as a traditional form of advertising. It invites participation in as opposed to reaching out for viewers. It also provides a service and is more interested in making a connection than making a sale. As a result, live activations are often viewed by participants as an authentic way for consumers to interact with a brand.

Live brand activations provide limitless possibilities to educate, engage, and activate your target audience. For more thoughts on creating an activation designed for maximum attendee participation and impact, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.