Digital Brand Activation: FAQs

The Digital Brand Activation is having a moment. This term we coined — and solution we developed — back in 2016, is suddenly drawing a lot of interest. And the IMA team is getting hit with a lot of questions. So, to clarify things, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions we’ve received over the past few months …

What is a Digital Brand Activation?
It’s our proprietary plug-and-play solution for high-value lead generation — which doubles as a fast way to increase the value of your brand. We microtarget your highest-value prospects, drive them inbound (via search and social), nurture them quickly through top-of-funnel, and convert them into opt-ins. Your salespeople take it from there.

So, it’s keyword-driven?
That’s part of it. We also look at social media content that’s performing well — both your own posts, and that of your best competitors — as well as relevant topics that are trending in your space. This is all to gauge what keeps your most-valuable audiences up at night. Then we create and roll-out branded content that intersects the problems they’re trying to solve with the relevant solutions you have to offer. Pretty straightforward, really.

What is the best application of this type of campaign?
DBAs can be leveraged to achieve a variety of marketing goals. New product or service launches. Lagging products or services that need to get more spotlight. Or, really, any great solution your company has to offer that, for whatever reason, hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. With a Digital Brand Activation, we match important solution-focused content with precisely the people who need to see it.

Do these campaigns take long to build and launch?
No. The strategy is off-the-shelf, but modified for every client. Every industry, every offering, every audience is different. And, again, we’re identifying and microtargeting your most-valuable audiences. So it takes some time to research that, to unearth the most relevant and powerful messages for that audience, and then to develop the creative and build the campaigns in Google, LinkedIn and wherever else. But, it’s a process that takes weeks, not months.

What do you mean by “most-valuable audience”?
The audiences that are either in-market for your offering, or very close to being in-market, and whose engagement with certain content indicates a high level of interest. We also look for data that indicates a potentially high lifetime customer value. Knocking on cold doors is a waste of time. As the old adage goes: It’s easier to sell to customers when they are coming to you.

How does IMA work with a brand’s internal marketing team?
Pretty seamlessly. We don’t “take over” any team functions. The Digital Brand Activations we run live sidecar to everything else. We work with internal marketing teams to gain access to social channels, share high-ranking keywords, ensure that we’re following brand guidelines, that type of thing. But one of our main goals is to support a brand’s broader digital marketing efforts, not disrupt them.

What was the impetus for this offering?
Around 2016, we started to see a boom in brand activations. The first ones we saw were at SxSW. Then CES. They started popping up at every big event. And some of them were really impressive. But, brand activations come with obvious problems. They’re expensive to build. They’re contained to a physical location. And they only run for a short period. So Bob [IMA’s online marketing director] and I started playing with the idea of creating brand activations online — something that would achieve the same result, but be cheaper and faster to build and run for as long as you need. That’s where the idea was born.

Tell us about the reporting/analytics.
This is a crucial part of it. First, because our clients want full transparency into how the campaigns are performing. But also, and equally importantly, the data lets us adjust in real time to maximize the performance of the campaigns. Our team is behind the controls every day — analyzing which channels and messages are working, which aren’t, and where the new opportunities are coming. They’re adjusting the dials. They also report back to the creative team to let them know, like, “Hey, this new keyword is trending!”, so the creative team can whip up new messaging to test against that surging wave. We also deliver reports to our clients periodically — usually monthly, but it can be more frequent if requested — and run through the details with them, so they have a full handle on what’s happening behind the scenes.

And the ROI?
Spectacular. Again, the cost to build, launch and manage one of these campaigns is pennies on the dollar to the IRL version. And, because it’s digital, we’re optimizing at every step to ensure maximum return. The DBA we ran for Premier Dental was an exceptional case study, but we have dozens of them.

What if a marketing leader is interested in exploring a DBA but doesn’t know where to start?
Call us! Even if you don’t have a particular product focus in mind, we can help show you where the opportunities are. Research on trending keywords and social media content is part of our process. We’re happy to share those insights so you can see what’s possible.


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