Selling Authenticity with Celebrity Marketing

Authenticity Post

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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The Attraction of Celebrity Marketing in Social Media and Video Advertising

Video Advertising Post

Video advertisements are the hottest trend in grabbing consumers’ attention.

Celebrity marketing is powerful. Social media is powerful, and the newest power tool in the mix is video content. Video content is viewed on more devices and in more places than ever before. When these three platforms are combined, the possibilities and opportunities are endless.

Several social media channels, such as Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat and Twitter, are eager to increase usage and snatch a larger portion of digital video ad revenues. To achieve greater audience attention, social platforms are diving deep into the digital video advertising sphere. These platforms are adapting to the popularity growth spurt of video and repositioning themselves to better attract consumers.

More specifically, videos of celebrity endorsements can bring big revenue to those video advertisements and the social platforms that host them.

For example, Facebook has not always been thought of as the go-to place to watch a show. But, with the ever-changing times, Facebook is changing their tune by offering programming and a new video platform, Watch. Arranged by what Facebook users’ friends and communities are watching, the Watch platform allows video creators to release their episodes in an organized fashion while also engaging viewers in conversation.

Along with the Watch platform, Facebook is diving further into the digital sphere with its attempt at earning digital video advertising revenue. To do so, Facebook is selling in-stream-only video advertisements. These advertisements will appear only in videos that people watch on its network or across its ad network of third-party sites and apps.

Similarly, Reddit is paying more attention to the power of video on its platform. Making video an essential component, Reddit launched its first household video experience. Users will no longer be redirected to YouTube to share videos. Rather, users will be able to upload videos directly to the Reddit website. Without skipping a beat, Reddit now exposes users to auto-play video advertisements.

Meanwhile, Snapchat’s entire foundation features creative and short video content, which instantly grabs the attention of younger consumers. Although it is a unique format, its network provides marketers with immense potential for video ad revenue.

Twitter is another social channel trying to make video a core part of its platform, incorporating live and event-driven video content on its feed. In addition, Twitter delivers advertisements throughout these showings, targeting their audience in an engaged setting and opening the door for more video ad revenue.

These social media avenues offer vast opportunities for video advertising. Consumers drawn to celebrity marketing will drive increased video consumption, resulting in corresponding increases in revenue.

photo credit: StockSnap via Pixabay.com

How to Reach Multiple Demographics with the Same Campaign through Influencer Marketing

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Big brands have led the way in using a wide range of micro-influencers to reach a variety of consumers.

Having a single campaign activated across numerous influencers allows brands to access more than just the typical, narrow target market. Strategically using influencers that impact a variety of populations can allow campaigns to reach far beyond the usual scope.

Rather than using a large number of influencers who have followings with similar characteristics, brands can use influencers with extensively different backgrounds whose followings are diverse. This allows brands to use the same central campaign to connect with a larger sphere of people.

Here are a few brands who have successfully executed this approach.

Walmart

In spring 2017, Walmart launched its “Fight Hunger Spark Change” campaign in partnership with Feeding America. Their goal was as many donations as possible to secure meals for hungry Americans. Walmart used 7 influencers on Instagram to spread awareness for the cause and increase donations.

A charitable cause as broad as this one could be taken up by a massive array of people from all different backgrounds. Walmart mimicked this through their use of a mixture of influencers. From professional soccer player Sydney Leroux to YouTube personality and cook Rosanna Pansino to professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, Walmart covered a broad spectrum of influencers.

The result was a huge engagement rate of 23% and raised $1.5 million.

Axe

Axe partnered with 30 male influencers for their “Find Your Magic”campaign with a goal to break the cycle of toxic masculinity and support men in destroying stereotypes and using hair products.

The Haircare VP of Unilever (the company that owns Axe), Piyush Jain, was quoted in AdWeek saying “this is the first time male influencers from all different walks of life are coming together to inspire guys to start styling.”

Amongst the 30 were actor Josh Peck, cooking channel star Josh Elkin and video gamer Joshua Ovenshire. With just these three celebrities, Axe was able to reach men with disparate interests by involving influencers with an assortment of personalities and fan bases who openly used Axe products on their social channels.

Gap

For their “Styld.by” campaign, Gap partnered with multiple prominent influencers across several categories. They enlisted photographers, writers, singers, models and bloggers amongst others, spanning different cultural backgrounds, races, genders and stages in life.

Each of these influencers posed for photos wearing Gap clothing mixed in with their own pieces showing how they incorporated the brand into their own styles.

The material was posted on several platforms, including Gap’s social channels, the influencers’ personal channels and the online community dedicated to the campaign.  

Using influencer marketing allows brands to extend their target market on a budget and/or create multiple campaigns.

photo credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Part I: Six 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

Why Brands Should Use Twitch for Influencer Marketing

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One of the most promising websites is ripe for brands to seize competitive advantage.

Amazon’s Twitch is a video streaming platform where users can broadcast their gaming to the world. It has been a blossoming site since its launch in 2011, so much so that Amazon spent almost a billion dollars to acquire it in 2014.

With 10 million active daily users and over 2 million unique content creators per month, there is no denying the reach Twitch has as a social network platform. With Twitch’s increasingly popular appeal, brands need to take advantage, especially if they are looking to market to gamers and millennials. It is interactive, uncut, live, and genuine, something that millennials crave from influencers.

In order to help brands connect with these millennials, Amazon launched, Gear, a program in which users who stream through Twitch will be able to feature products they like as a widget on their page and receive a commission from Amazon for sales they refer. Twitch’s Gear is a strong example of how Amazon turns influencers into colleagues and helps with brand recognition amongst millennial consumers.

Beyond Gear, brands can use influencer marketing on Twitch in other ways.

One of the most straightforward ways brands can utilize is to hire a gamer for a sponsored stream. There are plenty of celebrities on Twitch from actors to athletes. Twitch also has plenty of “Twitch famous” gamers with vast and loyal followings.  Gamers love the concept of playing a video game with one of their favorite celebrities. When sponsoring a gamer on Twitch, brands can broaden their audience because they are reaching the gaming community as well as the celebrity’s audience.

Another way to sponsor a stream is to have your brand logo on the stream and in the stream’s title. This option is a great opportunity for product placement in the gamer’s camera throughout the stream.  For example, Jack Link’s sponsored three gamers known to have lively outburst, so it aligned well with their “hangry” campaign. Also, a brand could create a special tag associated with the brand or product that would pop up when certain achievements or frustrating fails occur, such as sponsoring a big play in a game.

Esports are also a unique sponsorship opportunity for brands. Brands can take advantage of the large viewership of this phenomenon by sponsoring these big tournaments.  Twitch hosts these live tournaments on their site where people can watch and play, so brands can get online advertising as well as brand integration and real life advertising at the event.  For example, Totino’s hosted a Call of Duty tournament that averaged 30,000 live viewers and handed out pizza rolls to the fans at the tournament.

With Twitch, there are many opportunities for brands to sponsor celebrities, streams and tournaments in the gaming world. This unique streaming site allows for brands to reach a new audience, specifically gaming millennials. Twitch is also currently working to expand their user demographic, branching out from gaming to include cooking, painting, beauty tutorials and more. This will ultimately provide a variety of opportunities for brands to take advantage of this growing platform and reach millennials in a new and exciting way with influencer marketing.

photo credit: Flickr.com

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