5 summer contest ideas to increase brand awareness

Posted in: Events,Ideas for your websiteLast update: 19/06/19

Summer time is high season for marketers. Why? Because your audience has more leisure time to spend browsing social media, shopping online, and connecting with your brand! Try these 5 summer contest ideas to raise your profile and increase brand awareness online.

Unless your business is already a household name around the world, you probably want to increase brand awareness. Although it might sound like another piece of marketing jargon, brand awareness actually translates into real benefits – like increased sales, a positive reputation, and word-of-mouth recommendations from customers.

And summer is the perfect time to boost brand awareness. We know that social media use increases in summer, as people have more leisure time, vacation days, and photos to share. But not all brand awareness is created equal. In other words – how can you raise brand awareness in a positive way? Check out our summer contest ideas below.

Let’s dive in!

1. Photo contests to collect summer memories

People are already going to share their photos of summer days at the beach, weekend brunches, and far-away sunsets. The trick is to persuade them to share with your brand.

One way to do this is a summer photo contest. Create a public gallery where people can post their photos, share with others, and even vote for their favorites.

Images taken from a summer photo contest. A gallery shows a selection of 6 holiday photos; for example, people playing at the beach, or a view of some mountains. An inset screenshot from a mobile phone shows the homepage of the contest, explaining the rules and how to enter.

In exchange, you’ll have access to all those images – plus contact details from everyone who signed up. Make sure you offer a choice prize as an incentive.

To increase brand impact, you could give away one of your own products as the prize, ask people to take photos at your location, or set a contest theme.

This is especially popular if your brand targets kids or young families. Parents will be grateful for any activity that keeps their kids happy, busy, and outdoors!

Banner from a summer photo contest for kids. Against a green background, the title "What's in my back yard?" is written in blue and orange. The contest invites children to post photos of invasive species they spot in their local area throughout the month of May. They could win a cash prize for their youth group or school class.

Click here for more summer contest ideas for kids!

2. Mention + hashtag contests to boost your social media

There are other ways to run photo contests, depending on your brand awareness goals. If you want to collect more leads, or include children in the contest, then a photo app like the one above is a great place to start.

But what if your goal is social media buzz?

A mention + hashtag contest is the perfect solution. Your followers share their photos on Instagram or Twitter, and tag the post with your @brandmention and #brandhashtag.

Mobile screenshot from a summer mention and hashtag contest. The title reads, "Win a dream holiday". Users can win a 5-night holiday for 2 people in Dubrovnik when they share photos from the hotel brand on Instagram. A counter shows that 459 people have entered so far.

It’s a win-win for everybody. Your followers get to share all those gorgeous photos with their friends – and you get your brand name plastered all over social media.

4 examples of Instagram posts in the summer mention and hashtag contest. They show photos of a young man standing on a cliff above a coastline; a young woman in a bikini sitting on a deckchair; a row of deckchairs beside a swimming pool; and a row of beach umbrellas beside the beach.

What’s more, you can collect all those posts into a single gallery. Just like in a classic photo contest, people can use the gallery to view, share, and vote on the different contest entries.

Image gallery from the summer mention and hashtag contest. Here, we see the same photos that were posted on Instagram, collected into a single gallery where people can view, share, and vote in the contest.

3. Summer-themed surveys and quizzes

When it comes to online promotions, we like to quote the famous BBC slogan: “inform, educate, and entertain”.

A quiz or survey is the perfect way to educate shoppers about your brand and products, while giving them a fun way to pass the time.

Take this example from a flight-booking service and travel agency. They created a fun, multiple-choice quiz for potential customers.

Banner of a summer-themed survey. The image shows some small, tree-covered islands set against a bright blue sea and sky. The text below reads, "Which Thai island should you visit? With so many incredible islands in Thailand, picking one for your next trip can be tricky. Take our quiz to find out which Thai island best suits you!" A blue and white button reads, "Let's start!"

Depending on each participant’s answers, they got a personalized holiday recommendation with a quick link to book flights.

2 mobile screenshots from a summer quiz. In the first screenshot, there is an image of a pineapple cocktail set against a pink sunset background. The question reads, "Your evening drink of choice is". Users can pick one of four answers. In the second screenshot, there is an image of palm trees at sunset. The text below reads, "The island you should explore is Koh Samui!" Users can follow a link to book flights, or click a button to share their results on social media.

This type of summer contest is especially effective for brands which find it hard to connect with customers. If you’re a B2B brand, or just not very photogenic, then a quiz can help spread your message in an accessible way.

Here’s an example par excellence: a brand of flea and tick treatments for pets. It doesn’t sound very pretty, right?

But they still managed to raise brand awareness and educate their target market with a timely quiz about the risks of summer tick season.

Mobile screenshot from a summer quiz. The main image shows a young dalmation puppy. The text explains that users could win a $25 gift card if they answer questions about tick season correctly.

Even if people didn’t get the answers right, the quiz was packed full of information to help them out. It was a great opportunity to offer introductory discounts and encourage people to try the product.

Example of a question from the summer tick season quiz. The image shows a photo of a tick. The text describes a specific type of tick, and users have to select the correct name for this type from 3 options.

4. Spread the word with refer-a-friend contests

Remember what we said earlier in this piece: one shortcut to brand awareness is tapping into things your customers are already doing. Use your followers’ behavior to come up with summer contest ideas that will really appeal to them.

So if they like to share photos, give them a photo contest. If they like to test their knowledge, run a quiz. And if they share reviews and recommendations with friends… It’s time for a recruiter contest.


Banner and mobile screenshot from a summer recruitment contest. The main banner image shows two people scuba-diving together. The overlay text reads, "Invite your friends and win an adventure camera. You will always remember Costa Calida." The mobile screenshot displays the competition rules, and invites users to enter the contest or view other entries.

These are also sometimes called refer-a-friend contests, and they couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is create a registration form which asks for the lead info you need – things like email address, location, and shopping habits.

Now the twist. Instead of running a classic prize draw, you offer extra entries to people who recruit their friends to the contest. It’s an easy way to reward word-of-mouth marketing.

5. Liven up your live events

So far, we’ve focused on online promotions that you can run on your website, or share on social media. But what about live events?

Summer is the perfect time to create pop-up shops or run in-store events. It’s also an important time for concert venues, festival organizers, expos, conferences, and awards ceremonies.

So… wouldn’t it be great if you could liven up those events with live giveaways and prize draws? To kick off the summer campaign season, we’ve created a new app that does exactly that. Watch the video to learn more about how it works.


Want even more summer contest ideas? Visit our campaign hub to get free social media templates, case studies, and ideas for your specific vertical.

Corinna Keefe

English copywriter at Easypromos marketing team