Embracing Culture with Celebrity Marketing

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Brands can stand out with cultural intelligence and promise.

What exactly is cultural intelligence and how does it relate to brands?

Cultural intelligence is the power that brings brands to the forefront of current events. It has the ability to drive brand growth and create iconic brands.

Cultural intelligence is the ability to relate to and work effectively across cultures. When brands consistently communicate with their audience and constantly deliver on the promise they make, brands demonstrate cultural intelligence.

Brands that strive for success must be relevant in the rapidly evolving culture of consumers. Brands that ignore the now and the cultures that ensue go unnoticed and appear out of touch. As a result, brands must work alongside current events, co-creating culture through music, sport, fashion, etc.

One way brands can work alongside, while also create culture is through celebrities. The popularity of celebrities spans all cultures and directly influences consumers. Celebrities help brands establish the iconic image they desire and further stress the brands’ promise to consumers.

A celebrity marketing campaign is an extension of a brand’s cultural intelligence. It proves the brand understands consumers’ wants and needs in the current culture climate in order to establish a connection.

Embedding brands into culture is a long-term strategic venture. However, by understanding and embracing culture, brands are able to project their image beyond simple advertising and spark interest amongst consumers.

Along with cultural intelligence comes cultural promise.

It is the brand’s commitment to stay true to its core beliefs and promises. The more consistently and emphatically brands dedicate themselves to their promise and to culture, the greater its significance factor. With strong significance and a boost from celebrity endorsements, brands not only look successful, but become symbolic.

Although it may seem that consumers dominate in this ever-changing world, it is important to remember brands have a unique advantage. Using their cultural intelligence and promise, brands can engage with and influence culture. It is culture that persuades consumers and keeps brands in the limelight.

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Celebrity Marketing at Sporting Events

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When it comes to sporting events, celebrities and social media are the major players driving social engagement before, during, and after the game.

The impact of celebrities on audience engagement at sporting events is real. The impact of social media on audience engagement is just as real. Combined, these two influential forces and sporting events become one dynamite hotspot for brands to connect with fans.

Linking popular marketing campaigns to high-profile sporting events is not a new idea. However, the rise of social media adds a valuable, new element to the marketing mix. When social platforms work hand-in-hand with celebrity marketing campaigns featured at major sporting events, audience engagement will increase.

Brands that are able to generate creative and compelling videos can drive social engagement surrounding sporting events. Using the power of social media, these videos may become viral and generate buzz around the event. Similarly, brands featuring celebrities within their marketing campaigns at sporting events can achieve higher levels of engagement.

Beyond simply creating buzz, well-known sports teams and their social channels have found a way to engage with sports fans during the actual event.

A few professional sports teams have figured out how to draw attention away from personal phone screens and attract fans to the only screen that matters, the jumbotron. The Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Sounders and San Francisco Giants use technology powered by Tagboard that shows their Instagram stories on massive displays inside the stadium. These teams have found the way to grow their social media followings and also keep the focus on the field.

Combining celebrity title with social media, these sports teams engage fans, while still promoting their brand. As teams recognize this potential for branding, they discover ways to monetize content.

In addition, these massive displays take fan engagement another step further by featuring user-generated content. This keeps fans involved in the action on the field, while simultaneously becoming the focus of the screen. Furthermore, Tagboard created a tool that makes it easier to search content across keyboards, phrases, accounts and hashtags.

Tagboard has put a new spin on advertising during sporting events. Brands that want to get a leg up and connect with sports fans must recognize the influence of celebrity marketing and in turn, create captivating video content for social media platforms that will get fans involved.

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Who Wins for Brands – Digital Influencers or Traditional Celebrity Marketing?

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Four ways how digital influencers compete with traditional celebrities’ reach in marketing campaigns.

Influencer marketing works and brands are on board. With the increased presence of digital influencers, the role of traditional celebrities as a marketing tool is put into question. As consumers look for the latest trends and products, more companies are recognizing a shift in these consumer behaviors. As a result, brands are turning to digital influencers as the face of their campaigns.

Previously, traditional celebrities were able to influence purchasing decisions based in large part on their name recognition. However, the digital influencers’ increased social media traffic has granted them a larger piece of the marketing pie.

Over the past decade, social media channels and platforms, such as YouTube and Instagram, have accumulated large user bases. With this immense growth, brands are looking at digital influencers and social media stars as a valuable form of social engagement for online advertising campaigns.

The popularity of digital influencers has changed the definition of “celebrity,” forcing brands to rethink their traditional approach to working with celebrities. Listed below are four key insights as to why brands may prefer working with digital influencers.

1. Social Media Presence

Digital influencers have a strong following on social media. While traditional celebrities also have billions of followers across various social media channels, they don’t present the same authenticity as digital influencers. Digital influencers are seen as “regular people,” potentially with a greater online reach than idolized celebrities.  Because of this authenticity and accessibility on social media, digital influencers have a greater appeal to today’s audiences.

2. Price Point

Most often, celebrity endorsements are more expensive than partnerships with digital influencers. Extensive experience and previous track record add to the cost of using traditional celebrities.

3. More Tailored Audience

Followers of digital influencers pay close attention. They are a self-selected, very specific audience seeking advice and inspiration. By choosing specific digital influencers, brands narrow their audience.

4. Credible Third Party Endorsement

Whereas celebrities can provide exposure for a product, digital influencers can provide a certain level of understanding and connection to that product. A Twitter study found that social media users trust influencers nearly as much as they trust their friends. With that level of trust, a brand can benefit from the unique perspective influencers have on a campaign.

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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.

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How to Avoid and Respond to Celebrity Marketing Efforts Gone Wrong

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Take precautions before partnering with celebrities and react appropriately if an issue arises to limit being associated with controversy.

Every element of marketing brings a level of risk. Celebrities are no different. They have passionate and engaged fans, large followings, and high credibility—all of which they can transfer onto brands. However, when a celebrity has a mishap, the public’s perception of the celebrity can instantly change, and when that happens, the associated brand also takes a hit to its reputation.

Here are a few steps companies can take to greatly reduce the risk or minimize the consequences to their brand.

Conduct Research and Recognize Red Flags

It’s important to take a deep dive beforehand to find out as much as possible about the celebrity’s past. Understanding the celebrity’s character will allow for better insight into how they may behave. Brands must look for any signs indicating that the celebrity could be on the verge of controversial behavior. While these things can be hard to foresee, conducting thorough research will greatly reduce chances.

Predict the Good and the Bad

When looking at a potential celebrity partner, it’s critical for brands to evaluate areas for opportunity but also areas of potential concern. By anticipating what may happen, brands give themselves a good way to determine whether they think a partnership is right for them by comparing the conceivable good outcomes with the imaginable negative outcomes.

Decide Whether to Continue the Partnership

Depending on the severity of the celebrity’s mistake, waiting out the initial public outrage might be better in the long run. The brand must also keep their brand identity at the core of the decision making process. If the celebrity is mentioned negatively in the media but didn’t do anything that contradicts what the brand believes, then it may be appropriate to continue the relationship. Another key aspect is to take cues from the public. Seeing how the public reacts will further give brands direction on how to respond.

Squatty Potty decided to end their partnership with Kathy Griffin after she posted a picture of herself holding a replica of a bloody Trump head. The CEO issued a statement saying that what Griffin had done was completely inappropriate and not consistent with the company’s values. They took a strong approach in making sure that the public knew their standpoint regarding the issue.

Strategize How to Fix the Damage Moving Forward

Planning future celebrity endorsement campaigns, implementing PR or ad campaigns, and issuing statements to the public are all things that should be considered.

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Celebrity Marketing: How Authentic Brand Engagement Can Turn Baseball Icons into Baseball Buddies

Following record shattering ratings in the 2016 World Series and 2017 World Baseball Classic, baseball is proving why it is “America’s Pastime”.

Despite the heroics of those two events, Major League Baseball faces the issue of skewing to an older demographic. According to Nielsen ratings, 50% of baseball fans are 55 or older. Additionally, those ages 18-34 are 14 percent less likely to report a strong interest in baseball.

However, MLB Opening Week attendance revealed a modest increase from 2016, and that is largely thanks to baseball’s latest initiative to appeal to a younger demographic.

The new 60-second spot “This Season on Baseball” positions the 2017 MLB season as an ongoing reality TV show, diving into the personas of baseball’s hottest young talent. Whether it’s Bryce Harper taking an ice bath or the Mets’ fireballers at dinner, the message is that these icons are real people. The creative is fresh, showing viewers that baseball and its stud stars are spontaneous: which is exactly what young fans demand.

Avid sports fans crave any interaction with their favorite superstars, whether it be as big as an autograph or simply favoriting their tweets.

Along with exotic ballpark menu items, teams have even incorporated VR elements to their stadiums this season, paving the way for unparalleled fan engagement, ultimately bringing a younger crowd into the seats. Fenway Park has added a VR batting cage in their Kids Concourse, where young fans can take a crack at facing their favorite Major Leaguers.

Not only is the MLB virtually connecting to their fan base, but now they are interacting in real-time in a whole new way via social media.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has just released their own social media app called Infield Chatter, designed to provide baseball fans with ultimate player interaction. Unlike other social media platforms, Infield Chatter is designed strictly for players and fans to share pictures, video, and text to their in-app feeds.

While this innovative approach to fan connection doesn’t exactly stretch MLB’s brand appeal to new audiences, it certainly enhances the experience of the most avid followers. The app is still very much in its primitive stages, but has all the makings to generate enough buzz to raise some eyebrows across the entire sports world.

Nearly 1,000 major and minor league players are on the app, including superstars Evan Longoria, Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes and NL MVP Kris Bryant. While MLB itself has yet to partner with the app, the MLBPA believes that the only way to truly bring viewers to the MLB brand is to have a conversation with them.

What’s key is that these MLB players aren’t talking at the fans. They’re talking with the fans.

This level of intimacy provides a whole new level of brand appreciation and attachment, which should ultimately translate to cross-generation appeal.

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How Celebrity Marketing can Transform Intimidation into Motivation for Non-Techies

In the exponentially growing world of technology, products must be easy to grasp before they can be fully trusted, that is where celebrity marketing comes in.

Many companies have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive cloud technology, allowing them to implement software API’s and frameworks to increase internal efficiency. Unlike the technology used for the consumer products Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa, cognitive computing technology uses data mining, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.

Despite negative stigma of these technologies, powerhouse tech brands Dell and IBM are paving the way for a tech friendly mindset for all, and not just business insiders.

How are they doing so? By partnering with celebrities that exude a suave sense of authority.

Other than tech insiders, no one truly understands how applicable these technologies can be. In fact, those who are aware of AI are fearful of what the technology can do. According to a global Pegasystems study, 72% of respondents indicated some level of fear of AI and 25% feared that the technology could eventually take over the planet.

Dell Technologies no longer stands for a desktop computer. The company has expanded to information security, business analytics, virtualization and cloud computing. To help make the brand more palatable for the average consumer, Dell debuted “Let’s Make It Real” starring actor Jeffrey Wright. Following his role on the critically acclaimed sci-fi hit West World, Wright was a great fit to unveil the true magic behind Dell Technologies. Wright’s soothing voice and calm demeanor helped emphasize the message that reality is not all that far from our wildest fantasies.

Ultimately, this technology is being utilized in ways that can really help the day-to-day life. Uber is now pre-packaging machine learning algorithms to service their app developers, making the app as route efficient as possible. Software companies SAP, Deloitte, and IBM have all extended their cognitive clouds to partner with companies to aid in areas such as personal tax services and sales efficiency.

IBM strives to achieve brand appeal among the average consumer with the help of their cognitive pal Watson. When Watson isn’t utilizing its cognitive capabilities to predict weather patterns or compile cancer research, it is helping consumers file their taxes. Prior to the Super Bowl, H&R Block partnered with Jon Hamm, the debonair actor of Mad Men fame, to help show how Watson can make filing taxes personal and simple.

The first set of ads featuring Hamm were intentionally humorous to get consumers to engage quickly with the product and “get their taxes won”. Hamm eventually lent a more serious tone in later spots to shed light on the importance of Watson’s expertise. Kathy Collins, H&R Block’s CMO said that Hamm’s range is what really made him the perfect tax-season spokesperson.

In order for tech brands to be digestible to the “non-techie”, they must relay their complex messages through trustworthy celebrity figures.  

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