When most people think of Wedgwood, they think of fine china, not marketing. But the brand’s founder, Josiah Wedgwood, was more than just a skilled potter. Wedgwood, one of the modern world’s first great marketers, invented the celebrity endorsement. When his place settings were used by Queen Charlotte in 1762, Wedgwood capitalized on his status as “Potter to Her Majesty,” allowing him to increase prices to the nobility. Wedgwood’s efficient manufacturing methods meant he could also sell to the middle class at a lower price, allowing him to leverage the first celebrity endorsement to build a widely appealing brand that is still known and loved today.
These days, you don’t need the queen to like your product, but a celebrity partnership can still supercharge your brand. Partnerships can range from business alliances to having a celebrity endorser or spokesperson. There are all kinds of ways to pair up with a celebrity, and each can come with major benefits if you choose the right person.
Celebrities add a wow factor.
Whether a celebrity is athletic, melodic, magnetic, or prophetic, each has the power to draw attention to a brand. If your marketing has been static and you need a boost, a celebrity partner or endorser can breathe life into your brand’s image. When you partner with a celebrity, your brand takes on some of their personality’s patina, whether they are edgy, brilliant, chic, wholesome, or outspoken. This can be an incredible feature of a celebrity partnership, or one that brings your brand down. Take special care to choose a celebrity partner whose story, goals, personality, and ideals closely match your brand’s, because any traits that aren’t compatible could cause problems. The right partner will blend and mesh with your product’s vibe and the partnership should feel seamless.
Celebrities can draw attention to a concept that’s harder to sell.
Sometimes, a business has an amazing product with one major problem: It’s the first of its kind, making it challenging to sell. If your business has a revolutionary product or service that hasn’t been able to land as much traction as it deserves because people just don’t “get” how it can benefit them, a celebrity partner may be a great way to shine a light on your brand and get the extra attention that makes people listen long enough to understand. If your product is truly revolutionary, it can take time for people to adopt, and a celebrity partner, spokesperson, or endorser can make the consumer education process smoother, faster, and easier. Because the celebrity’s fans already trust and believe in them, they listen when an endorsement is made. A solid partnership can expand your brand’s reach and lend extra credibility.
Celebrities can introduce their fans to your product.
When you work with a celebrity, they’re going to spread the word about your product or service to their entire fan base. However, this is part of why it’s so important to choose a celebrity partner with care, because you have to make sure their fan base will actually like your product. A great partnership has to make sense, and a teen music star won’t have much luck selling canes to her younger fan base (unless for some reasons canes are trendy this year). Celebrity alone isn’t enough to get your brand traction—their fans have to be likely fans of your product who just need to know the product is out there to buy it.
There may be extra perks for your most valued employees.
If your celebrity partner is a movie star, you might be able to score some tickets to a premier or a backstage pass. If they’re a sports savant, maybe they’d be willing to give you some courtside or box seats. If your partner is a renowned leader, perhaps they will offer premier seminar tickets to your best employees. Perks like these can be a great way to reward your top performers with once in a lifetime experiences that come with an extra dash of cool.
When the timing is right, you both win.
To get the biggest boost from a celebrity partnership, the relationship should be announced tactically, ideally just after the celebrity does something newsworthy. For example, partnering with a football star in the summer won’t have as much buzzworthy impact as announcing the partnership right after they score a game-changing play or help win the Super Bowl. Especially if a celebrity has been out of the spotlight for a while, the best way to score as much out of the relationship as possible is to announce your partnership alongside a celebrity’s major announcement, book release, key appearance, or premier.
Complimentary favorites can make both brands stronger.
Anyone who wants to partner with your business should truly love your product. Noticing a good business plan and wanting to invest is one thing, but if there is no passion for what you sell, the partnership will miss something essential. There are plenty of disaster stories where spokespeople for a brand caused embarrassment because they didn’t actually like or use the product, which can be awkward at best. Whether your partner is a celebrity or strictly business, make sure they are looking for more than just a financial incentive to lend you their name. Every endorsement is only as strong as the passion the partner feels about the brand.
Kyle Zagrodzky is the Managing Member and CEO of OsteoStrong, the health and wellness system that delivers unsurpassed advances in musculoskeletal strength, balance, and agility in less than 10 minutes a week. Thanks to OsteoStrong’s proprietary, scientifically proven, and patented osteogenic therapy technology, the brand has introduced a new era in modern wellness and anti-aging. In 2014, the brand signed commitments with nine regional developers to launch 500 new locations across America. In 2017, OsteoStrong announced a partnership with Tony Robbins to quickly grow the concept into a global brand.