10 Ways to Protect Your Celebrity Marketing Investment


You can control a number of factors which dramatically increase the success of a celebrity endorsement and eliminate risks.

I’ve worked with brands who get ahead of themselves locking in on one or more celebrities too early in the selection process. They often skip important steps in making their selection. Doing this costs your company time, money and your results will fall short of expectations.

Here are ten steps ranked in order, for finding the best celebrity, getting the most value for your marketing dollar and eliminating risks:

1. Start Broad

Identify 1-2 ideal celebrities regardless of cost. This is the starting point and opens the discussion. Then, brainstorm and expand your list to 10-50 celebrities. Look to entertainment, sports, music and even deceased celebrities. You’ll be able to whittle down options quickly to a shorter list as you progress through these steps.

2.  Conduct Quantitative Research

An in-depth research project is used on occasion when there is a very large celebrity use planned. The bigger the campaign, the more likely you should consider this approach. This type of research can cost $10,000 or more with an outside research firm. An online consumer panel is often used to run ideas past the target audience at a lower cost.

3. Conduct Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is usually led by an internal consumer market group with the brand team involved. This could involve an outside firm as well. A qualitative focus group can cost $7,500-$15,000.

4. Screen Celebrities for Conflicts

This step is often ignored but the easiest to do. A simple google search such as “George Clooney endorsements”, will yield helpful information. Several websites do a good job compiling celebrity endorsement deals such as Celebrity Endorsement Ads. Double check with the celebrity agent to assure that you have category exclusivity.

5. Know Their Willingness to Promote Your Brand

Some celebrities enjoy PR days and social media while others do not. Make sure your celebrity choices are open to the services you need and like to be in those situations.

6. Estimate the Cost

Now that you have thought through the type of celebrity you are looking for, don’t waste time on ones too expensive for your budget. Think through the services you need (Ad, PR, social, digital etc.) and compare prices. Similar celebrities often have widely different costs so shop around. There’s probably one celebrity that clearly has greater value among your list of finalists.

7. Use Metrics to Help Identify the Best Celebrity

I see brands rely on their gut instincts too much with mixed results. Use a resource such as E-Score to help select the best celebrity candidate. E-Score offers an in-depth look at the key drivers of each celebrity’s appeal.

I recommend E-Score because it uses 46 attribute ratings for celebrity appeal and  multiple demographic breaks to identify how a celebrity is trending and compares to other celebrities.

8. Research Other Celebrity Marketing Campaigns

Study other advertising and marketing campaigns the celebrities on your short list have done. How were they used? How successful was the campaign? You can learn a lot from another brands successes or failures.

9. Inside Information

Run a background check on your chosen celebrity before you sign the contract to separate truth from rumor. You want to know now anything exists in their past such as arrests or convictions that you don’t want your company associated with.

10. Check for Overexposure

Knowing how many campaigns the celebrity appears in now and how many more will activate in the next 12 months will help determine if your celebrity’s impact could be diminished by other brands.

Celebrity Endorsement Ads is a good place to review other endorsements. Then, conduct a simple Google search to learn when campaigns were launched.

Once you have a list of campaigns, ask the celebrity’s agent to confirm current deals and ask for any others. Also ask for information regarding any new deals premiering in the next 12 months.

photo credit: shewatchedthesky via photopin cc


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