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Brand Activation Manager: Job Description, Salary, & More

If you have a background in sales or marketing and you want to fire up a brand’s marketing strategy with lots of creativity, becoming a brand activation manager might be the best career choice for you. On the flip side, if your brand could use some extra creative marketing energy, a brand activation manager might just fill that void. In this post we’ll outline what a brand activation manager is, what it takes to shine in the role, and what options are available in the market  right now.

What is a Brand Activation Manager?

The most important part of being a brand activation manager is dreaming up the best brand activation campaigns to promote new products or boost your brand’s image in a more general sense. Brand activation means different things to different companies, but its goal is, most simply, to introduce consumers to a new brand (or to a new release from a well-known brand) in a memorable way that associates the specific products with a positive experience as seen in the example below.

BOS Iced Tea produced this video following one of their successful brand activation “projects”, in which brand ambassadors dressed as giraffes and biked around an urban area handing out cans of their Rooibos tea.

This creative urban brand activation campaign by our favorite South Africa-based iced tea brand, BOS, looks like a ton of fun, but there was a lot of planning behind the campaign that helped distribute BOS cans in a way no city goer would soon forget. To learn more about brand activation campaigns, check out this post that dives into 24 different examples.

Obviously, marketing success to this scale doesn’t happen by accident.  Enter: the brand activation manager. For a company that has ambitious marketing goals and wants to push new products to larger and larger audiences as their brand grows, the brand activation manager position is a necessity; it keeps all of the moving parts in line.

A brand activation manager takes marketing to the next level in a way that a traditional marketing team simply doesn’t have enough time or scope to accomplish. In this post we outline what makes this position important, the qualifications of a good brand activation manager, and throw in some bonus info like average salary and sample interview questions at the end.


What do they do? 

Brand activation managers’ responsibilities fluctuate from company to company, but the list below sums up some of the most popular and necessary tasks performed in this role. 


      • Create a "brand activation plan" 

Brainstorm reasons why consumers might want to engage with your product, and the create a detailed timeline that shows how you’ll get them to engage in that way. This plan should help to guide the entire marketing team through the complete process of executing on that specific campaign.

It’s the brand activation manager’s responsibility to orchestrate the campaign, so this plan could include things like “select theme and giveaways” near the beginning of the campaign, and “call vendors the day prior to the event to ensure things are set up” leading up to a specific activation.


      • Build and maintain a calendar of brand activation events for the team 

Beyond creating a plan for one specific campaign, a brand activation manager should create a comprehensive layout of what they expect from the marketing team across the entire quarter regarding campaigns that may or may not overlap or require their attention sporadically.


      • Analyze success of previous campaigns 

The adage “history repeats itself” is also true on a short term scale, and brand activation managers should keep previous campaigns in mind when planning new events to avoid repeating past mistakes.


      • Educate consumers about the product (through brand activations) 

Being such a prominent face at the helm of brand activations requires a manager to have a keen understanding of the exact product or service that is being promoted. Although it seems rudimentary, lack of basic knowledge relating to the brand while interacting with customers during the process of the activation puts a damper on the whole operation.


      • Travel frequently for activations (travel expected 30-50% of the time) 

Brand activations are not a one-man show by any means. Because a number of elements must be coordinated through outside vendors, brand activation managers need to travel frequently to round up all of the moving parts necessary to keep their show on the road. Some of these critical elements include any catering that might be necessary, finding a venue willing to support a brand activation of the desired size, and any building that needs to be done to create decor or eye-catching props.


<GoGo squeeZ Goodness Machine from MKG on Vimeo.

GoGo SqueeZ’s Goodness Machine campaign involved a large contraption that parachuted applesauce pouches to young consumers.

Although this brand activation by GoGoSqueeZ was a hit with pint-sized customers, this activation required the construction of an enormous applesauce-shaped interactive toy and the legal permission to launch applesauce at young children in a public park. These obstacles mandate careful attention and maneuvering by a brand activation manager. 


What does it take? 

Not all brand activation managers are created equal. However, most qualified applicants for this type of position share these common qualifications:

        • Four years of experience in a related field (generally marketing or sales)
        • Ability to stand for long periods of time
        • Ability to commute (drivers license)
        • Bachelor's degree (communications, marketing, business)
        • Proficient with the Microsoft Office Suite
        • Confident public speaker

What does the salary look like? 

Because certain companies tackle brand activations in different manors, brand activation managers are compensated for their work in ways that reflect the type of method their brand uses to tackle large scale marketing.We gathered some payment statistics from Glassdoor to hone in on a ballpark estimate for some of the compensation types.

For brands that pay hourly, the brand activation managers can expect anywhere from $12 to $24 each hour. There’s an even wider variation present in salaried brand activation managers, and depending on the employer, an employee in this role can expect anywhere from $30K to $101K.

Finally, if a brand is interested in a specific campaign that requires work for a temporary period of a few months, they might choose to pay their brand activation manager an average of $2K to $4K on a monthly basis.


What positions are on the market now? 

If you think becoming a brand activation manager will be the perfect next career step for you, check out postings on sites like Linkedin, Glassdoor>, and Indeed right now. You’ll be sure to find a role you love -- and because each position is unique, there’s plenty of room for you to make creative campaigns that bring your brand to life and add to your portfolio along the way.


Whether you’re a future brand activation manager looking for the next opportunity to show your stuff or a hiring manager hunting for some new talent, check out these sample interview questions to gain some insight into what it takes to be a qualified candidate.

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Sara Mack

Sara is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly and is excited to help brands grow. Sara is studying Public Relations and Environmental Analysis and Policy at Boston University, which basically just means she could talk about climate change and plant-based recipes all day long. She is passionate about lions, the clarinet, and her Mickey Mouse slow cooker.

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