Brands Avoid Entanglement with Societal & Political Issues by using Celebrity Marketing

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Brands with clear standpoints on political issues open themselves up to losing consumers who disagree.

Celebrity marketing allows brands to appeal to a wide variety of people and remain neutral on societal issues. Using a celebrity that is respected and well-liked will generate widespread appeal for a brand.

In a very polarized political climate, brands that make their political values clear in their marketing and branding lose a considerable amount of consumers and brand fans that fall on the other end of the spectrum.

Celebrities are the best way to stay away from societal issues and ensure brands gain and retain consumers.

A study done by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and research firm SSRS showed that consumers don’t like when brands focus their branding around societal and political issues. 58% of respondents reported feeling this way.

The 2017 Super Bowl, just a few weeks after President Trump’s inauguration, was filled with commercials that contained political messages.

84 Lumber’s 90 second spot regarded the controversial topic of immigration. It showed the story of immigrants traveling from Mexico and entering through a door in the wall President Trump has discussed building to keep out illegal immigrants.

Seeing as it was focused on such a divisive issue, the ad and the brand received a strong negative response from many people.

Not only do consumers have opinions about what brands’ political beliefs are, they take action and desert brands they disagree with.

A survey conducted by Ipsos, a market and opinion research company, revealed that 25% of consumers admitted that in the past three months they had boycotted a brand because its political leanings contrasted with their own.

With the data the survey provides, it’s safe to conclude that the backlash that 84 Lumber received on social media translated into lost consumers. By so distinctly showing their values in this ad they set themselves up to lose potential business from a massive amount of people.

The survey included 28 different brands. Amongst them were Uber and Nordstrom, both who took politically charged actions in the months prior. Uber, by lowering prices during an airport taxi strike that was in protest of Trump’s immigration ban, and Nordstrom, by pulling Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their stores. Both brands saw over 30% boycott rate from the opposing side.

Comcast and Intel were included in the survey as well. It was revealed that they were two of the brands that were mainly unscathed in the minds of consumers.

Both Brands have partnered with celebrities in that past, allowing them to achieve likability and respect from the masses and avoid political topics.

Intel has long partnered with “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons. In March 2017, they released an ad featuring him and LeBron James, two very well-liked celebrities. Comcast has worked with Sofia Vergara, Taylor Swift, Cole Hamels and Matt Ryan to construct a positive and non-controversial image.

Both brands were able to avoid boycotts by using celebrities to cultivate a good public perception.

photo credit: Ian Freimuth via Flickr

How to Reach Multiple Demographics with the Same Campaign through Influencer Marketing

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Big brands have led the way in using a wide range of micro-influencers to reach a variety of consumers.

Having a single campaign activated across numerous influencers allows brands to access more than just the typical, narrow target market. Strategically using influencers that impact a variety of populations can allow campaigns to reach far beyond the usual scope.

Rather than using a large number of influencers who have followings with similar characteristics, brands can use influencers with extensively different backgrounds whose followings are diverse. This allows brands to use the same central campaign to connect with a larger sphere of people.

Here are a few brands who have successfully executed this approach.

Walmart

In spring 2017, Walmart launched its “Fight Hunger Spark Change” campaign in partnership with Feeding America. Their goal was as many donations as possible to secure meals for hungry Americans. Walmart used 7 influencers on Instagram to spread awareness for the cause and increase donations.

A charitable cause as broad as this one could be taken up by a massive array of people from all different backgrounds. Walmart mimicked this through their use of a mixture of influencers. From professional soccer player Sydney Leroux to YouTube personality and cook Rosanna Pansino to professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, Walmart covered a broad spectrum of influencers.

The result was a huge engagement rate of 23% and raised $1.5 million.

Axe

Axe partnered with 30 male influencers for their “Find Your Magic”campaign with a goal to break the cycle of toxic masculinity and support men in destroying stereotypes and using hair products.

The Haircare VP of Unilever (the company that owns Axe), Piyush Jain, was quoted in AdWeek saying “this is the first time male influencers from all different walks of life are coming together to inspire guys to start styling.”

Amongst the 30 were actor Josh Peck, cooking channel star Josh Elkin and video gamer Joshua Ovenshire. With just these three celebrities, Axe was able to reach men with disparate interests by involving influencers with an assortment of personalities and fan bases who openly used Axe products on their social channels.

Gap

For their “Styld.by” campaign, Gap partnered with multiple prominent influencers across several categories. They enlisted photographers, writers, singers, models and bloggers amongst others, spanning different cultural backgrounds, races, genders and stages in life.

Each of these influencers posed for photos wearing Gap clothing mixed in with their own pieces showing how they incorporated the brand into their own styles.

The material was posted on several platforms, including Gap’s social channels, the influencers’ personal channels and the online community dedicated to the campaign.  

Using influencer marketing allows brands to extend their target market on a budget and/or create multiple campaigns.

photo credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Updates to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat: What Brands Need to Know for Their Celebrity Marketing

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Big changes are taking place across the major social channels as they compete to one up each other and rise above the rest.

Brands and marketers need to stay up to date and adapt their campaigns based on updates. Social and digital trends change quickly. In order to lead the pack and get the most out of a campaign, brands must stay current and be ready for more change.

Social Media has become an integral part of nearly all marketing campaigns.

Here is what the major social channels are doing next, along with some insight on how these features affect influencer and celebrity marketing.

Facebook

Facebook announced that they’ll be releasing an app for influencers to create videos. The feature will operate with Facebook Live and only be accessible to celebrities, journalists and internet influencers, or any other verified accounts.

Brands can integrate themselves with celebrities in an entirely new way through this feature. Current celebrity endorsement avenues include celebrities posting on their Facebook pages or influencers mentioning products or brands in their YouTube videos. The video creation app combines both, creating a new opportunity for brand and celebrity partnerships.

Snapchat

After receiving a lot of criticism from marketers and advertisers who want to use metrics to assess campaigns, Snapchat has tried to match the other social channels in terms of data and analytics. They released the paperclip tool which allows links to be attached to snaps.

This provides brands opportunity to drive more traffic to their websites and measure how much traffic comes from the ads’ placement on Snapchat specifically. When promoting a brand on Snapchat, celebrities can now include a link to whatever the brand chooses right within the snap.

Instagram

In an attempt to help brands follow the endorsement rules put forth by the FTC, Instagram launched a “paid partnerships” feature. It allows celebrities to clearly mark the posts that feature the partnerships they have with brands.

This feature allows brands to be clear and transparent about endorsements. Using this tool on Instagram will keep brands out of conflict with the FTC.

Social Overall

Across all social media platforms, more tools for data and analytics are being developed. Social channels are accommodating brands’ demands for better marketing outlets and striving to provide the best place for ads.

Using these tools as they are released gives brand marketers opportunity to showcase their campaigns and provides helpful insight for planning future campaigns.

Facebook and Twitter are among channels focusing on live streaming events. This trend is another to follow as it develops. With the decline of TV, this is another potential format for celebrity marketing campaigns to flourish.

 
photo credit: Anthony Quintano via Flickr

Brands Seize Advantage Using Sports Stars to Reach Youth Market via Celebrity Marketing

wheatiesBrands grab the attention of children and adolescents by using pro athletes they idolize for endorsements.

Children are encouraged to “dream big,” and for many of them, that big dream is to one day be a professional athlete. Many kids keep this dream long into adolescence and spend their entire childhood embracing their fandom of these big name athletes. Kids see athletes as super heroes and role models who embody what they hope to accomplish when they grow up.

With that, kids put an enormous amount of weight into what pro athletes say and how they behave. This provides brands with an opportunity to tie their brand to an athlete and reach the youth market.

Perhaps the most iconic of all athlete endorsements belongs to Wheaties Cereal. Since they first partnered with professional baseball in the 1930s, Wheaties has partnered with top athletes to identify itself as the food brand to fuel your body. Children for generations have looked to Wheaties and seen their favorite sports stars grace the front of the box, picking up the product in hopes of achieving the same heights as those pictured.

Another way to effectively reach the youth market with sports celebrities is by having them use the product themselves.

Gatorade used pro athletes to inspire kids and reinforce the idea that they can grow up to be anything they want if they work hard. In their ad campaign Never Lose the Love, they feature Usain Bolt and Serena Williams being cheered on by their younger selves.

By showing kids in the ad, Gatorade is able to relate to children and show them that by drinking Gatorade like these athletes, they one day too can reach the same success.

Even brands that don’t come to mind when thinking of sports can leverage pro athletes. The toy brand Little Tikes used pro athlete Lebron James to reach young aspiring athletes by integrating him into their products and brand.

Little Tikes boasts that LeBron got his start on a Little Tikes hoop and now kids can too. Little Tikes has a range of different products with LeBron’s name and picture. The official partnership is between the brand and the LeBron James Family Foundation, which has a mission to better the lives of children and young adults.

By literally using the face of LeBron James on their products, Little Tikes is able to reach and have an impression on kids who look up to LeBron and want to take the same steps he has taken to success.

photo credit: Mike Steele via Flickr

What Brands Need to Know about FTC Regulations for Influencer and Celebrity Marketing Campaigns on Instagram

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Brands must educate themselves on how to use celebrity marketing in the most effective way that conforms to the rules set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Even though the FTC has cracked down on celebrities and influencers for not explicitly labeling endorsed posts, there is still a huge lack of transparency regarding paid relationships.

In April 2017, The FTC issued a notice reiterating the rules for signposting paid ads on social media. They sent over 90 letters directly to celebrities, athletes and other influencers noting their improperly labeled posts. Even so, a study revealed that during May 2017, 32 of the top 50 celebrities posted some sort of sponsored content and 93% of those posts weren’t signposted correctly.

With changes underway, it’s essential for brands to know what the FTC requires, what social channels are doing to lessen the problem and what brands should do to avoid issues and successfully execute a social influencer campaign.

What the FTC Requires

The FTC Guidelines state any “material connection” between an influencer and an advertiser must be made clear. Meaning if there is any kind of relationship that could affect the way the consumers view the credibility of the post, it must be exposed.

The FTC also instructs hashtags must be easily interpretable. Unclear hashtags like #sp (meant to indicate sponsored post) don’t have a clear meaning to all consumers, causing the material connection to go unnoticed.

Hashtags must also be near the top of the post. On Instagram, text indicating the post is sponsored must be before the “more” button. The info needs to be visible without having to look further to find it.

What Social Channels are Doing

In an attempt to restore clarity and structure to sponsored posts, Instagram has launched a “paid partnership” feature. This allows for influencers to indicate the sponsorship above the post, under their name, in the space where a location is often put.

This will give influencers and advertisers a clear-cut way to disclose paid relationships, leaving ambiguity out of it. The #ad or #sponsored labels and their variations being used now leave more room for uncertainty in some cases.

While Instagram isn’t enforcing use of the feature at this time, it is a step towards stricter regulation and allows brands an easy way to avoid any questioning by the FTC.

What Brands Can Do

It’s best for brands to be diligent and stay up to date on the latest news and requirements from the FTC regarding influencer marketing and not just rely on its agencies. It’s necessary to be aware of the regulations to ensure a brand doesn’t end up damaging its image.

One reason why social media influencer campaigns are loved by brands is because of the genuine and natural way consumers are exposed to brands or products. Some brands fear clearly labeled posts could diminish that effect.

The key to getting around this issue is finding celebrity and influencer partners that make sense. If a partnership is logical, then it will seem authentic and genuine even if clearly labeled as a paid endorsement.

photo credit: Heidi Klum via Instagram

Matching an Influencer or Celebrity Marketing Campaign with the Right Social Channel

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Campaigns reach maximum effectiveness when placed on the social channel that best fits a brand’s goal.

Brands of all sizes and industries have stepped up their use of influencer marketing because of its ability to reach consumers in a genuine and valuable way. Research done by Linqia.com shows that 86% percent of marketers used the tactic in 2016.

Undoubtedly successful, influencer campaigns placed with the right social channel allow brands to optimize their spend. The decision of which social channel to use depends on the broad goal of the campaign according to the points below.

 Audience

Depending on which consumer the campaign targets, one social channel may be better than another. With the extent social networks are integrating into daily lives, people of a variety of characteristics and lifestyles are active on any given channel. However, some channels are still better than others for reaching a certain demographic. Some channels, like Instagram and Snapchat, are used more heavily among millennials while others, like Facebook, are more frequently used by an older audience.

Stride gum used DJ Khaled to promote their Mad Intense Gum. They had DJ Khaled take over the brand’s Snapchat account for two days as a part of the campaign. By using Snapchat, they were able to reach the audience they intended.

Reach

If the goal is impressions and getting the brand seen by as many people as possible, the campaign is best placed on a channel conducive to that purpose. This will depend on the chosen influencer’s following on each channel. In general, Facebook and Instagram currently allow for the largest reach considering that they have the highest amount of active users.

With 121 million followers, Selena Gomez is one of the most followed accounts on Instagram. The fashion company Coach brought her on as a spokesperson in December 2016. She has posted multiple pictures with their products on her account, allowing Coach to reach millions of consumers.

 Engagement

Engagement is a more powerful and intimate tool that focuses on getting consumers to take action. While reach can mean that they just saw an ad, engagement means they acknowledged it and interacted with it; usually by liking or commenting. When matching an influencer campaign with a social channel, choose the social channel where the influencer has the most dedicated and captivated following. Overall, Facebook and Instagram are good for engagement. Snapchat isn’t the best since the content isn’t likable or shareable.

Clinique for Men was able to generate a large level of engagement by partnering with influencers on Instagram. By using ten influencers across different demographics, the brand was able to achieve 3.8 times higher engagement than on their own account. Their products showed up on accounts including professional surfer and photographer Mikey DeTemple’s with 26,600 followers. A bigger influencer they partnered with was the lifestyle blogger and traveler Justin Livingston, with 246,000 followers.

photo credit: stux via Pixabay

 

Viral Celebrity Marketing Campaigns Turn Brands into Cultural Phenomena

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Great celebrity marketing partnerships coupled with creative executions can go viral, launching brands into the cultural spotlight.

Pairing a powerful celebrity with an innovative concept provides the opportunity for brands to catapult themselves into the forefront of culture. In an increasingly digital world, the climate is perfect for brands to match celebrities with clever content and go viral, reaching millions of people through shares and retweets. Campaigns go viral because of the celebrities they feature. Consumers are drawn to interesting, funny, inspiring and captivating video ads that include people that they know and can relate to. Here are three elements of viral celebrity marketing campaigns.

 Entertainment Value

Making a campaign entertaining by putting a celebrity in an interesting situation is what makes ads authentic and enjoyable. It allows the brand to integrate with the content rather than being a tack on. This is what blends the brand with the celebrity and message fluidly, without making it seem too promotional.

Nike’s series of ads with Kevin Hart achieved great popularity. The ads were able to entertain consumers and hold their interest because they told an interesting story. Being released right at the New Year when people set goals to work out, the brand had perfect timing using an adored celebrity to position their brand and product at the center of that cultural moment.

 Cost Effective

Producing video ads can be costly, but placing ads at the right time and place is often extremely expensive. When a celebrity marketing campaign is positioned in the right environment for success the ad can go viral, garnering millions of views simply from initial placement on the brand’s social channels.

Apple music’s partnership with Drake and Taylor Swift is a great example of how taking a loved celebrity, a relatable situation and combining it with a funny execution makes a brand the center of social media. These ads had millions of views within hours of their release. The virality of the ads allowed a larger reach for a much lower cost than an alternative medium.

 Leverage From Social Media

Content recommended by friends has extra pull for consumers. They are more likely to trust, buy into, and like messages shared by friends than those placed by brands. Viral videos passed along through social channels from one user to the next have more credibility. Brands benefit when their celebrity marketing campaigns are those being shared.

KitKat created the perfect circumstance to become a cultural phenomenon with their campaign featuring Chance the Rapper. By partnering with a well known celebrity across their target demographic and creating an interesting ad, they reached a vast amount of people in a meaningful way.

By making an authentically interesting ad based around a celebrity, a brand creates an opportunity for themselves to become a cultural icon.

photo credit: Joe The Goat Farmer via Flickr