Linking Talent to Brand | Activation Events

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Brand activation events are a hugely popular form of marketing at the moment. They provide an opportunity for a lasting and memorable emotional connection with a brand. As a brand activations company in Johannesburg, we pride ourselves on serving our clients in this dynamic industry.

In order to do that, we know we need to keep asking questions that’ll keep us learning. And one of those questions kicking around recently was that of the brand activation ideas that involve (influential) people. When it comes to modern event planning, we can’t discount the importance of the characters that are so important in our audiences’ lives these days. They go by the word “influencer” and it’s no surprise because they hold a strong influence over modern culture and how people may perceive brands, products and experiences. This article explores whether using popular talent can help the success of an activation. Ready to do this? Let’s go.


The “why” we are referring to here is the strategic drive behind the activity. So when you’re planning, think about the nature of your activation and how having a celeb, a brand ambassador, or a well-known face may help or hinder the process of what you’re trying to achieve. Make sure they are helping you drive your overall brand objectives, and that your strategy stays at the core. It’s very important to not get caught up in the influencer culture (after all, it’s all the rage right now isn’t it?) without a solid direction of how your partnership may be contributing to your brand’s bigger picture.


Sometimes having a celeb or well-known industry person at a brand activation or event can help an audience feel like they’re connecting with something on a deeper level. In a sense, it can help “keep it real” because as we’ve said before, people connect with people. They trust the word and experiences of people more than they do that of your typical brand speak and marketing lingo. They look up to and follow the lives of others who live in the spotlight and in doing so they often trust what they do and the brands that they endorse. The challenge to getting this right is the motivation behind it all.


The pros of having a celeb, or industry talent show up and feature at a brand activation is that they come with their own pool of influence, which means you may be expanding your own reach just by default of having them there. Just by being there, they are in a sense advocating for your brand, your product and what you stand with what you may be marketing. Their networks, and their influence can help market your efforts both before, during and after. But it has to feel authentic, it has to feel like a fit because the public is wise to the fact that it’s a “tactic” and they’re sceptical at the best of times. So whoever’s going to turn up to represent at the event, make sure they (or what they do) are someone who your target market respects. Then make sure they feel present enough that it’s not just a business transaction that stinks of inauthenticity.


We think that everyone from sporting talent and music stars to chefs and famous actors can help to heighten brand awareness and also market an event on a level that goes beyond what just on-the-ground marketing can do. They could be snapping pics and sharing them with their social circles, which means getting your brand further exposure. But that’s not to say it’s for every occasion or every brand. Just like the way that people have evolved how they spend their time online interacting with their favourite celebs, brand activations have evolved.

At the end of the day, you (i.e. your brand, your product) needs to be the hero. It’s also good to set up clear guidelines and parameters of what any appearance will involve so you know exactly what you’re getting out of it, and how that can translate to your ROI or awareness goals. Below are a just few ways that you can link talent to a brand or product at an event in a way that may help support the marketing amplification:

Restaurants: The opening of a new store attended by a DJ who talks about it for a week leading up and cuts the ribbon.
Sports clothing: Sports players to launch a new line of sportswear in a mall so the aspiring athletes can meet and greet their heroes.
New deodorant launch: A well-known gym trainer to host an outdoor gym glass where people get to sweat it out, and trial the product.
Food or kitchenware: Get a chef to do a live demo of the product, giving people a chance to see it in action.
Camera equipment: Host an event where a well-respected photographer takes people on a tour to practice and learn in real-time alongside them.
Financial services: Find someone who aligns with your brand values to host an inspiring talk about a service you offer and get people to buy into its relevance in their lives.

We think that linking talent to brand activations can be incredibly powerful. But at the core, we believe we should keep thinking of ways we can make the experiences we create interesting, effective and memorable. It’s why we ask the questions, and why we seek to create the answers. If you need to kick around some questions of your own, take a look at our events and brand activation services and give us a shout.