The Power of Celebrity
Whether it’s the Prime Minister or John Legend, celebrities have the power to compel audiences to pay attention. They garner headlines and carry enough weight to lift a brand’s reputation from near-obscurity to super-stardom; the price to pay for this power can be an enormous one.
But, that’s not to say it is impossible to leverage a celebrity for your brand. At Veritas, we understand the power of celebrity, and can provide the counsel to find the right one that aligns with your brand’s values, and communications goals. Investing in a substantial budget that covers a celebrity’s fee can also lead to coverage in all the major news outlets, more than doubling the return-on-investment. But the alignment must make sense. We also have a proprietary scoring method that helps us identify celebrity influencers, as partnering with the right one is crucial for success.
And not every campaign requires a celebrity – the decision to involve one depends on the brand’s objectives and may be table stakes if securing mass national coverage is a big part of the program’s KPI (key performance indicator). Other influencers/spokespeople may also be involved, with a major celebrity as the anchor from which stories can emanate. As the media landscape in Canada has changed, bringing in a celebrity form another market (i.e. the US) can help bolster national interest.
Some key points when considering a celebrity for brand endorsement:
- Has he/she represented a similar brand before?
- Does this celebrity’s audience match the product or brand’s target audience?
- Does his or her cultural values align with those of the brand?
The celebrity endorsement must feel authentic, otherwise the campaign will fall flat even before it has launched. An athlete may not be the best fit for a makeup brand, unless it is for a new, ultra-long wear waterproof mascara – but even that can still be a stretch. That’s why Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga have become familiar faces in the beauty industry – their current alignments with top beauty brands resonate with the audiences they are trying to reach (and help to drive further purchase).
With the cult of celebrity that surrounds us as evidence, celebrities help sell products subliminally or directly because they inspire consumer confidence. Having a celebrity onboard magnifies the effect of any campaign.
It’s a simple marketing formula that works, but must be done thoughtfully and with purpose, as celebrity endorsement is not the only element that drives the success of a marketing campaign. It joins other public relations tactics to drive awareness and purchase, and can be easily integrated with other communications tactics in market (i.e. social media strategies, ad buys, TV/online ads, etc.).
But when it comes to media relations, a well-known celebrity can create a halo of opportunities. The right celebrity can open doors to plentiful interviews and show appearances that might otherwise need to be paid for. Investing in a celebrity from the outset can outweigh the cost of steep brand partnership fees that are now becoming a regular part of media conversations.
As newsmakers, it’s tough to keep track of the numerous publications and blogs worldwide dedicated to covering the movements of Hollywood royalty and pop superstars. The divorce of Brangelina and the aftermath that ensued stayed in the news cycle for weeks. From coast-to-coast, rabid followers regularly tune into entertainment shows, while others check-in with favourite pop culture idols on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Celebrity tracking has become as common as weather tracking for the next 14-day forecast. At Veritas, we also take note of the celebrities who do align themselves with brands, monitoring their success (and failures) to refine our influencer partnership strategies.
This article was written by Account Director and Media Relations Guru, Deane Code. For more, visit @VeritasComm on Twitter.