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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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.

photo credit: Matteo Mignani via Flickr.com

What Brands Need to Know about FTC Regulations for Influencer and Celebrity Marketing Campaigns on Instagram

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Brands must educate themselves on how to use celebrity marketing in the most effective way that conforms to the rules set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Even though the FTC has cracked down on celebrities and influencers for not explicitly labeling endorsed posts, there is still a huge lack of transparency regarding paid relationships.

In April 2017, The FTC issued a notice reiterating the rules for signposting paid ads on social media. They sent over 90 letters directly to celebrities, athletes and other influencers noting their improperly labeled posts. Even so, a study revealed that during May 2017, 32 of the top 50 celebrities posted some sort of sponsored content and 93% of those posts weren’t signposted correctly.

With changes underway, it’s essential for brands to know what the FTC requires, what social channels are doing to lessen the problem and what brands should do to avoid issues and successfully execute a social influencer campaign.

What the FTC Requires

The FTC Guidelines state any “material connection” between an influencer and an advertiser must be made clear. Meaning if there is any kind of relationship that could affect the way the consumers view the credibility of the post, it must be exposed.

The FTC also instructs hashtags must be easily interpretable. Unclear hashtags like #sp (meant to indicate sponsored post) don’t have a clear meaning to all consumers, causing the material connection to go unnoticed.

Hashtags must also be near the top of the post. On Instagram, text indicating the post is sponsored must be before the “more” button. The info needs to be visible without having to look further to find it.

What Social Channels are Doing

In an attempt to restore clarity and structure to sponsored posts, Instagram has launched a “paid partnership” feature. This allows for influencers to indicate the sponsorship above the post, under their name, in the space where a location is often put.

This will give influencers and advertisers a clear-cut way to disclose paid relationships, leaving ambiguity out of it. The #ad or #sponsored labels and their variations being used now leave more room for uncertainty in some cases.

While Instagram isn’t enforcing use of the feature at this time, it is a step towards stricter regulation and allows brands an easy way to avoid any questioning by the FTC.

What Brands Can Do

It’s best for brands to be diligent and stay up to date on the latest news and requirements from the FTC regarding influencer marketing and not just rely on its agencies. It’s necessary to be aware of the regulations to ensure a brand doesn’t end up damaging its image.

One reason why social media influencer campaigns are loved by brands is because of the genuine and natural way consumers are exposed to brands or products. Some brands fear clearly labeled posts could diminish that effect.

The key to getting around this issue is finding celebrity and influencer partners that make sense. If a partnership is logical, then it will seem authentic and genuine even if clearly labeled as a paid endorsement.

photo credit: Heidi Klum via Instagram

“Celebrity, Meet Influencer”: Now is the Time to Diversify Your Celebrity Endorsement Approach

There is an intangible quality to on-screen chemistry, plain and simple. For brands that aren’t niche, it is “go time” to find that dynamic celebrity-influencer duo.

It is certain that digital influencers are the future for brands striving to appeal to a younger demographic. However, for brands that are not exactly niche to today’s youthful consumer, it is important to recognize the available talent pool at both ends of the spectrum.

In the digital age, audiences are expanding for these broad-appeal brands, meaning the influencer-celebrity relationship may be the brand’s newest best friend.

Brita, dominating 70% of the filter pitcher market in the U.S, traditionally promotes a family centric theme. While the filter company may be tops in its own category, they have done an incredible job leveraging their appeal via celebrity endorsement. After signing basketball star Stephen Curry in 2015, their appeal expanded to the inner athlete in everyone.

Flash forward to 2017, and Brita has paired Steph Curry with digital comedy sensation, King Bach. The new creative produced by Brita posed a traditional dilemma: an empty pitcher in the fridge. With the power couple of Curry and Bach, the creative shifted focus onto the perfect roommate relationship, translating their comedic pairing into nearly one million YouTube views in less than a week. With Bach’s digital clout and Curry’s universal appeal, the audience for Brita stretched to incredible new heights.

Another industry finding success with celebrity-influencer teams is right in the talent’s wheelhouse; the film industry. The pairing of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and influencer Logan Paul for the promotion of the film Baywatch expanded the film’s brand immensely through reliance on user generated content (UGC).

In order to maintain the momentum of a successful campaign mantra, powerhouse brands lean their focus towards the viewer’s voice. UGC is any web content created by fans, functioning as free promotion for the brand. This online word-of-mouth is the best type of referral, as 86% of millennials say UGC is a good indicator of brand quality.

Johnson recently created his own production company Seven Bucks Studios, the mission being to create innovative and authentic content for its audience. As media consumers become increasingly skeptical of brand messaging, it is key that Johnson recognized authenticity as the arch of a successful message.

Fortunately for Paramount Pictures, Johnson and Logan Paul combined to drive unprecedented traffic to their brand by calling users to #BeBaywatch. Their three million plus views on YouTube caused the hashtag to instantly flood Twitter and Instagram, showing that users have power to spread a brand’s message like no other. Ultimately, the comedic, tension-filled relationship between the two made the film that much more relatable and appealing to multiple audiences.

It is certain that brands cannot appeal to everyone. However, when a brand can incorporate an array of talent that falls on both ends of the celebrity-influencer spectrum, the opportunity for brand growth is evident.

photo credit: www.premiermeetings.com

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

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.

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