For robust start, think product activation

EABL marketing director Stephen O’Kelly during the unveiling of Tusker Premium Cider in October last year. file photo | nmg
EABL marketing director Stephen O’Kelly during the unveiling of Tusker Premium Cider in October last year. file photo | nmg 

In an effort to reach its target consumer market with its latest product Tusker Cider, East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) #ticker:EABL visited 18,359 bars in Kenya, engaging consumers about the product and getting feedback through its brand ambassadors.

It was a market activation that has been shown to be a powerful marketing tool in securing brand awareness and visibility.

“In-bar marketing activation was important to drive consumer connection with the brand. We started off with sampling activations for consumers to experience the taste explosion of Tusker Cider and enjoy its rich Apple flavour,” said Arianne Okong’o, marketing manager, Tusker.

“Through the activations, we sampled over two million consumers in three months, November to January 2017. This was a success and the product is currently available in 25,000 outlets nationally showing that the uptake of Tusker Cider has been great.”

Indeed, brand activations are emerging as a prime marketing strategy for brands seeking to gain an edge in the market, because they capture a consumer’s interest, educating them on the products on the spot, and proving powerful in informing subsequent buying decisions.

So persuasive are they that in the US, brand activations accounted for 60.8 per cent of overall marketing expenditures in 2016, according to the US Association of National Advertisers, whereas spending on traditional advertising was 24.1 per cent, and on trade promotions 15.1 per cent.

“Brand activation focuses on six marketing disciplines that connect and interact with the customer to bring the brand to life: promotion, experiential, retailer/shopper, relationship, content, and influencer.

Through this, it builds a brand’s image and drives a specific customer behaviour or action. It focuses on connecting and interacting with the customer to bring the brand to life,” reported the Association of National Advertisers.

“The data reinforced the importance of brand activation within the total marketing universe: its combined operator revenue and internal brand spend represent nearly 60 per cent of the $1t marketing ecosystem, which is nearly twice the size of advertising, spend.”

Moreover, activations are being turned to both by new brands in the market and to promote long-standing products, by encouraging one-on-one interactions with consumers.

“Brand activations are key to any brand seeking to sell its product to a wider market. Consumers like to feel cared for and important so when they are offered a chance to give their feedback on a product, they are likely to take it,” said Bruce Gumo, a marketing analyst at Biz Trace, a marketing solutions company.

The feedback EABL got during its brand activation saw it make changes to its products based on market needs and preferences.

“We were extremely excited to implement the feedback from our consumers. That is how we came to launch Tusker Cider Can in April 2017.

The can accommodates a wider market of consumers with its convenience and adaptability for different occasions, as our ambition is to continually innovate,” said Okong’o.

- African Laughter