How to Avoid and Respond to Celebrity Marketing Efforts Gone Wrong

kathy griffin

Take precautions before partnering with celebrities and react appropriately if an issue arises to limit being associated with controversy.

Every element of marketing brings a level of risk. Celebrities are no different. They have passionate and engaged fans, large followings, and high credibility—all of which they can transfer onto brands. However, when a celebrity has a mishap, the public’s perception of the celebrity can instantly change, and when that happens, the associated brand also takes a hit to its reputation.

Here are a few steps companies can take to greatly reduce the risk or minimize the consequences to their brand.

Conduct Research and Recognize Red Flags

It’s important to take a deep dive beforehand to find out as much as possible about the celebrity’s past. Understanding the celebrity’s character will allow for better insight into how they may behave. Brands must look for any signs indicating that the celebrity could be on the verge of controversial behavior. While these things can be hard to foresee, conducting thorough research will greatly reduce chances.

Predict the Good and the Bad

When looking at a potential celebrity partner, it’s critical for brands to evaluate areas for opportunity but also areas of potential concern. By anticipating what may happen, brands give themselves a good way to determine whether they think a partnership is right for them by comparing the conceivable good outcomes with the imaginable negative outcomes.

Decide Whether to Continue the Partnership

Depending on the severity of the celebrity’s mistake, waiting out the initial public outrage might be better in the long run. The brand must also keep their brand identity at the core of the decision making process. If the celebrity is mentioned negatively in the media but didn’t do anything that contradicts what the brand believes, then it may be appropriate to continue the relationship. Another key aspect is to take cues from the public. Seeing how the public reacts will further give brands direction on how to respond.

Squatty Potty decided to end their partnership with Kathy Griffin after she posted a picture of herself holding a replica of a bloody Trump head. The CEO issued a statement saying that what Griffin had done was completely inappropriate and not consistent with the company’s values. They took a strong approach in making sure that the public knew their standpoint regarding the issue.

Strategize How to Fix the Damage Moving Forward

Planning future celebrity endorsement campaigns, implementing PR or ad campaigns, and issuing statements to the public are all things that should be considered.

photo credit: RedCarpetReport via Flickr

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