Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.
Not so long ago, companies who wanted to sell their products hired authentic experts in the actual field they were trying to promote—authority figures, frequently acclaimed researchers or authors with advanced academic or medical degrees, who seemed incorruptible, ethical and thoroughly reliable. These experts possessed a high degree of credibility, and their own notoriety rubbed off on the brands they endorsed either blatantly or subtly. They were, and many still are, powerful influencers of human behavior.
The explosive growth of social media has brought about a revolution and those dependable credentialed “spokespersons” have been joined by a chorus of independent voices without traditional credentials whose power is consistent with their social media numbers. Called “influencers,” their power is traceable to the number and influence of their followers.
There are different categories of influencers but none of them have the reach and media appeal of celebrities. To look as good as possible, stars are often very involved in their health.
Frequently, they are passionate about products, social or political issues, local roots, etc.
These individuals are absorbed in their various interests. If there is a connection with your product, let them know. They want to know…Don’t make the mistake of overlooking their power, thinking they are not interested or not contacting them because you don’t know how.
Smart brand managers pursue celebrities for third-party endorsements to tap into their core audience, the same way journalists’ “endorsements” are constantly sought after.
Things are not always as they seem, or as we think they are. The old saying “perception is reality” continues to ring loud and clear. While how we describe ourselves is still important, when a celebrity publicly shares that he or she uses and recommends your brand, consumers really believe it–and sales figures prove it.
The “right” celebrities are seen by your customers as solid, dependable sources of information. When they are liked and respected they are seen as friends, and who do we listen to as frequently or as closely as our friends? We admire celebrities and we want to be and look just like them. Who is more influential than those we see as having the lifestyles we want? Research shows that consumers believe that “deep down they are just like us.” Celebrities give us advice we trust and can rely on. We aspire to live like the rich and famous and the rich and famous aspire to be perceived as smart, savvy, healthy, fit and caring individuals who take care of their family and friends.
If a celebrity does it, why wouldn’t you try it?
Consider these recommendations:
- For your brand, you need to be able to identify who the genuine celebrity influencers are for your target market and with whom do you have commonalities.
- How can you partner with those celebrity influencers? Look for the synergies. Discover where the common ground is and who your brand’s mission blends with, and what they are trying to accomplish. Use this to your advantage.
- What are the incentives that will resonate so they lend their support to your brand? Many relish the opportunity to gain even greater notoriety and would be happy to be an ambassador in exchange for the opportunity to obtain added publicity.
- How can you increase sales through a celebrity ambassador program? Many ambassadors would love to increase their own income by selling your product. Develop a system for tracking sales that is based on the ambassadors’ direct referrals. It’s easy for them to get credit if the consumer says your ambassador sent them.
And celebrities are accustomed to free things. Fashion, accessories, beauty products and services, cars, travel and more. Seeding starts with identifying the right celebrity and having a product or service that genuinely appeals to their hearts and minds. Few brands can come up with the million-plus funds for a formal endorsement deal. The reality is that celebrities need to show their influence to get those endorsement deals and they are willing to tout support of more brands than they get paid to tout to keep their credibility.
If their entire lives are sponsored, the sponsorships lose their impact. Even when it comes to the Kardashians. They take very good care of themselves and no matter who you are that is not always easy. It requires constant research. They are always looking for the next best thing to make them look and feel their best. They may not pay for it, but they don’t always get paid to use it.
Here are tips for getting your product in the hands of the right celebrity:
Seeding – They need to try it to like it. Don’t be shy about sampling; the cost of goods is far less than an endorsement deal. You’d be surprised how many celebrities will openly thank you for a gift on social.
Get personal – Why are you selecting this particular celebrity? Let them know why you think they will like the product or service, don’t assume it’s obvious.
Create opportunities – Celebrity use means nothing if no one knows about it. While they may not pose for an ad or do an interview without getting paid, if you have proof of a celebrity user, you need to alert the media. Remember, celebrity publicists are looking for positive coverage for their clients.
Find a cause – Most celebrities are aligned with charities. Smart brands can find their way to celebrities through their causes as long as they are relevant.
Be realistic – You can literally shoot for the stars but don’t dismiss the up-and-comers. They are likely looking to make a name for themselves and you will have a loyal celebrity fan as their careers develop.
Cultivate a cult following – Celebrities have a tight circle of friends they share their likes with. Getting one celebrity follower can lead to others.
Be persistent without pestering – Don’t forget to follow up, but do give celebrities and their handlers some time to respond. And if you get rejected, move on. There are many more influencers to work with.
Getting a celebrity on board is a luxury that can catapult your brand to stardom but the only way to get there is through publicity. It’s critical to have a PR campaign in place to spread the word about your celebrity followers or it won’t have an impact on your bottom line.