12 ‘must-do’s when engaging a celeb for your brand

20 Mar,2012

By Anujita Jain


#1 First, the key is to identify the need for a brand ambassador ­ whether it is to get noticed, or to catapult to a leadership position, or to change image or create demand, or other.


#2 Think of a brand endorsement as a mid to long term investment. Quick successes or failures of endorsements are not representative. Riding on the equity of a known personality is a strategic call. By itself, the decision cannot guarantee success, it needs correct usage. For instance, an endorser doesn’t come at the cost of a good creative.


#3 Go with a mindset to alter the script or storyline of a advertising creative if required, while approaching an endorser. While the communication strategy is brand objective dependent, the storyline may need to be re-thought with the chosen endorse in mind. Neither should the endorser be ideally selected with just one script in mind. The investment on an endorser often deserves and asks for that.


#4 Match endorser motivations with your brand motivations, to get more out of the endorsement than what the contract promises. This may not just yield in the celebrity commitment to brand but also in the ripple effect the communication may create.


#5 If as a brand manager, you are looking for a deal or a quick bargains, the only way is not in going for smaller names, but may also be about bigger names who are looking for new dimensions in their own stated personality. Match that need, and you may have a deal! While top end luxury brands have always had this advantage from even A-lister celebrities, this is often true for many other brands with respect to some potential endorsers.


#6 Plan out how you will use the endorser days thoroughly, so that you don’t end up with expensive days you struggle to use within the year, a common issue with the bulk of endorsement deals. The first few days are often easily utilised through shoots etc., but the balance 2-3 days end up being hurriedly utilised for sub-optimal activation that doesn’t get the right ROI for the day cost.


#7 Always have alternatives in mind while approaching endorsers. Options not only in the same grade of celebrities, but also pan grades and genres. This not only allows more creative thought for utilisation of the celebrity days, but also results in smarter value-benefit deals.


#8 Unless you have 4X budget for media and magnification, don’t put more than X for the endorser.  If amplification is the chief reason for using the endorser, it defeats the purpose to cut corners in the resources put behind it.


#9 Modern-day endorsements are best approached not only in terms of day count, but also digital or equity usage rights.  This again means a clear strategy of endorser usage, clear ideas of utilization of celebrity equity beyond just his/her days, and a strong plan


#10 If the brand works its communication around the endorser, the likelihood of the endorser working their schedules around the brand is that much more. An endorser, being a human brand, is highly likely to value good planning by the brand, and go that extra mile to deliver.


#11 Sharper the brand focus versus the category, the better the endorser choice.  So think of the brand positioning and attributes that define brand image, and then create your endorser consideration set. Often brands approach endorsers from the point of view of their category, failing to then translate an edge in their communication, resulting in a diluted or under-utilised endorsement.


#12 Often, especially for mid-segment brands, considering a set of niche endorsers may bring more value than going for a single mid-range endorser. This de-risks the brand, at the same time allowing them to ride on to a cluster of icons that have a deep and strong, albeit smaller follower base. Today, there is a whole new breed of such celebrities, who have a die-hard loyal following in their chosen fields, who work as strongly as special interest channels do versus a general entertainment one, for the relevant brands.


Anujita Jain is Founder & COO, Alchemist Talent Solutions.


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