The phrase essentially refers to the process of making your brand known to people, increasing awareness and engagement through some kind of brand experience.
Think about when you first start a business. Nobody knows who you are and they sure as hell aren’t aware of your brand. Your brand is effectively lifeless. Dead. And it needs to be ‘activated’ before it can be of any use.
But it doesn’t just apply to new brands. If a business wants to rebrand itself it can’t just make a few changes and hope people notice. It needs to go through the process of switching people’s minds over to the new brand and making them aware of it.Isn’t that just brand marketing?
Sort of, yes. Except it specifically refers to the process of getting your brand from one state to another, better, state. Whereas brand marketing is the all-encompassing ongoing process of promoting and maintaining your company’s brand.
I’m a writer, so excuse me while I attempt a metaphor. If your brand is a cold and lifeless lump of coal in the dark, brand activation is the firelighter that makes it burn hot and bright for all to see. Or something…
With me so far?
Perhaps it would be helpful to look at a few examples of brand activation and the different types of activities it might involve.