Published on March 5, 2014
Celebrity Endorsement for Small Business Marketing
When it comes to parting with their cash, consumers are faced with an ever-growing number of choices, and how those choices are made is a complex process: recommendations from friends, online reviews, past experiences, marketing campaigns and other factors can all be influential. Yet one of the best ways to grab attention for your company and get people trying it out is through endorsements.
At the top level, you have the celebrity endorsement: Rory McIlroy pushing the benefits of banking with Santander, for example. Studies show that these sorts of endorsements help to drive sales and tap into our need to connect with the rich and famous. Even if a high-profile celebrity is beyond your reach, you can still enlist the help of influential figures who are willing to testify to the quality of your product.
Pick celebrities or well-known personalities who match the culture and philosophy of your startup. If your business involves social media, for example, look at the people who make the best use of Twitter and Facebook: Stephen Fry and Emma Watson both have huge Twitter followings, for example, but appeal to very different audiences.
Find the people who are going to enjoy using what your startup offers, because the chances are that their friends and followers will enjoy using your product too. Even if money is changing hands, heartfelt endorsements are so much more effective than cursory ones. You could perhaps offer your chosen targets a free trial of your service or a tour around your office — offer a deal that's beneficial to both sides.
By all means aim for the stars when it comes to getting celebrities involved, but don't give up if you're not successful — the idols of modern day culture have more endorsement opportunities than they can handle. You may have to focus in on well-known figures within your industry or within the area that you're operating: think along the lines of a local sports personality, a regional television presenter or someone who is only famous within the market that you're trying to gain traction in.
How you manage the message associated with your endorsements will depend on who you're dealing with and the kind of campaign you want to run. Your chosen endorsees may well be happy to repeat an official line on a product, or may want to offer their own opinions instead — whichever way, aim for something that feels natural and unforced. Don't be afraid of using testimony that isn't fully positive or overwhelmingly gushing, as most potential customers will respect the
Whatever the approach, make sure both parties are fully aware of their responsibilities. Don't expect to be able to sit back and rely on your new ambassador's personality and marketing stills: the more prompts and guidance you can offer the better. At the more well-known end of the celebrity scale you may well have to go through an agency or representative who can help you with the finer details.
Get yourself endorsements that fit, and they can do wonders for your startup, particular in terms of brand recognition and profile. There's a lot of potential business riding on an endorsement, so make sure you dedicate the time and effort required to get it right.
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