3 reminders for celebrity brand endorsement

A Common Sense Reminder

Collaborations and celebrity endorsements can raise a brand’s awareness faster than almost anything else. But that only works when the collab or celeb is the right choice for the brand. Establishing this from the beginning seems like common sense, but often it’s not. Here are three reminders.

Be authentic.

Start with your customers first. Customers feel authenticity. Take Target. When Target announced the Missoni-for-Target Collection over a decade ago, people were at first confused. But that didn’t last long since the two fit together perfectly thanks to Target’s initial philosophy: Design for All. And what’s not more joyful than a first-rate Italian couture brand made especially and affordably for Target customers. That’s why it sold out within a few days. And when the mix is right, it leads to other designers joining in. For the past 11 years, Target has had an incredible, highly coveted revolving door of high end brands looking to collaborate for the masses.

Match one’s characteristics with the character of your brand.

No one can exclude Michael Jordan from Nike. In fact, a new generation is growing up buying ‘Jordans’ without necessarily knowing the man behind it. Nike has stuck to their brand philosophy tighter than most other brands and their collabs are always within their first-rate athlete roster. First-rate athlete = First-rate shoe.

Nespresso’s choice of having George Clooney goofing off in their commercials, may come at first glance from left field. But it’s easy to understand that Clooney’s on-screen and off-screen persona is somehow always about doing the right thing – all the way down to demanding the right cup of coffee. Classy person = Classy coffee. At the same time, Clooney feels at home and certainly believable wearing an Omega watch interviewing astronaut Buzz Aldrin or NASA legend Charlie Duke talking up Moon Watch stories. Outstanding science = Outstanding watch. 

Measure the risk factor.

Here’s a checklist:
a/ How often is the celebrity you’re thinking of in the news?
b/ How often does the celebrity create their own news?
c/ How has the celebrity behaved on social platforms?

It’s very tempting to want a celeb with millions upon millions of followers. You also pay for that. But it doesn’t mean that this celeb’s audience is your audience. And even if it were, the celebrity’s self-imposed pressure to be the news can lead to catastrophic endings. I think we all know who I’m referencing here…

Finally, you need to consider how long this celebrity will represent your brand. Is it a one-night-stand or a long term relationship? The latter is what takes real work, brings real risks and where the real dough comes in. To make a partnership like this successful, to find your brand’s Darling as we say, it starts with one’s character.