3 Risk Mitigation Strategies for Brand Activations

Pat Mileto
Ever wondered why some brand activations effortlessly soar while others falter? At FutureLabs, our wealth of experience has uncovered three powerful strategies that can elevate your brand presence and captivate your target audience.

These battle-tested techniques have been honed over decades, building creative activations for top brands and agency partners. Join us on this journey to create impactful brand experiences!

1. Have a contingency plan to deal with delays

Prepare for the unexpected, navigate through delays, and harness the power of contingency plans to ensure your experiential design campaigns stay on track. Delays from third parties are a common occurrence in experiential design campaigns.

However, having a contingency plan in place to minimise the knock-on effects and potential timeline blow-outs should be a standard operating procedure. Projects involving multiple vendors often suffer from delays, such as the completion of electrical wiring affecting digital aspects like coding and computer configuration. It can be tempting to wait until all aspects are ready, but this only leads to further delays.

To combat the risk of delays, it is crucial to have contingency plans. For instance, during a recent activation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the delivery and installation of a marquee were delayed. However, our meticulous preparation allowed us to start the brand event on time. We had tested all equipment, rehearsed the installation, and efficiently put everything into place once the marquee arrived.

Have a contingency plan to deal with delays

During a Formula E activation in Saudi Arabia, we faced a delay in the delivery of the application programming interface (API) required for our software program. However, through proactive planning, we minimised the impact of this delay. Working around the issue with available documentation, we built a framework without the API. By the time the API arrived, only a few adjustments were needed. What could have caused a two-week pipeline setback turned into a minor three-day delay because we had already laid the groundwork.

2. Organise back-ups and adequate on-site storage for this equipment

When it comes to equipment, strategic integration and proper backup storage are often overlooked. However, backups are absolutely crucial. During the planning of an experiential design campaign, we thoroughly test the equipment to identify potential weak points and develop backup solutions. Hardware failures and shipping mishaps resulting in damaged items are not uncommon occurrences.

To minimise downtime, we always have backups readily available during setup. This allows us to quickly swap out any problematic equipment and get the activation up and running smoothly. Nothing is more frustrating than an activation experiencing downtime or, worse, having to be cancelled.

For instance, in a recent Telstra activation featuring a touch screen game, we had media player computers on standby, ready for immediate deployment if needed. Having accessible storage for backup equipment in strategic locations can make all the difference in a successful brand activation campaign. It ensures quick recovery from on-site problems and helps overcome unexpected obstacles caused by third-party equipment failures or accidents.

When deciding where to position your equipment and backups, I highly recommend considering the following factors:

  • Proximity to your power source
  • Accessibility to your back-of-house area
  • Coverage of your on-site Wi-Fi network

It is evident that long distances from power sources and Wi-Fi coverage can lead to logistical challenges. Similarly, having a back-of-house area located far away can also create issues. Inadequate storage for backup equipment often results in storing it in overflow structures, far from the activation site, which can lead to extensive downtime if that equipment is suddenly required.

By prioritising strategic integration, proper backup storage, and considering key location factors, you can ensure a seamless and successful brand activation campaign that overcomes any obstacles that come its way.

Organise back-ups and adequate on-site storage for this equipment

3. Learn about the site layout and requirements early and plan accordingly

Start the planning process early by having discussions about the site layout, access policies, and necessary permits. Take a reconnaissance visit to the site to gather important information about its characteristics. Ask the right questions, covering everything from wiring diagrams and power to internet connectivity, vehicle access, and OHS policies.

Learn about the site layout and requirements early and plan accordingly

Before heading to the site, make sure to tag and test your equipment in your studio. Ensure that all your electronics comply with the standards of your country. Successful activations require meticulous planning.

For instance, during the FIFA Women's World Cup, we meticulously navigated through all the red tape and completed the accreditation processes well in advance. FIFA had strict protocols in place, allowing only authorized personnel on site. We needed full access to conduct hardware testing, configuration, user acceptance testing, and environmental testing. Attention to detail was crucial; any oversight could have resulted in critical access issues.

Similarly, for the Mastercard Mobile Scavenger Hunt during the Australian Open, we scouted the locations and conducted on-site testing. Each stage was interlocked, and any failure would have impacted the entire user experience. Through rigorous testing, our traveling activations achieved success at each FIFA venue. By prioritising thorough planning and testing, we ensure seamless and impactful activations.

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