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Activate your brand…socially


3409259551_cf5852b7d5Made my annual pilgrimage to the Minnesota State Fair this past weekend. Had a blast with my family. We ate pronto pups, mini donuts, cookies and anything else that came on a stick.

We watched shows, visited the animal barns and even rode the Giant Slide.

And, as we strolled up and down the boulevards at the Fair, you were bombarded with brand messages. An endless array of organizations are represented at the Fair. Companies like John Deere, Toro, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, the Minnesota Twins and all the usual media outlets.

But, here’s my question: Are they activating their brands socially?

In an event format like the State Fair, brand activation is key. Many companies are doing a fine job there. John Deere sponsors the wonderful Kids Farm on Machinery Hill—a must for our family every year. Our kids participate in the farm and walk away with a John Deere hat and a great experience each time. Great idea.

But, did they activate their brand socially?

Every family that walks through that farm takes no fewer than 15 pictures of their kids with those John Deere hats on, digging in the dirt and riding on miniature John Deere tractors. Isn’t that just a treasure trove of shareable content for John Deere?

Why not encourage people to post pics they take at the farm to a John Deere FlickR photo group page?

Why not ask folks to share their videos they take of their kids riding those John Deere tractors on a shared video page on their site?

Why not ask people to tag their tweets about their experience at the farm with the hash tag #mnjohndeere?

Whatever the approach, the point is, John Deere—and many other brands at these types of events—are missing out on an opportunity. The content is there—these organizations just give folks the ability to share it.

Or, what about the folks over at TCF. They had a nice outdoor space promoting the new TCF Bank Stadium. Wonderful set up with a few faux seats from the stadium where you could get your photo taken. Even had one of those games where you have to throw the football through a hole about 2 feet wide. Again, great photo opportunity—heck, TCF staffers were already taking pictures.

I’ll ask again, why not activate the brand socially?

If you’re TCF, you have the photos. Why not have a staffer right there sending those photos via email to participants on the spot along with a hash tag to share on Twitter and a link to TCF’s FlickR page?

Why not hand people a flyer with the TCF social properties listed and ask folks to visit to see photos of them “interacting” with the TCF brand?

Why not have Goldy on hand, get photos of folks with the mascot (and the TCF brand mark in the background) and encourage people to use that as their Twitter avatar or Facebook profile pic?

I’m not picking on John Deere or TCF here at all. Actually, I think both do a wonderful job at the Fair of activating their brands in creative ways. I’m just using what they’re doing to illustrate a point. Brand activation is more than just games and interactive activities now—it also involves thinking about ways to socialize your brand activation strategy.

Note: Photo courtesy of MrOutdoorGuy via FlickR Creative Commons



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