Embracing Change: Why Celebrity Marketing Looks Beyond Facebook to be Effective

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The growing trends of consumer dissatisfaction with social media privacy is a roadblock that marketers can avoid with the right strategies in place.

For good reason, headlines around the world have been dominated by ongoing problems for the world’s first social media giant. Privacy has always been a concern for consumers but the issue has flared up again with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It is important to understand the nuance behind the issue. Social media companies and corporation have been utilizing data legally obtained from users who sign terms of service for years and it has let to features like micro and geo-targeting.

The current controversy deals with the illegal collection of data through a third-party research firm who violated Facebook’s terms of service and multiple requests for deletion of data. As usual, the optics are terrible despite Facebook’s good intentions, while consumers are growing impatient with the lack of progress in privacy standards.

Not too long ago, people were calling on Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to run for President, now he is being called to testify in front of Congress for his company’s shortcomings.

The advent of social media has been a boon for marketers and advertisers, providing endless opportunities to interact with consumers and tailor brand identities, but anticipating change is a much more universal and time-tested marketing tool.

With this in mind, marketers should be very wary not to have a reliance on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by diversifying their ad spend in other mediums.

Television is a tried and true marketing method and will remain so, but more surprising is the relevancy of audio advertising (radio and streaming) in the age of social media. Studies continue to show that radio is still healthy in the ROI department and streaming will become a global standard with the rise of AI home assistants/speakers.

This does not negate the effectiveness of social media marketing however, but there are plenty other up and coming platforms that marketers should be aware of.

Of course there is Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram (I include Instagram even though they are owned by Facebook due to the lack of personal information needed on the platform). There are many other niche sites that can be used to target consumers; check out this great list from Hootsuite.

Other platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, and LinkedIn are sites striving to protect their marketing integrity and are free of the issues plaguing Facebook. Diversifying your brand’s digital/traditional footprint by moving away from a Facebook monopoly is a great way to insulate your brand from future scandals involving the privacy of consumers.

photo credit: reddit via (giphy)

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What Apple’s Viral HomePod Ad with FKA Twigs Tells Us About Celebrity Marketing

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With the viral success of Apple’s ad for its newest product line, what can brands learn to boost the effectiveness of their celebrity marketing campaigns?

In June of 2017, Apple announced their intention to enter the wireless speaker/AI assistant market with their new HomePod line. It marked a significant new step away from the brand’s identity of traditional hardware, but an acknowledgment of the changing pace of the device marketplace.

However, consumers were already well aware that Apple was lagging behind Amazon and Google in this tech sector, so how did Apple’s marketing strategy combat this?

For nearly two decades, Apple’s brand identity has been centered on music. After all, they invented iTunes which dominated the early digital music market and made the iPod a global phenomenon.

They have stressed that the HomePod will be a “music-first” device and followed up that brand message with an ad/short film directed by Spike Jonze and featuring FKA Twigs that quickly gained viral status.

Here’s what this viral spot tells us about celebrity marketing:

1). Incorporating Celebrities’ Talents Can Elevate a Brand’s Message

Any consumer who watched this short film will immediately remember the old iPod campaigns with silhouette dancers and vibrant color pallets, which we must assume was the intention.

Clearly Apple wanted to continue but modernize their core message. For this they used an Oscar winning director, Spike Jonze and a world-renowned dancer/musician, FKA Twigs.

Many outlets praised the ad simply for the credentials of those involved, which gave consumers an early perception of quality of the spot and the brand.

Celebrities in their natural environments not only produce better quality marketing tools, but it streamlines the planning process by encouraging innovation from the artists.

2). Implementing Cause and Artistic License is a Sure-Fire Way to Success

While maintaining the brand message, creative license was taken to incorporate concepts of dealing with depression. During the film, Twigs uses the music that Apple can provide to overcome her feelings of repetition and despare from her career.

It is important for marketers not to take this element to far however. There is often a fine line between partnering or discussing a cause and taking advantage of it to sell products. Consumers are attentive and do not enjoy faux-cause marketing strategies.

Regardless, there is little doubt that the creative element of the ad has led to its viral success. The colorful set has also driven extra content about the ad on social media. The best ads rarely need pinpoint cooperation to show their value. Seeing the passion of everyone involved to discuss their product proves that the correct creative priorities can reinforce a brand’s message.

3). The Ad Directing Trend is Here to Stay

Add this spot to the growing list of short films that have been produced by Hollywood regulars for various brands. Walmart enlisted the talents of Dee Rees (Mudbound), Melissa McCarthy and Nancy Meyers for an Oscars campaign. Apple is no stranger to using this method having first done a similar project with Ridley Scott in 1984 when launching the Macintosh computer.

This method will only continue to prove its power of innovation in the advertising industry. Brands with short films have received very positive responses and it is a great way to partner with celebrity influencers to make use of their talents.

photo credit: VladJanuary via (flickr)

Part II: Navigating the Pitfalls of Celebrity Influencer Marketing

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Safeguarding your message and having a clear contingency plan can save countless headaches and campaigns.

As in Part I, brands must evolve to have a conscious grasp on the content their consumers want to enjoy. Approaching a partnership from the perspective of the desired audience lends to the authenticity and relatability of the brand.

However, marketers must also keep the worst case scenario in mind, and have a clearly defined plan of action to protect your brand’s assets. Here are two more ways that marketers can avoid the dangers of influencer marketing.

3. Stay in Control of Your Message

Most important for marketers when dealing with celebrity influencers is to remember to maintain control whenever possible. Crises are always hard to accurately predict, but sometimes it may be wiser to turn down a partnership with a slam-dunk influencer that has the potential to rob your brand of its consumer credibility.

No matter how many precautions you take in selecting an influencer, there is always the possibility that a partnership could backfire should a scandal arise. In a scenario such as this, there are questions to be asked:

First, is the character of the influencer damaged enough to damage the brand immediately?

Second, would a continued association be a hindrance to the brand’s message?

Third, has the influencer alienated the desired demographics?

Ending a partnership in the right circumstances has the potential to place you in the good graces of society for taking action. Yet, it could also alienate your consumers should you detach at the wrong time.

Other marketers advocate for a neutral stance on an influencer’s actions and maintaining a partnership throughout a scandal, believing that they will always be valuable for their exposure. Effectively avoiding catastrophe requires a clear crisis management plan that values your brand message ahead of any other factor, and a proactive stance to take the appropriate action.

4. Beef Up Your Brand’s Personality

The amount of access afforded to brands by social media has created a culture of flashy postings like ‘Twitter wars‘ that come to define how a brand is perceived. Utilizing this resource can be a preemptive resource to protect your message from being harmed by an emergency situation.

By infusing comedy or compassion into your brand’s interactions with consumers, you can begin to construct your ideal position in popular culture. In the midst of a public relations crisis, having a brand personality reserves credibility in the minds of consumers and has the potential to alienate the influencer’s bad behavior from your brand values.

Marketers must be aware how much to push the envelope in the content they release,  a topic for another day. Staying proactive is essential in the digital realm and will remove the ability for influencers to hijack your brands message should a crisis arise.

photo credit: Valentin via pexels.com

How Brands Use Influencers & Celebrity Marketing to Appeal to Gen Z

The right celebrity will forever remain an authority figure for a brand’s audience.

When the lifestyle of a celebrity ties in well with a brand, it is very simple for the average consumer to trust a brand and its message delivered by a celebrity.

Brands have been able to thrive off of millennial engagement via traditional celebrity endorsement, whether that is with a sports icon or Hollywood starlet. However, as millennials age, the focus shifts to what appeals to Generation Z: those born between 1996 and 2010.

The current 2 billion that make up Gen Z (27% of the world’s population) are the first to grow up with the internet at their fingertips. These are the individuals that trust the everyday person on social media, rather than the apparent celebrity appearance.

With an average attention span of 8 seconds, Gen Z craves transparency and instant connection to a brand. That is a large reason why Snapchat and Instagram have their highest usage from that age category.

Here are three simple influencer marketing tips to help brands thrive:

  1. Use short video clips

With Snapchat and the recent roll out of Instagram Live, it is simple for an influencer to send out a brief message to their following on a very personal level. With a brief, yet impactful influencer video, your brand can tap into an audience that will respond and trust your message.

Social media influencer Logan Paul has provided brands such as Doritos, Dunkin Donuts, Nike, and Verizon all immense success due to short video blasts. His message is concise, exciting, and immediately grabs the audience’s attention without having to stop for brand recognition. Brand recognition becomes instantaneous, because the videos are lively and provide a direct viewer appeal.

Visual content will always remain more appealing than simple text, especially with Gen Z.

  1. Ensure your brands message aligns with influencer personality

Unlike any other portion of social media users, Gen Z has an innate desire for a personalized experience with a brand. That is why the influencer market is so vast. Young people can immediately associate an influencer with an experience they have had or desire to accomplish.

Therefore, your brand’s message must directly align with the influencer chosen. The influencer doesn’t have to be colossal to have peak brand appeal. Micro-influencers, or those who have a niche in the influencer market, will play an integral role for developing brands in 2017.

These individuals are cheap, can instill immediate trust with Gen Z, and can successfully reinforce the niche appeal of certain brands. When a micro-influencer’s niche can match that of a brand, success is imminent.

  1. Store creative trust in the influencer

An influencer is an influencer for a reason. They either have an interesting quirk, style, or persona that appeals to a massive social audience. Brands will have to relinquish a lot of creative control and allow the influencer to take over.

It may be daunting for creatives to accept, but it’s a reality of influencer marketing. After all, it is the creativity of the influencer that granted their widespread appeal and the brand’s interest in the first place.

The more a brand trusts its influencer, the more the consumer will trust the given brand.

photo credit: www.pexels.com

Celebrity Marketing: Changes for Pages on Facebook Offers New Opportunities for Businesses

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Facebook has been improving its site to make it easier for marketers to reach their consumers.

Since 2007 Facebook has allowed marketers to create their own profiles and over 45 million businesses have them, according to Facebook. But since 2012, Facebook has not made any major updates to marketer’s profiles.

Creating a Facebook page can be very beneficial to companies. According to Facebook, over 1 billion people look at least one Facebook page a month, while the number of people writing to businesses through their pages nearly doubles every year.

One way to attract consumers to business’s page is with the use of celebrities. Facebook has a huge celebrity presence. Many celebrities have fan pages that users can “like”. A celebrity’s pages are a way they can communicate with their fans, talk about upcoming projects, and post pictures. Because of a celebrity’s impact on Facebook, pages that feature celebrities are more likely to be looked at. It is a good idea for businesses to have a celebrity post the link to the business page on their own page. That way businesses can reach new consumers through the celebrities fan base.

One thing businesses need to be wary about before investing time into Facebook pages is the demographic they are trying to reach. A recent study by Business Insider Intelligence showed that teens still use Facebook but they no longer see it as “the most important social network“.  Instead,Instagram has taken this spot. So, if consumers are younger, Instagram might be the better choice for businesses.

5 things you need to know about the Facebook updates:

  1. Facebook is handing out “very responsive badges” for companies that respond to 90% of the messages they receive within 5 minutes. This will help consumers know which companies will respond to their comments and it also shows what businesses really care about your consumers.
  2. Pages can set up e-Commerce shops through Shopify software so that companies can sell directly from their page. Facebook will not take a cut of the profit or limit how many products can be included.
  3. Pages can list the specific services the business provides.
  4. There will be the option to have links on top of the pages that allow consumers to call or message the business.
  5. To make pages more mobile user friendly, there will be tabs on the top of pages where people can go to specific sections instead of having to scroll through the entire page.

photo credit: https://pixabay.com

Digital Celebrities Pull Millennials Away From Movies and Television for Celebrity Marketing

Youtube celebrities

Four reasons to book a digital celebrity for your next marketing campaign.

Knowing which celebrity appeals to your demographic can make or break a campaign. If the celebrity isn’t highly recognizable or influential then they’re not the right person for the brand. So, who are the right celebrities for millennials? You may automatically think Emma Stone or Bradley Cooper, but think again. Digital celebrities, such as Youtube stars, may be a better spokesperson for your brand.

Traditional TV viewership by 18-24 year-olds has dropped about 32 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to a study by Nielsen and analyzed by MarketingCharts. That decrease in TV viewers has resulted in an increase in social media users. Viewers ages 13-24 watch an average of 11.3 hours of “free” online video content per week compared to 8.3 hours of regularly scheduled TV, according to a 2014 study by Defy Media.

Here are 4 reasons why millennials admire digital celebrities and why the online celebrities are a better option for certain brands:

Digital celebrities are more relatable: According to the Defy Media study, 67 percent of millennials stated digital outlets deliver content they can relate to versus 41 percent for TV. Viewers get a look in to the everyday lives and personalities of digital stars; they see where they live, meet their families, and learn their hobbies. This makes digital stars less distant and more personable than celebrities that are only seen on the big screen.

Digital celebrities are more accessible: You can’t really take a quick break to watch an entire movie but you can for a six second video. With over 85 percent of millennials owning smartphones (Nielson), it is incredibly easy for social media celebrities to have their work reach a large number of viewers. The celebrities themselves also become more approachable than traditional celebrities by sharing authentic content on platforms with user interaction.

Digital content is basically free: You don’t need a monthly subscription to Netflix, movie pass, or ITunes gift card to enjoy these celebrities’ work; all you need is a computer or smartphone. Digital stars shine on social media platforms, such as Youtube, Instagram, or Pinterest, which are all free to use.

Digital celebrities have greater influence: If millennials are more frequently exposed to digital celebrities’ content and feel as though they genuinely connect to their personalities, the celebrities are more trustworthy and believable. In fact, the Defy Media study found that 63 percent of all respondents said they would try a product or brand recommended by a YouTube personality, while only 48 percent stated that TV and movie star powers had influence, regardless of age.

photo credit: Zoe Sugg, Caspar Lee & Joe Sugg via photopin (license)

Celebrity Marketing: Adding An Athlete Can Improve Your Brand’s Bottom Line

Stephen Curry for Degree

Stephen Curry for Degree

Three interesting facts and tips about athletes and endorsements.

Choosing the right one

Choosing an athlete for your brand is one of the more difficult parts of celebrity marketing.  Brands look for different characteristics in athletes both on and off the field.  On the field characteristics generally speak for themselves; anything to do with skill level, performance, potential ability, or style of play all help brands make a decision on which athlete they want to use for their campaign.  As a result many brands look to sign players with the potential to become the next superstar.  For example, Steph Curry signed a variety of deals with multiple brands as he started to emerge as an NBA talent. Then, in 2015, Curry won the MVP and the NBA Finals, making him infinitely more valuable to brands.  The brands who signed him prior to his breakout season benefited immensely from this.

Another important aspect to consider when signing athletes to deals is their off the field qualities.  Things like their personality or charisma, how well they interact with fans, their looks, and their background are all important.  A good example is David Beckham, who ticks off all the good measurables from that list. Combined with the fact that he is a world class player it is no wonder Beckham is such a sought after name in the advertising industry.

Finally, it is important to consider how the athlete is viewed by the targeted audience. Ensuring that the sport is popular in the campaign’s region and making sure the demographic in question likes the team the athlete plays for are both important things to consider when choosing an athlete.

Adds 4% to sales

Athletes can bring plenty to the table in terms of success. A study by Harvard Business School concluded that athletes bring in up to 4% more in sales than other celebrities.  This number may sound relatively small but it translates to gains of over 10 million dollars annually.  In addition, this study also concluded that an athlete’s performance over time goes hand in hand with sales.  For example, if a player wins a championship, the amount they bring in for the exact same promotion or ad rises.

How much the athletes make

A contributing factor in signing an athlete to a brand is the endorsement money.  This is one area that athletes are especially keen on.  This is because endorsements tend to make athletes much more money than their typical salary.  According to a study by Forbes, LeBron James makes 53 million dollars from endorsements, compared to only 19 million from his salary and winnings.

photo credit: Degree/Unilever (Disclosure: Unilever is a Burns Client)