Campaigns with a Cause: How Celebrity Marketing Can Empower the Masses

Alive, Awake, Aware, Hands, Embrace, Holding, Being

From a progressive 21st century lens, it’s not “what” a brand is doing that sticks. What matters most is “why” a brand is doing so.

A well-polished brand is a promise to its following. When that promise is supported with strong social consciousness, a brand’s “why” becomes that much more appealing to those who trust their mission.

As brands increasingly become socially aware, it is important to understand the basics of Cause Related Marketing (CRM) and why the strategy is an all around winner for its four key players.

  1. The Charity
  2. The Brand
  3. The Perfect Celebrity
  4. The Consumer

CRM is a strategy used by organizations to boost revenue exchanges in both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. This philanthropic driven effort is ideal for charitable organizations because it boosts consumer awareness and provides a generous donation from the partnered brand. Many celebrities are interested in partnering with projects driven for the greater good of the world. Not only does it look good for these stars, but it feels good. When having the perfect celebrity signed for these projects, the conviction of the cause has the potential to skyrocket.

In honor of International Women’s Day this year, an A-List class of powerful women including Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, and Gabby Douglas stirred incredible social media buzz for Tory Burch, calling all users to #EmbraceAmbition. Proceeds from Tory Burch sales are to go to her foundation, which is geared to empower future female entrepreneurs.

In 1994, MAC Cosmetics created their own charity, the MAC Aids Fund, where they promptly signed Rupaul as their first celebrity endorser. Over the next 22 years, the Viva Glam campaign has featured artists such as Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, Rihanna, and most recently Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett. The company continues to outperform itself annually, as Miley Cyrus brought Viva Glam to its incredible $400 million benchmark in 2015.

These celebrity driven CRM campaigns get their deserved recognition within the brand world as well. Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign featured ballerina Misty Copeland, making the brand one of the biggest winners at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Today Under Armour controls 75% market share in athletic wear, and much of that is thanks to the empowerment that the brand instills in its user base.

The beauty of CRM is that it’s overwhelming positivity allows for its reach to span across brand types. This calls consumers of all ages, races, shapes, and sizes to use brands that they typically wouldn’t respond well to.

The push for clean water in developing nations is an issue in particular that multiple brands have taken into consideration. Unicef’s partnership with Selena Gomez and Matt Damon’s partnership with Stella Artois both broke boundaries that have called all users to take action to take part in helping the water crisis. The issue transcends multiple brands, charities, and viewer bases, driving immense amount of funds for one sole cause.

While the celebrity certainly gets the glory, these campaigns are made to empower the consumer. For these individuals, there is a sense of pride knowing that they are doing something for the better good, alongside the celebrity they adamantly trust.

photo credit: https://pixabay.com

Part II: 6 Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

When determining effective talent for a brand campaign, it’s crucial to review their overall relevance and likability.

As mentioned in Part I, as the industry continuously leans towards a niche approach, it’s important to realize that digital talent engages younger audiences in a way that lets a brand resonate in a uniquely relatable way.

Arguably the truest way a brand can resonate with an audience is through their funny bone.

While traditional ad campaigns thrive off planned ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and slapstick humor, digital celebrities produce impromptu comedy that is immediate and personal.

Here are the final three influencers from the 2016 Variety Magazine study that particularly use comedy to enhance their YouTube clout:

  • PewDiePie: Since August of 2013, Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie), has been the most followed YouTube account, only being surpassed once by YouTube’s Spotlight channel. The Swedish video game vlogger begins his videos with a high pitch, goofy voice making it seem as if every viewer is a close friend. His praise comes from the fact that he is genuine and unfiltered, which also drives controversy to his brand. While he may not always say the “right thing”, this vlogger speaks his mind on such an immensely influential platform, making him stand out as a truly new form of an artist.
  • Grace Helbig: This YouTuber has been an influential content creator since 2007 when she began YouTubing with her college roommate. Since then, Helbig has expanded her brand to podcasts, film, books, and television, where she created and starred in her own E! Network talk show. Marriott booked Helbig for a 2015 digital campaign for the brand’s direct booking service, calling for brand followers to “be more direct”. Helbig’s zany comedy chops offer an approach to viral storytelling that has an immediate appeal to young women.
  • King Bach : Andrew B. Bachelor, better known for his web alias King Bach, is most popular for his comedic Vine channel. Since the app’s downfall, Bach has transitioned from the 6-second platform to the big screen, stretching his 15.7 million fan base to multiple platforms. Bach uses parody to his advantage, having played Big Sean, Tupac Shakur, and Pharrell Williams in his short spoofs. Using these well known pop culture icons has allowed Bach to leverage his brand to unforeseeable levels. Bach has been used for several social media brand plugs, providing companies eyeballs that are increasingly difficult to reach via traditional means.

Comedy may not always be the answer for certain brands, but when trying to be direct with a young audience, it certainly presents itself as a viable option.

An authentic message is key, especially for Gen Z brand skeptics. Luckily for brands in the digital landscape, these six individuals are speaking their language.

photo credit: www.homeminterssante.com.br

Part I: 6 Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

With the niche approach that digital influencers bring to their global platform, it is clear that the definition of “mainstream celebrity” has changed.

Especially for millennials and Gen Zers.

Variety Magazine conducted a side by side study that compared the positive Q-scores of top traditional and digital stars, a score that utilizes celebrity familiarity to further show respondent’s “favorite personalities”. Unfortunately, among all respondents, digital influencers still continue to be no match in the awareness category to upper echelon Hollywood starlets.

For digital influencers, overall awareness does not have to be an immediate goal. What matters most is the segment that they resonate with the most: age groups 6-12, 9-14, and 13-24 year olds. The non-traditional content that digital influencers produce attracts these young media message skeptics, plain and simple.

This group had an appeal to their youngest viewers that their overall Q-score doesn’t exactly reflect. What is clear by the Q-scores, is that those that are familiar with these digital influencers also consider them to be their favorite personalities and for many of these top influencers, they are equal to some well-known traditional celebrities. There are several digital celebrities that are finally reaching the same positive feedback as critically acclaimed actors such as Brie Larson and Jeremy Renner.

Unfortunately, a truly precise way to measure the effectiveness of digital influencer brand interaction is still in its infancy. As the industry climate shifted away from a traditional approach, we took a deeper look at the influencers that paved the way as a new breed of celebrity.

Based on the Variety Magazine study, here is a current list of 2016’s top six digital influencers who continue to use YouTube to leverage their brand image across multiple channels:

  • Pentatonix: This five-member a cappella got their break on NBC’s The Sing-Off, which awarded them a recording deal with Sony Music. The group has amassed 12.8 million YouTube subscribers by covering iconic songs and adding their own unique flare that appeals to a younger audience. Riding off their victory at this year’s Grammys, Pentatonix is one of the most desired influencer groups for brands that want to portray youth and vibrance.
  • Ryan Higa: This 26 year old comedian began his career as lip-synching YouTuber in high school. After experiencing difficulty with copyright issues, Higa has been able to transform his brand, owning an impressive 19 million YouTube subscribers. Now Higa spends most of his time in the parody K-pop band Boys Generally Asian, a group headlined by YouTube’s five most influential Asian YouTubers. 
  • Bethany Mota: This lifestyle vlogger loves to show off her fashion purchases and has been doing so via YouTube since she was just 19. Since then, Mota has started her own perfume and clothing line at Aeropostale, essentially saving the brand from extinction. Recently Mota broke the coveted 10 million subscriber threshold, unconventionally positioning her as a dominant force in the fashion market.

Please stay tuned for influencers 4-6, as these three have a knack for comedy that allows users to feel heightened connection to the content they create.

photo credit: www.marketingland.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

Facebook Commands Live Video for Celebrity Marketing

Periscope may be reborn, but Facebook Live will thrive in 2017.

There is no doubting that Facebook Live remains at the forefront of live streaming content for celebrity marketing entering 2017. Thanks to its user familiarity and instant audience connection, Facebook Live has had the luxury of paying 140 media groups and celebrities a total of $50 million to produce live content.

An overwhelming 78% of businesses that use Facebook Live claim that it is an effective marketing tool.

Moving forward into 2017, Twitter’s live stream extension Periscope has implemented 360 degree video technology that allows a broadcaster to go live and share their entire environment, making the broadcast as immersive as possible. CES’ Hardware Battlefield has already used Periscope 360 to expose their series of events to their 8.3 million following on Twitter. Now considering the Periscope feature is synced with Twitter in a single app, Periscope may possess a threat to Facebook Live.

Brands such as Airbnb, have taken to Periscope 360, allowing to provide potential users a fully immersive experience to a foreign country. The video attracted 455,000 views in a single day. Twitter astoundingly attracted a record  6.8 million viewers for the inauguration via Periscope, but the avenue has yet to reveal the effectiveness with celebrity marketing.

Currently Periscope has 1.9 million daily active users, which is astounding. Yet, when compared to the clout of Facebook’s 1 billion daily users, Periscope is simply dwarfed.

Facebook’s size should not discredit the capabilities of Periscope, as it is an extremely viable option for a current business. Yet, the tool must present itself as user friendly as possible to compete.

To Periscope’s credit, the tool presents itself as business and brand friendly. The live streaming tool enables brands to create a community with how-to videos, allowing those brands to share industry news, mailing lists, and product demos. Periscope is ideal for celebrity branding, but it simply isn’t used at the rate Facebook Live is.

According to a Socialbakers finding, media, celebrity, and brand’s “official pages” have shown preference to Facebook Live over Periscope.

Of the top 500 celebrity accounts on Facebook and Twitter, celebrities are opting to use Facebook Live at a 40% higher rate than the Periscope tool.

33% of companies were using Periscope compared to Facebook Live, but by the end of the year, preference had shifted to 47% preferring Facebook Live to Periscope.

Ultimately, Facebook is proving itself as an unstoppable live streaming force, due to its size and accessibility. Periscope may possess unique business features to effectively track celebrity engagement, but currently the comfortability of Facebook Live will help the platform remain in its own live streaming class for celebrity marketers.

photo credit: www.flickr.com

4 Live Streaming Platforms for Celebrity Marketing

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Exponentially increase traffic and engagement using four similar, yet different platforms.

Video content is becoming one of the best ways to share information online, as video is unparalleled in engaging an audience and getting their attention. When content is shared live, it only increases the benefits of video marketing.

Statistics show live video dramatically increases both traffic and engagement to a brand’s content. With video, organic traffic increases by 157%, and consumers become 85% more likely to buy a product and 46% more likely to seek out information about your brand. Live video is a great way to make your brand more personable and engaging.

In utilizing celebrities who are already bringing in a large, engaging audience on these platforms, your brand can expand its reach and create an even more unique experience for fans and consumers. You just have to make sure you’re picking the right platform for your brand.

1. Periscope was one of the first widely-used live streaming platforms, highlighting its ability to take audiences to places not shown to the public, such as music festivals, concerts or personal events. The app offers a couple ways for audiences to engage with the platform, such as live comments and giving ‘hearts’ to show appreciation. Since the app is owned by Twitter, it makes it easy for multi-platform sharing, reaching audiences on both Periscope and Twitter. These videos can be kept on the platform forever or deleted after 24 hours, whichever you prefer.

2. Facebook Live makes it easy to connect with Facebook audiences, as Facebook controls the reach of these live videos using the same algorithm it uses for regular posts. One unique thing about Facebook Live is that users can stream for up to four hours at a time, and videos remain on the platform to be retrieved or re-purposed for later use. Facebook Live is a great platform for celebrity marketing, as celebrity pages on Facebook often outperform brand pages, and Facebook recently signed deals with multiple media companies and celebrities to grow the platform’s popularity even further.

3. YouTube Live claims to be the fastest and most reliable live streaming platform, and was notably the first to offer 360-degree streaming. Since then, brands such as GoPro, Nike and Lionsgate have experimented with it. This platform is great to use with YouTube influencers, as they can broadcast directly to their subscribers, and the stream is made available immediately after the broadcast on the influencer’s channel and in subscription boxes. It is similar to creating a regular YouTube video, but with the added bonus of live engagement from the audience through comment features.

4. Snapchat, with its 150 million daily active users, is a unique type of live streaming platform. The app has been used by brands in a variety of ways, including celebrity takeovers, product placement and revealing exclusive content. The quick, ten-second clips and 24-hour lifespan of these videos allows for urgent and exclusive interactions with an audience. Plus, many celebrities already have their own accounts and large followings on this platform.

No matter the platform, live streaming and celebrity marketing together are a great way for your brand to create exciting and engaging video content. Whether it’s special promotions, VIP access or every day moments, live streaming is great for brands to engage an audience in a new exciting way.

Pop-Up Events Driven by Celebrity Marketing Create Unique Brand Experiences

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The fear of missing out in today’s social media age is greater than ever, and companies are capitalizing on this trend by using short-lived events.

Pop-up events are short-lived experiences that connect people together, and a celebrity can help take it to the next level.

The goal of a pop-up event is to create an experience that is unique and exclusive. This creates urgency for the audience, encouraging them to take part because if they miss it, it will be gone forever.

Hosting a pop-up event builds excitement and urgency around your brand in three important ways. Incorporating a celebrity helps increase interest and audience reach, creating a more unique and memorable experience.

1. Increase audience reach

Most pop-up shops or events gain momentum from social media, and celebrities’ big and loyal followings can help promote the event, garner social interactions and ultimately bring more awareness to the experience.

Celebrities bring their followers to everything they do, which brings the potential for your brand’s social following and interactions to increase as well. A good execution of a brand boosting their awareness and reach is when Adidas got Pharrell to live stream the launch event of his own Adidas Originals line to the brand’s Snapchat channel.

Adidas gave fans an inside look at the event through Pharrell’s perspective, along with showing off the new Adidas products. The brand’s Snapchat following boomed, and in 24 hours the story garnered 3.4 million views and 4,000 screenshots that people later went and shared on their social accounts.

2. Boost brand image

Partnering with a celebrity for a pop-up event could also create interest and boost brand image. There might be people who aren’t familiar with your brand or products, but when the partnered celebrity brings their audience, the chance of their fans checking out the brand increases.

A great example is when Samsung partnered with Kanye West and Jay-Z for a secret show at South by Southwest. In order to get tickets to the show, fans had to own a Samsung Galaxy phone. Samsung’s traffic to their tent at the festival increased, as well as the buzz around the brand, all because people were excited about the concert with Kanye and Jay-Z.

3. Create a more unique experience

Including a celebrity at your brand’s pop-up event can also make the experience and atmosphere more memorable for the audience. People want to be a part of something special and unique that they can tell their friends about and post to their social feeds.

Events could include a meet-and-greet with the celebrity for a quick chat and photo session. Also, selling a unique product or giving away a memento at the event could further increase the urgency and experience.

Angry Birds and YouTube teamed up with YouTube star Rosanna Pansino for a pop-up bake shop in New York City. Rosanna created and gave away special Angry Birds-themed cupcakes as they introduced a new character, as well as decorating the bake shop with her style intertwined with Angry Birds and YouTube. She also greeted and took pictures with fans as they left the shop, creating a special memory for those who attended.

Brands are using pop-up events to grab attention, build awareness and create buzz more than ever before. Could a pop-up event be in your brand’s future?

Photo credit: Google