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.

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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)

How to Properly Track the Results of Your Celebrity Marketing Campaign

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To maximize ROI, the statistics of a celebrity influencer campaign analyze the impact and aid future learning.

Celebrity influencer campaigns are fast becoming one of the pillars of marketing in many industries and almost all of these happen in the digital sphere. Whether social media activations, streaming events or website ads, the potential for making unique impressions is massive.

Traditional media relied on sources like Nielsen ratings or simply sales figures to tell them how impactful their ad campaign was, but times have changed.

Marketers today need to understand the importance of measuring your campaign’s success, not just through the use of social media analytics. A combination of data streams will provide a much better proof of your methods and can help refine or reinforce a brand’s message.

Here are three ways marketers can properly track results of their campaigns.

1). Treat Social Media Platforms as your Friend, but not your Spouse

At present, many brands receive data for their campaigns from sources that focus on the Big 3 platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These form the backbone of analysis for marketers, but it should not be the only source you rely on.

Diversity of data sources is never a bad thing.

2). Track Real Time Data of Competitors 

Now I’m not advocating you create a corporate espionage division, but public data that details your competitor’s activities can be invaluable to strategizing your brand’s approach to a campaign.

Programs like Rival IQ and quintly are great sources for data.

Say for example your beverage brand wants to break into a community of consumers who love a certain activity. If a competitor already attempted reaching consumers with an influencer and met severe resistance to corporate influence, you can tailor your message or perhaps avoid the space and learn from others.

3). Search Engines are a Treasure Trove

I’m not sure where search engines rank on the all-time best inventions list, but their impact is pervasive. According to SmartInsights.com, a total of 1.2 trillion searches are made each year. To put that into perspective, that’s 164 searches for every person on Earth.

With this much activity, marketers can take advantage of data available from search engines to show how campaigns increased online traffic relating to their products.

Programs like Clicky, Moz, and Google Analytics are the premier sources for this data.

You don’t need a complex analytics degree to properly track the success of your celebrity influencer campaign, you just need to know where to start. If you want to take the gut feeling out of your marketing decisions, quantify choices and increase confidence, look to these programs to increase your ROI.

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Young Olympians Can Teach Celebrity Marketers About Generation Z

Elena Vasileva (flickr)Now that the Olympic stars of the future have arrived, how can they improve marketers’ understanding of the next generation?

The Olympic Games are a unique event in human history, for they bring the world together through the pursuit of excellence and celebration of the human spirit.

These athletes have unprecedented reach and been used for decades in marketing campaigns to represent brands.

However, the Winter Games have been taken over by a new wave of young superstars like Chloe Kim, Red Gerard, Maame Biney, Vincent Zhou, and Nathan Chen. Not surprisingly, the successes of these athletes have almost been overshadowed by their personalities.

Here are two major lessons that these new Olympians can teach celebrity marketers.

The Myth of “Digital Obsession”

We have all heard the critics of Millennials and Gen Z lamenting that the social fabric is being ruined by rampant use of technology. These cliches have become rather toxic.

If there is anything that these athletes are proving, it is that this myth needs to die quickly. Celebrity marketers must meet Gen Z on their level, creating experiences and content that appeal to them.

Chloe Kim dominated the half pipe on her way to a near perfect score, gold medal, and national headlines. But many outlets reported instead that the tweeted her cravings while waiting for her next run.

That is unheard of in Olympic sport. Instead of folding under pressure, she tweeted and showed her composure, then went out and became the youngest gold medal winner in the history of the event.

It would be naive to suggest there was no danger associated with rampant obsession with technology, but celebrity marketers who understand that technology usage by younger generations is not to be feared will be in position to reap the rewards as it becomes embraced as the new normal.

Influencer Personality Doesn’t Have an Age Requirement

A common perception held by some marketing professionals is partnerships with younger influencers are much more volatile and not worth the risk. Young Olympians have already begun to buck this trend.

Simply by qualifying, athletes like Red Gerard, Maame Biney, and Chloe Kim were approached by top brands for sponsorship opportunities and they have been rewarded by their successes.

Generation Z should not be defined by traditional standards of maturity and the need to reach a certain threshold to be an effective influencer. These athletes are still teenagers by any measure.

However, it reinforces the emerging doctrine that influencers should be recruited for the experience they give consumers rather than relying on old endorsement standards.

A 17-year-old who wins a gold medal in a sport they live for, who willing tweets they are hungry for ice cream or chips to calm nerves can be just as impactful with consumers as a more expensive A-lister with less connection to the product.

Partnering with an Olympic athlete can be tricky since they aren’t in the public eye for long periods of time, but young athletes like those mentioned above are the future. Smart marketers and brand agents recognize, even if you do not partner directly with them, that the way these stars interact with the market should be adopted to succeed.

photo credit: Elena Vasileva via (flickr)

 

Esports Fans Crave Celebrity Marketing Through Social Media

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Combining trends of rising social media usage and esports viewership can lead to significant future growth from any brand partnership.

Esports have grown out of its trendy status and are here to stay. What many thought would be a fad has now grown into a worldwide phenomenon and is challenging conventional entertainment giants.

The largest global esports event, The Dota 2 International Championship, was viewed by 40 million people with as many as two million watching at one point. The entire tournament drew 92 million viewers with over 509 million hours of video consumed.

The League of Legends World Championship brought in even larger crowds than Dota’s with a total of almost 58 million viewers, a yearly growth of 34%. The semi-finals drew a total of 80 million unique people watching concurrently. The parent company, Riot Games, boasts that their events feature professionals from 28 different countries, its global audience consuming over 1.2 billion hours of content.

If these events continue to grow at their current rates, it will only be a matter of time before they surpass the Super Bowl, which reaches over 110 million unique viewers.

Similarly, worldwide social media usage has been rising exponentially, with an estimate two-and-a-half billion global users. Users within the 16-34 age demographic spend an average of 3.21% of their day watching social media video like esports. The average age of a US esports viewer lies within the 25-34 age group, making up almost 40% of the total audience. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have begun their scramble to be included in the esports market.

However, it is important to reach these consumers exclusively on social media. Companies like ESPN and NBC are trying to bring esports to television audiences, but esports ratings clearly point to fans’ desire to keep content in the digital sphere. Brands can capitalize on this by seizing the opportunity to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch or even partnering with well-known esports professionals like Lee “Faker” Sang-hyoek, Soren Bjerg, and Yiliang Peng.

Take for example Gillette’s move to announce professional esports gamer xPeke as its Global Brand Ambassador. The Spanish celebrity was featured in first-of-its-kind commercials with esports highlights to promote the partnership and it spread all over YouTube. Gillette also collaborated xPeke with their international superstar partner Neymar Jr. leading to increased exposure for him and esports in general.

Another company, HyperX, decided to endorse a crossover athlete, NBA player Gordon Hayward. This apparel deal showed the early connection between esports and traditional celebrities, with Hayward agreeing to only wear HyperX headsets and appear in campaigns for the brand that is popular with gamers.

Celebrity marketing continues to evolve with the integration of esports into the entertainment sphere. Brands can now reach a sizable market of international consumers through a partnership with talent from prominent esports leagues. Getting in on the action at this point will put brands in a prime position to reap the benefits of larger audiences going forward.

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Celebrity Marketing in Six-Seconds

Six-Second Post

When looking to strike a chord with millennials and Generation Z, six-second advertisements lead the way.

A new form of video storytelling has hit the market. With lower attention spans and increased usage of mobile devices across multiple generations, six-seconds advertisements are the solution.

As brands and agencies prepare for this new era, these six-second video advertisements convey simple messages making immediate connections with viewers. There is a niche gap in the market for six-second media engagements and brands have begun to fill that void.

Although these advertisements were first introduced by YouTube as, “bumper ads,” several corporations have joined the movement utilizing the format. Fox began pushing out six-second advertisements during live sporting events, announcing that they will air nine of these short spots during its Thanksgiving Day NFL game. Prior to this announcement, Fox had been running six-second commercials in NFL games and the World Series. Similarly, AMC has decided to run six-second commercials during this season of the series, The Walking Dead. Facebook has also followed suit, announcing intentions to revamp six-second advertisements on its platform.

Even Twitter wants to join the six-second ad craze. In an effort to produce these short spots, they created, #Fuel. This new service is designed to help advertisers create content specifically for the platform as well as edit videos to conform to the six-second trend.

While six-second advertisements are a fairly new format, they have certainly left an impression already. According to a Google-led study, nine out of 10 six-second advertisements drove recall and 61 percent increased brand awareness.

Viewers want entertainment, innovation and disruption, and six-second spots seamlessly fit the mold. While advertisers continuously look to improve the viewing experience, adding celebrity features as another layer to the mix could be just what they need.

While six-second spots are defining digital presence, celebrities and influencers have already marked their territory in the digital sphere. Because celebrity marketing dominates digital, this “snackable content” elicits a new opportunity for brands to enhance this innovative format. Shorter advertisements certainly engage viewers, but celebrities have the potential to make these spots unforgettable. The combination of powerful celebrity marketing and the allure of six-second advertisements can lead to competitive advantages.

Getting right to the point, six-second advertisements keep viewers tuned in, especially millennials and Generation Z consumers with shorter attention spans. These short spots have the potential to command the digital sphere and further evolve with the inclusion of celebrities and influencers.

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Selling Authenticity with Celebrity Marketing

Authenticity Post

Brands prove successful when trustworthy celebrities endorse their products.

Brands work tirelessly to create strong emotional and truthful connections with their audience. Because consumers connect well with celebrities on an emotional level, brands should select celebrities who carry a recognizable, authentic and credible demeanor.

As social media continues to become a window into the lives of celebrities, brands must work diligently to ensure that their celebrity partner promotes the same authenticity as the brand. Consumers frequently hold the expectation that brands will do more than simply sell a product, but rather work hard to create a trusting atmosphere.

To establish that trusting atmosphere, brands should partner with the right celebrities who can help promote products in the most natural and truthful way.

For instance, blatant and obvious brand advertisements posted on celebrities’ social media accounts do not create strong emotional ties. Consumers see right through these branded endorsements and keep scrolling. However, celebrity postings that integrate a brand’s product organically and convincingly will catch consumers’ attention.

For example, professional basketball player, Kevin Durant, built his relationship with Sparkling Ice on authenticity. Durant, a real life consumer of the zero-calorie carbonated water, was interested in a partnership with the company. As soon as Sparkling Ice caught wind of the Durant’s inquiry, they knew their sponsorship relationship would be a success because their bond was built on genuine, demonstrated interest.

Celebrity and influencer marketing has been rated as the fastest-growing way to grab online customers. Despite this success, marketers need to continually ask questions as the consumer landscape evolves.

What does our consumer base care about? How should we align the brand with those causes? What channels will have the strongest influence?

Although the answers to these three questions are not the same, all three answers address the same topic of authenticity. As brands have the opportunity to connect with consumers, they need to invest in the celebrity who best matches their beliefs as well as their audience.

In adopting the use of celebrity marketing, authenticity and transparency are critical. As information is more readily available in today’s social media landscape, consumers are not afraid to look beneath the surface and confirm that brands are using celebrities with credibility.

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