Selling Authenticity with Celebrity Marketing

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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.

photo credit: geralt via Pixabay.com

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Traditional Media Remains an Optimal Environment for Celebrity Marketing

8625795674_9be45d8f8f_zSocial and digital platforms are increasing in popularity, yet TV, radio and print are still home to some of the most dynamic celebrity marketing campaigns.

While many brands are upping their digital ad spend and taking advantage of the data and analytic tools social media channels are debuting, many brands are still investing deeply in traditional platforms.

These traditional platforms have advantages of their own and remain a powerhouse destination for marketing campaigns. As the use of new media continues to proliferate, traditional media is, at the least, an important supplemental piece to most campaigns.

Here are some of the benefits of using each form of traditional media and some successful celebrity marketing campaigns executed across them.

Radio

Radio and voiceover ads are more cost efficient than ads that run in other media without sacrificing a large reach. Statista found in spring 2016, 54.1% of Americans ages 18-64 listened to the radio each day. This put radio at third on the list of media with the most daily users, behind TV and email.

Buffalo Wild Wings used actor John Goodman, best known for his role in the 1990’s TV show “Roseanne,” to voice radio ads. The brand also released a TV commercial version of the ad, allowing for greater coverage and more recognition across two outlets.

By using a recognizable and strong sounding celebrity voice, Buffalo Wild Wings was able to grab the attention of listeners in key regions they wanted to target.

Print

According to The Association of Magazine Media (MPA), a study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions

showed magazines had the highest average return on advertising spend when compared to display, cross media, linear TV, mobile and digital video.

Aveeno, the skincare brand, has a long running partnership with actress Jennifer Aniston. They have run a variety of different print ads featuring Jennifer in several different publications. Since 2012, the ads have appeared in People, InStyle, Marie Claire, Allure and Elle.

The brand used the medium successfully by executing a long term campaign with different creative across magazines with different readerships.

TV

TV persists as the media platform with the largest daily reach. According to Statista, in spring 2016, 75.5% of US population was exposed to broadcast/cable TV each day.

Pizza Hut partnered with “Saturday Night Live” star, Kristen Wiig for a campaign promoting their brand image as the company that delivers the pizza consumers want, fast.

In the ad, Kristen portrays multiple different Americans all with the same desire of what Pizza Hut can provide. The brand was able to cleverly mimic the diversity of the audience of the medium within the ad, making it relatable to many different consumers who are exposed to it.

The campaign includes a 30 and a 60-second spot supplemented with a radio spot, digital efforts and social media posts, making for a strong 360 campaign.

photo credit: Michele Ursino via Flickr

Resources for Celebrity Marketing: Part One

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The Burns Celebrity Vault is a one-of-a-kind resource that makes the celebrity selection process simpler, easier and more efficient.

When it comes to picking a celebrity for a marketing campaign, the process is not simple. When finding the right celebrity match, a brand must take into consideration things such as cost, celebrity interest, conflicts and many other factors. In order to find the right celebrity, you need a resource that takes all these factors into consideration, and still provides great celebrity options. That’s where the Celebrity Vault comes in. The Celebrity Vault is a state-of-the-art database that has accumulated information on over 25,000 different celebrities from all ends of the spectrum for over 40 years, which makes for a much easier, faster and better celebrity selection process.

The Celebrity Vault contains celebrities from sports, entertainment, music and more. In this case, a “celebrity” is not just the people you always see or immediately think of, but rather anyone who is well-known or has consistently been in the news. This wide definition of a celebrity allows you to find any type of celebrity you could possibly need or want, not just the most obvious ones. Celebrities are then segmented by type such as actors, athletes, age and gender. The exceptional variety of celebrities in the Celebrity Vault means there are plenty of celebrity options for any campaign or budget.

Celebrities are then further categorized by over 700 lifestyle demographics. These demographics can include any type of interesting fact about a celebrity, not just the information you know off-hand. The Celebrity Vault includes the information you would typically ignore, forget or be unaware of, like whether a celebrity collects classic cars, had colon cancer or owns dogs. Whether it is interests, hobbies, charitable ties or health conditions, these lifestyle demographics allow for a much faster and better selection process.

The Celebrity Vault also includes the likely costs of celebrities for TV appearances, speaking engagements and other endorsement opportunities, which allows you to find celebrity options within your budget. No matter your budget, you will likely be able to find a pool of realistic celebrities for your campaign.

The Celebrity Vault is extremely helpful for brand marketers because it can help find a celebrity for even the most narrowly-defined marketing strategies. It makes the process quicker, easier and better for finding the perfect celebrity match for a brand. The wide variety of celebrity options, segmented by over 700 lifestyle demographics, makes sure not to overlook your options when finding the right celebrity.

Why Brands Should Take Celebrity Marketing to Virtual Reality

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Virtual reality is a must-have for those serious about the next wave of digital video.

Virtual reality (VR) puts fans and audiences at the center of the experience, allowing for more engaging and exciting content. From a brand perspective, VR creates many new opportunities to connect with their audience, play into public interest and pull more attention to their message. Brands ready to get on board with this new trend can do so with celebrity marketing.

VR is a three-dimensional, computer generated environment that allows the user to immerse him or herself into a visual world and interact within the environment. With new innovations such as the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard headsets and YouTube 360 degree video, virtual reality allows for immersive, digital storytelling that was not possible only a few years ago. There are many different possibilities for virtual reality, and brands have only just begun to take advantage of it.

Augmented and virtual reality is a big trend, gaining a significant amount of media and public attention. Anything having to do with VR seems to get favorable attention, including apps and YouTube videos. YouTube celebrities such as Casey Neistat and Louis Cole have taken advantage of the trend with 360 degree videos at events like the Oscars and places like Sierra Leone, Africa. Even YouTube itself has started live streaming events in 360. Apps such as Pokémon Go have taken the world by storm, earning up to $1.6 million daily. People who have been quick to jump on the trend have seen many favorable results.

A few brands have jumped on the trend as well, looking to the immersive experience as a way to attract attention and create meaningful experiences. The New York Times took advantage of virtual reality by sending over one million Google cardboard headsets to subscribers, and is now working with advertisers to create content to work alongside The Times’ VR videos. Etihad Airways has worked with Nicole Kidman to create a virtual reality experience for anyone on board Etihad’s A380. Both of these brands are creating unique experiences for their customers, and connecting with them in a way that is innovative and unique.

Entertainment and marketing are two natural fits for virtual reality, which makes celebrity marketing perfect for this new trend. A celebrity has the ability to deliver a message uniquely, creating attention and recognition that cuts through the clutter consumers deal with on a daily basis. We will likely start to see brands giving audiences a front-row seat to a Beyoncé concert or the Super Bowl through virtual reality, but the opportunities don’t have to end there. There are many possibilities with virtual reality, and it is a must-have for brands looking to tap into something new and innovative.

photo credit: Photopin.com

Travel Bloggers May Be the Next Big Thing for Celebrity Marketing

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Travel bloggers offer a unique way for brands to reach new consumers.

A travel blogger’s posts provide authentic content and are a good way for brands to integrate themselves into a trip or lifestyle. This way, a brand can advertise an experience rather than just a product, and it can be done in an entertaining and exciting way that is attractive to an audience.

Travel writing has been around for decades, but with technology and social media, travel bloggers have a unique edge that makes them much more desirable for brands. Bloggers are often proven influencers who have access to fans on social media and know how to tell a strategic story on social platforms. When hiring a familiar travel blogger, a brand is able to get in front of a large audience through a storyteller that the audience trusts, in a way that is easily shared and delivers engagement.

But a travel blogger’s audience isn’t the only thing that is attractive to brands. A travel blogger’s content is also unique, uploading posts and photos consistently and in real-time. This type of bite-sized content provides an experiential element to branded content, that when matched with an authentic celebrity partnership creates a personable and fun experience for consumers. Travel blogging is becoming increasingly more popular, with bloggers covering a wide range of niche markets.

For example, Breanne Manz, creator of Stroller in the City, has a demographic that many brands want to reach: moms who travel with kids. Her 19,000 Twitter followers and 27,000 Instagram fans enjoy seeing photos of her and her kids visiting new places and trying new things, all of which she writes about in her blog.

Clint Johnson, also known as Trip Hackr, travels all around the world while working with brands, tourism boards and even airlines to promote products and run contests to his 50,000 Instagram followers, who enjoy reading about his tips and tricks for interesting travel destinations.

Matthew Kepnes goes by Nomadic Matt on his blog, where he often writes about ways to travel on a budget and all the ways you can save money while experiencing the world.

Louis Cole, known as FunForLouis on YouTube, documents his travels with daily video blogs to his 1.8 million subscribers. His engaging personality and desire for adventure make his videos a unique experience for his audience.

Travel blogging is becoming increasingly popular, especially for brands looking for more immediate, widely-shared storytelling.

photo credit: Unsplash.com

Deceased Celebrity Marketing

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Even after death, a celebrity’s brand remains powerful, and potentially becomes even more so.

Because of this, there is often a desire for brands to capitalize on the death of a celebrity in advertising. However, there are some pros and cons. The use of a deceased celebrity’s image and likeness in marketing can be a topic of controversy. While some campaigns perform well, others draw backlash. When considering using a deceased celebrity for a marketing campaign, there are a number of things to think about.

One advantage to using a deceased celebrity is not only that the celebrity will be widely recognized, but celebrities often become romanticized icons in the public eye after their death. Brands using deceased celebrities are able to align themselves with the pedigree of these iconic figures, and have much more positive publicity. A static figure is much more dependable than a current celebrity, and cannot cause problems for the campaign with scandals and sudden negative image. Ultimately, this allows the brand to have more control over the campaign.

Although a brand may want to use a deceased celebrity for a campaign and there are many reasons why it may be a good fit, this is not always the case. Deceased celebrities do not always work with a brand’s target audience. For example, Marilyn Monroe may be a style icon and an appropriate match for a beauty brand, but if the brand’s audience is younger, a relevant celebrity may be a better fit. Plus, getting the rights to a deceased celebrity’s image and likeness is not always easy. Those in charge of the celebrity’s estate may be similarly as challenging to negotiate with as a current celebrity.

Ultimately, if you want to have a successful campaign with a deceased celebrity, be sure the partnership is a strong fit with your target audience. Using a resource such as E-Poll provides piece of mind and a level of certainty. Attributes such as trust, likeability and name recognition can be isolated. You could even commission your own custom poll using great detail. Not only should the celebrity fit with your brand’s image, but you should also make sure the campaign is respectful and fits with the celebrity’s image.

Just like any other celebrity marketing campaign, you must go through all the steps to determine the best celebrity for your brand. The connection between the celebrity, the brand and the creative direction of the campaign must be strong enough for the celebrity to be credible and differentiate your message from the thousands of others we get bombarded with every day.

photo credit: youtube.com (Disclaimer: Mazda is a Burns client)

Authenticity in Celebrity Marketing

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Authenticity is usually the most important part of content, especially for younger generations.

At a time when most of what we see on social media is idealized, millennials believe advertising is unrealistic.  Because of this, 43% of millennials value authenticity over content. When it comes to advertising, consumers want to hear from the people they trust, and they trust people more than logos. Celebrity marketing is one of the best ways to be authentic – as long as it’s done correctly.

When looking for a celebrity for your marketing campaign, it’s important to find someone who loves your brand. But you don’t necessarily have to go for the most obvious choice. Just because you are a food company doesn’t mean you need to partner with a chef. Sometimes a message coming from an unexpected source is a smart way to be more authentic and create a stronger, more lasting campaign. Plus, you can be sure the celebrity really loves your product if they are willing to venture away from what his/her audience expects.

Just the act of including a celebrity in your campaign doesn’t necessarily create authenticity. When working with a celebrity, it’s important to give up some control and let the celebrity have an opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Your brand doesn’t want to mess with trust and credibility, and neither does the celebrity. It’s almost as important to maintain the celebrity’s brand as it is yours, so it’s best to equip the celebrity with the right information, and let them craft the message using their own words. That way, the message sounds more authentic to the celebrity’s audience because it is coming from someone they trust.

Once you find the perfect celebrity, building a relationship and having honest exchanges is the best way to create a more authentic message. Finding out how your brand fits into the celebrity’s lifestyle and using that information adds more value to the campaign. People think of their favorite celebrities as their friends, and they know the celebrity well enough to recognize when a message is contrived. Having a good relationship with a celebrity and using their genuine opinion is one of the best ways to ensure an authentic message.

Working with a celebrity is a great way to make a marketing campaign feel authentic, because their audience already trusts what they have to say.  When partnering with a celebrity, it’s important to find a balance. Your brand needs to remain the star while the trustworthy celebrity delivers your message, making it stand out from the clutter. By creating a good relationship and collaborating on the campaign, your marketing efforts are much more likely to feel authentic to an audience, especially young ones.

photo credit: Google images (Disclosure: Old El Paso is a Burns client)