The power of influence is an undeniable tool for a business to get recognized. Celebrities are obvious actors who hold these within them. Ken breaks down the importance of celebrity endorsement and influencer marketing, stating that so many businesses hire them to carry on their following to the brand. But what if you can’t afford them? We all know that celebrities can be expensive. Discover six different takes to get the people to move your business above the surface.
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We’re going to title this Babystepping Celebrity. This blog is dedicated to the concept and the power of using a celebrity endorsement. I mentioned a few episodes ago that in the first chapter of my new book, 19 Growth Techniques You’ve Never Heard Of, I did a little backstory on the history of marketing. I did a special mention of influencer marketing where the first celebrity endorsement was Fatty Arbuckle. Somebody put a cigarette in his hand during a silent film and he continued to smoke that brand in and out of the film. That cigarette company grew 600%. That was the beginning of what was then known as product placement. We now know it as influencer marketing. If you go to a lot of the hire-a-celebrity website, you can hire them for voiceovers, for podcasts, bumpers, and straight-line commercials. There are a lot of different ways to engage a celebrity directly or to go through an agent.
If you get to the two or three major celebrity hire websites, a couple of them have good explanations or declaratives that prove the percentages that business can increase by using a celebrity voice because you’re taking the following of that celebrity. In an essence, you’re driving your brand down the celebrity’s brand and tribe. There are a lot of great stats and infographics, too, that was done maybe in 2012 or 2013 that did an exhaustive study of insurance companies and car manufacturers that were and were not using celebrity endorsements and when they switched to celebrity endorsements, how much things grew. There are the Harvard Business Review case studies of Michael Jordan’s endorsements of Nike and many other brands.Don’t be afraid to start with a C or B celebrity in marketing. Click To Tweet
The concept of using celebrities is not in question. The question is, “What if you can’t afford them but you know they would be a great asset?” Remember that celebrity endorsements are influencer marketing and sometimes individual industries have their own champions inside the industry. You might be in the roofing industry, there may be a roofing celebrity in all the roofing conferences that most of the major people know. They could be considered a celebrity. Now, the end user, the person buying a new roof might not know who they are, but if this roofer was on HGTV and they are soon-to-be famous celebrity, you may want to start there. They would be a C-celebrity.
I want to go through six points of what can you do if you can’t afford a celebrity. I knew I wanted to bring in a sizable band to Digital Footprint. We only had about 45-minute time slot, plus I didn’t have the budget of the big money to bring in a powerhouse band. I started asking around and one thing that came to my mind over and over from the people that mentor me is, “Why don’t you try to find one of the frontman or main people of a band to have them come in and just do an acoustic performance?” Sure enough, Steve McCarty from the Steve Miller band came to our New York event a couple of years and blew people’s mind doing an eight-song VH1 unplugged, intimate, and touching him performance. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He wrote songs like Fly Like an Eagle.
It was amazing. I remember standing behind Steve, looking out over the audience and people were saying, “Pinch me. Am I really standing right here?” It was tremendous, and Steve did not charge us that much. It was relatively inexpensive for the feeling we got of hanging with Steve. The second time, he brought a three-piece band. He brought a couple of the guys touring with The Miracles and they formed a mini band just for us one night. The first way is maybe to see if you could get a piece of a celebrity, a piece of something instead of the whole thing. In essence, Steve McCarty playing an acoustic set instead of the full band, given up whole couple nights of travel.
Number two, what if you can get the celebrity to do a commercial for you on their time and at their location? Many celebrities have studios in their home. They have to do a lot of PR and news tour. I was at Rockstar Marketing, Craig Duswalt’s house with Dean Cain, the original Superman on the TV show. Sure enough, Craig Duswalt, who was the manager of Guns N’ Roses, had full-blown studio cameras, the whole shot. His garage was a converted studio because they were doing so many PR tours that he would often do them from home even back in the day. You might want to reach out to a celebrity and say, “Can I throw you a couple of bucks? Do you mind taking a Saturday morning and cut in three 60-second commercials in your own studio?” I bet you, you could steal a celebrity for that.
Number three, I remember back in the day I was trying to get Terry Bradshaw, the four-time Super Bowl quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, to come in and do a new show with us where we would get together and he’d ask us a million questions. We would put on a legitimate new show, a question and answer, and put it on cable TV. It was something approaching $100,000 and once we realize, “I can’t afford this.” He said, “Why don’t you just come to my studio? Yes, you’ll have to fly in your team and this and that, but you and Kerri can come in. I can probably get that done for $20,000 to $30,000, something like that.” The bottom line is what if you can fly to them and do it all on their terms?Pick the right celebrity whom your audience would resonate with. Click To Tweet
Number four, what if you can do some background on the celebrity that you’d love to endorse you? Find out what their worthy cause is. Find out what the charities are that they donate to and either meet them at one of the charities they’re speaking at. Then do some deal where you rent a small room in the same hotel. You catch them on their terms and then you tell them that you’ll do a matching donation to what you pay them to their charity.
Number five, why don’t you give them a cut of the action? Why don’t you make an affiliate code, tracking mechanism, and a separate landing page? This is what the major celebrities do now, especially when you hear these people on the radio. Everything from The Rush Limbaugh on the one side to the Sirius XM DJ with the long black hair and big nose. They’ll always tell you, “Use Radio Code X.” Why do they want that? Because they get a slice of the action. A lot of these celebrities, especially if it’s a commercial endorsement, are very interested in a cut of the action.
Finally, number six, just swim upstream. Don’t be afraid to start with a C or a B actor or actress or celebrity, singer, songwriter, or producer. Start with somebody that’s not as big of a celebrity, but then simply upgrade your celebrity status as you graduate in business. Celebrity endorsements are incredibly powerful. I would say that if you pick the right celebrity where your audience would resonate with the celebrity, they probably work almost every time. There is a couple of episodes I’ve heard where the celebrity, later in life, did something foolish and stupid and then the sponsors had to pull out their endorsements, but that’s pretty slim. Plus, especially, a C or a B-celebrity would respect and need the money you’d offer them, so they wouldn’t want to do anything foolish. They would probably go out of their way to support you. I hope this helps. Take care.