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Radio-Active Promotions

When it comes to brand activations or promotions, the primary measure of success is the number of people attracted to participate, engage and then make use of the product or brand on offer. Lack of participation by members of the public means that the promotion has failed. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of any promotion or activation is attracting the required volume of people necessary and turning observers into particpants.

If your activation manages to attract the ideal crowd, the second measure of success must be having the right presentation and personalities for the activation to have the desired effect. Ultimately, that is converting participants into customers. In other words, return-on-investment for your client. If you manage to achieve these two elements, you can consider the activation a success. In order to do this, you will need the services of a professional company to stage your activation.

However, simply having a professional company to run the activation for you is no guarantee of success. Certainly, making use of the services of a professional company will increase the chances for success but it is still no guarantee. What is required is a company which can not only handle the activation in the most professional manner possible, but also ensure that the required number of attendances will be present, and then give the client the necessary assurances of success.

The Brand Connection is just the company for the job, and maybe the only company which can almost guarantee its clients of a decent volume of attendances. To say that The Brand Connection is a Johannesburg-based company is almost a stretch of the imagination, because while the offices are in Strijdom Park, Randburg, its work is wherever its clients require an activation or series of activations to be held. This could be Kuruman in the Free State, Jozini in KwaZulu-Natal or even Calvinia in the Western Cape.

So what is it that makes The Brand Connection the right company to ensure that any activation has the right number of participants? Quite simply, it comes down to knowing the right people and having the right connections. In this particular case it is having a relationship with the more than 140 community radio stations around the country and in neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia. Close friendships and working relationships with radio DJs and station management means that the local talent can be leveraged at any time to increase the numbers of participants at an activation. Other pre-activation tools include loud-hailer vehicles and social media such as Twitter or Facebook.

Prior to an activation, local community radio stations are contacted and the details of the activation are worked out. If necessary, on-air promotions are done with the DJs from the radio station thereby generating interest in the activation which will take place thereafter. This helps the DJs to engage with the product and for listeners to become excited about the forthcoming event.

One of the aspects which helps attract listeners to an event is the promise of give-aways and a radio-based promotion makes this possible. Audiences can be attracted to the possibility of free promotional material. However, for the client, there is always the concern whether give-aways are actually going to make it into the hands of members of the audience. In this regard, The Brand Connection has a number of checks and balances in place. With its own warehousing, all stock of give-aways is received, logged and stored by a single person thereby ensuring complete control. In addition, regular stock taking of all client material ensures that accurate checks and records are maintained.

Said Simon Milne, operations manager at The Brand Connection, ‘Our aim is to talk to the audiences, not at them, and for this you need people who speak the physical language, but more importantly the local vernacular, people who audiences feel comfortable with. Many of the promotions we handle have an educational element and by using people that the audience can identify with means that there is a greater level of engagement and acceptance.’

He added, ‘We have to prove to our clients that the promotion has attracted the required number of people, that the correct number of promotional items were given away and, that there was active engagement and participation of the audience. It is for this reason that we have started making use of the GoPro system which allows us to record video and audio of the entire event from set-up through to break-down. It also records times which means that the client has an accurate account of the event from the start to the finish. Another aspect of this is that on extended, multi-venue events we can show the client that the same presentation is given, as closely as possible, thereby giving the client complete peace-of-mind.’

Another facet of the service from The Brand Connection which ensures that clients receive nothing but the best is the fact that with every activation, whether a single event or a series of events, there is direct involvement from the management at The Brand Connection. All aspects of the activation from branding, project management, even the outside broadcast aspect are handled directly by The Brand Connection.

Said Bevan Milne, graphics manager, ‘Sub-contractors or work which is outsourced means that we relinquish control of an element and that means that we cannot ensure that it is handled to the highest possible standards. Therefore, we try to ensure that we do not outsource any aspects, unless we cannot do it ourselves.’

While The Brand Connection is able to handle a number of activations at any given time, there is a commitment that clients must always have the best possible experience. Part of this is knowing when to turn down extra work in order to ensure that existing clients receive the quality of activation they expect. Said Simon, ‘Our clients know and expect that they will get the highest levels of professionalism from us and, if that means that we have to refuse a job because we cannot give it, or our other clients, the attention they deserve, then that is what we will do.’

Although The Brand connection has only been in operation for five years, it builds on the 15-year history of parent company The Media Connection. As a level 1 BEE company, The Brand Connection is a tight-knit team with a penchant for finding new and exciting ways of doing things to assist its clients to achieve the very best in brand promotions.

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