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Partnering with the right celebrity can be a very lucrative opportunity that offers exponential brand equity and an instant, solid connection with consumers. But the wrong partnership can be so damaging that the brand is destroyed.
This is why it's so important for brands to partner with a celebrity who has a very high probability of success. One of my business ventures, 10PM Curfew – a women-centric media network that includes @style and @girls on Instagram and TikTok – consists of a celebrity partnership.
We've taken it a step further since actress Bella Thorne is my co-founder. I saw firsthand the impact of celebrity and influencer marketing on this trip, as well as at my other companies.
I believe we'll see a lot more significant brand partnerships with celebrities in the future – more than the usual pay-per-post influencer marketing. That's why this business model is so effective and I believe it's the future of marketing.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Celebrity partnerships provide access to an on-demand audience
One of the most difficult aspects of branding launch is its initial promotion and marketing. After all, nobody knows that a brand exists when it's new. So you need to creatively and effectively position it right in front of the consumers who you expect to have an interest in what you are offering.
The amount of trial and error and testing required to scale up can be both time-consuming and financially demanding. A prominent partner gives the brand instant on-demand access to their trailers. It's like opening the lock gate immediately – there is no trickle effect or slow ramping or scaling.
Not only is the initial audience large and targeted, but the marketing message can be natural and organic. Celebrities wear their brand so they don't have to press that marketing message hard down their audience's throats.
Consumers are immune to paid influencer campaigns. Years ago, when the concept was still fresh, brands simply paid influencers with a large following. No creativity was required – hold up the product, label the brand, and watch sales come in. That doesn't work now.
If a post is not natural and organic, or if the product is inconsistent with the audience, the results will be terrible and the influencer will damage their relationship with their followers. Authenticity is the key.
For example, an authentic and natural social media post that includes a product and tags it can be very effective even without mentioning the product in the post's headline. That kind of on-demand audience is invaluable. Since the marketing approach doesn't need to be force-fed, it offers an opportunity with long-term potential.
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You can use them to convey authentic marketing messages
When a brand is working on a per-post agreement with a big celebrity, it needs to maximize each post and generate as much sales and revenue as possible to justify (and continue) that relationship.
Let's say a beauty brand pays an A-list celebrity $ 250,000 for a single post. They want a post with prominent awareness of their product and a label that has them flagged. It will read a bit like an advertisement – because it is.
When a brand works with a celebrity, they have more freedom in accessing that person's social media reach. You can have a much more authentic approach. Over time, the posts could include the product without saying anything and it will generate more brand equity than an overly promotional, one-time paid post.
Consumers become immune to overt advertising on social media. Just check out the comments – many times you'll see the fans of the celebrity bag them for paid posts.
Celebrities give your brand instant credibility
A traditional new brand launch involves advertising across multiple channels, with a focus on social media. Why? It gives brands access to the largest audience, and platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer extensive targeting options.
However, the first time a consumer runs an ad for a product, they won't immediately pull the trigger and turn themselves into a customer. They may do a little research or read reviews online – which is why remarketing and retargeting are very effective.
It takes multiple "touches" to get a consumer to transform into a customer. You can get around this with a celebrity partner simply because that barrier is removed. Your brand will gain instant credibility because celebrities instill consumer confidence.
Someone introduced to a product through a celebrity is instantly confident about the purchase decision, which is why influencer marketing is so effective. The celebrity brand partnership takes this concept to another level.
This approach can instill even more trust as the audience knows that the celebrity is involved in the brand. Audiences are also more likely to support the brand if they know the celebrity has a legitimate interest.
This is a trend that extends across all industries. Take the highly competitive beverage industry, for example. Conor McGregor is part of Proper No. 12, the whiskey brand, and Ryan Reynolds were part of Aviation Gin, which was recently acquired for $ 610 million.
Related: 20 celebrities who started alcohol companies
They lead to long-term sales advantages
When a brand pays for an influencer or a celebrity per post, they have a very short window of time to take advantage of that post. Many contractual conditions stipulate that Swiss Post is only active for a certain agreed period of time (usually between 24 and 48 hours). Then the mail is gone.
So it's a short-term approach. The aim of these campaigns is to generate as much website traffic as possible while the post is online. Brands know they won't convert all of their traffic, so short-term celebrity support requires focusing on data collection.
Brands need to have their website heavily pixelated and collect data for every platform they advertise on so they can target and re-target all traffic.
They then have to hope that the consumer will remember them – and every time they interact with that consumer there is a cost involved. With a prominent partner, a brand receives long-term sales and loyalty that can be invaluable.
I believe Aviation Gin is a great example of how powerful a celebrity affiliate can be and what kind of purchasing power they have for consumers. The company was founded in 2006 but didn't really pick up speed until Ryan Reynolds got on board. It was a household name then; His dedication definitely helped win takeover bids.
As retail continues to suffer a slow, painful death, and as more and more big box stores move online, I expect more big brands to develop celebrity partnerships to thrive in an e-commerce world.
Moving it online also frees up a tremendous amount of operating budget (no more expensive brick and mortar retail locations or employees) so affordability is not an issue.
This strategy works for many and I expect bigger brands to use it even more in the future.
Related: Don't Let These Mistakes Become a Part of Your Influencer Marketing