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.

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Classic Brands Make a Comeback with Celebrity Marketing

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Nothing sells like a celebrity, especially when trying to bring older brands back to the forefront.

Brands leave long lasting impressions and establish strong bonds with consumers. In an ever-changing world, brands come and go, leaving consumers without their favorite go-to items. In order to bring a brand back to life, celebrity marketing builds awareness quickly, helps take market share from competitors and creates a strong emotional connection to buy.

Celebrities have long served as the public face of brands, but now they are being tapped to help brands return to the limelight. In addition to serving as a trusted trendsetter, celebrities serve as human billboards.

The popularity of classic brands can be traced back to various celebrities. Whether celebrities are endorsing a product, sporting the merchandise or even creating alliances, classic brands can meet or exceed previous success using celebrities to communicate their message.

For example, Reebok partnered with top fashion model, Gigi Hadid, in an effort to gain more popularity. Although the brand has been in existence for years, using celebrity marketing is the best method to invest in the brand’s existence for the years to come.

Similarly, Coach made a comeback using celebrity marketing. Despite being a top-seller in the 1990s, the logo-heavy leather goods fell out of the mainstream. In order to reemerge in the accessories industry, they used singing sensation, Selena Gomez. As the new face of Coach, Gomez has helped to create playful and eclectic designs that are a must-have for all young millennial girls, breathing new life into the brand.

While celebrity marketing is one of the most effective and successful ways to reintroduce a brand, it is not the only way.

Brands can make a comeback appealing to both old and new customers by tapping into nostalgia, completely overhauling and rebooting the brand, and utilizing social media as well as other digital channels.

As brand marketing continues to adapt and evolve, classic brands have managed to stay popular by using celebrity marketing. These classic brands remain successful because they have picked up on the one thing many disregard. That is, consumers strive for things they cannot have, and thus as an alternative, they choose to live vicariously through the products in connection with celebrities.

So, if you are the next brand thinking about making a bold comeback, who better to help market your product than a trusted, popular and admired celebrity. With their large following and strong influence, there is no denying that their help can restore your brand to what it once was.

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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 creating 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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