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Addictive Activations for Intangible Brands & Products

Adapted from the Event Marketing Summit presentation by Esurance’s Chris Lee and GMR’s Dave Mullins. GMR also took home two experiential marketing awards during the conference.


It’s never enough to just show up: brands that activate at live events need to add something to the audience’s experience that not only makes that experience better, but says something about the brand.

For intangible brands—brands whose offerings can’t be bought on a shelf or delivered to your doorstep, or who may not even have a physical presence like storefronts or sales reps—the challenge is even greater. They lack visibility. They can’t deliver instant gratification. And they’re hard for consumers to quickly understand and to trust.

Intangible brands have to work even harder to dimensionalize themselves in the live event space, but it can definitely be done—and done well.

5 Keys for Intangible Brands


You have all of 6 seconds to grab a person’s attention, so spectacle is a good way to make that grab count. It also drives memorability and plants the seed of interest, which helps propel your audience through the next couple steps.


Keep it simple by focusing on a single, core attribute of your brand or positioning. This is especially important in the event. Simplicity aids memorability and, when delivered clearly and directly, will give your audience a reason to believe.


Humans are social creatures, so you need some element of your campaign to personify the brand, even in a metaphorical way, so people have something to connect to. Whether it’s a digital interaction with a mascot or live interaction with some really engaging brand ambassadors, adding a human (or human-like!) element dimensionalizes the brand and builds trust.


Consistency authenticates the brand and builds a legacy impression. And it applies not just within an event, but between events and across the whole marketing mix. If you want people to know, understand, trust, and like who you are, be consistent about the story you’re telling.


Customer + customization, of course! There’s a lot of value in recognizing, accommodating, and appealing to the individual within a larger scale offering. A personal/personalized experience helps break down barriers and makes your brand more approachable, which is especially valuable for intangible brands.

You might also enjoy another of our Event Marketing Summit presentations: 14 Ways to Use a Hashtag.

Miss Our Speakers?

GMR's Event Marketing Summit presentations also included:

5 Ways to Engage Sports Fans Through Event Technology
 Bryan Rasch,Chief Digital Officer (GMR)

14 Ways to Use a Hashtag
 Bryan Rasch,Chief Digital Officer (GMR)

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