When you start looking for a celebrity endorsement for your brand, it’s natural that you’ll first think of big names: A-list movie stars, bands that sell out concerts, big sports figures. These celebrities are household names, and you want your brand to become a household name. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the best move for every business.

Endorsing an up and coming celebrity is not only very cost effective, but it can also be one of the most effective routes to take, especially for smaller brands. This article will guide you through four reasons why you should work with an up and coming celebrity. You can group the advantages of endorsing an up and coming celebrity into two categories: short-term benefits and long-term benefits.
 

In the Short Term

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The short-term benefits are probably the considerations you are facing as reality sinks into your plan for endorsing a celebrity. You can’t afford Lady Gaga or Samuel L. Jackson, and you don’t plan to share equity in your company. Is there someone else available? Yes.

Plenty of new celebrities would love to score an endorsement deal, and these relationships can be beneficial for the both of you. First, your short-term advantages include:

  • 1. Price—Obviously, the less known celebrities don’t charge as much up front as their popular peers. The top celebrities are in high demand, so unless you plan on giving that celebrity equity in your company, you’re usually going to need to pay a heavy chunk up front. Smaller celebrities, on the other hand, are more open to finding an endorsement partner who will also help them promote their own name.
  • 2. Social Media Engagement—This is a short-term benefit that can actually graduate into a long-term advantage if you maintain a relationship with your celebrity partner. In the short term, this provides an opportunity for you and the performer to benefit from each other’s networks. Rather than reaching the nationwide or global audience of a big celebrity (of which only a fraction will be interested in what you offer), your advertisements will reach the niche group that is currently interested in this lesser known name. It makes you and your new audience part of a select group and ensures that you are targeting the right prospective customers. Many up and coming celebrities actively use their social media platforms to grow their fan base. By forming an endorsement partnership, you can get in at the beginning of that growth and enjoy the exponentially increasing number of people exposed to your advertisements.

Just be prepared for the possibility that your up and comer could become a big deal fairly quickly. Social media also makes it easy for more popular celebrities to take notice of your celebrity partner, giving the new celebrity and your brand the attention of a wider audience, such as when Justin Bieber tweeted about Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy new song.

In the Long Term

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The short-term benefits may make it seem like you are settling or not getting a very good deal, but that’s not the case at all. Up and comers can be a great choice for your business, and the long-term benefits will show you why.

  • 3. Build Relationship Early—By getting on the good side of a celebrity in the beginning, you create loyalty between the performer and your brand. That means that when they eventually grow to be globally acknowledged, your company still has a good chance of keeping an endorsement with them. Especially if they are known by your brand, they may continue a long-term relationship with your business, so that both of you continue to reap the rewards.
  • 4. Early Association and Growth—You get to take advantage of a cycle of growth and promotion. As people see your marketing campaigns, the celebrity gets more exposure and becomes better known. In addition, if they are managing their own career well, they will begin to grow in their own right. Essentially, by associating with the individual early on, you share in mutual growth that benefits each of you.

The Bottom Line about Endorsements

 
So, is it worth it for your company to shell out part of your marketing budget to endorse an up and coming celebrity? It’s really up to you to determine whether the risk is worth it. All marketing campaigns carry a risk—you just don’t know what will have the biggest impact until you try it. However, if you’re smart about who you choose for the endorsement, you could see huge growth in your company’s future.

Consider these potential payouts and tips:

  • * People associate the celebrity with your brand. Even if the individual is not known globally, you can attract a decent sized or niche audience. Many times it’s good to have a celebrity who isn’t huge, and instead better to find someone who better appeals to a certain niche. It’s the same as any other marketing strategy; you use techniques that target leads that convert. Depending on your target audience, you may not even need a nationally-renowned performer. You could get the boost you need with a local celebrity.
  • * People link your brand to the celebrity’s rise in fame. By that, I mean that your brand gains a positive association in customers’ minds.
  • * An endorsement creates uniformity in your marketing efforts and stands out from unendorsed ads. For example, “Flo” from the Progressive Insurance commercials was not a huge celebrity—she is, however, a stand-up comedian outside her role in their commercials—but her advertisements have been well-received across the nation and are recognizable by the majority of Americans. When you see Flo, you know it’s a Progressive ad, and you know it will likely be funny, or at least not typical and boring.

Was it worth it for Progressive to give a chance to a lesser-known celebrity? You bet it was! Their ads stand out and are instantly recognizable. What brand doesn’t want that?
 

Where Do You Find Up And Comers?

 
Although up and coming celebrities are lesser known, it doesn’t mean they are hard to find. Plenty of people are just starting out in various entertainment industries. Here are some ideas about where to look.

  • Musicians—Finding new bands isn’t all that difficult. If you follow music blogs, or watch indie record labels on social media, you are sure to see several acts with potential. The key is to do your background research to make a risk assessment about whether the artist will go somewhere. Also, it’s a good sign if you actually think their music is good.
  • Actors—Reality TV stars can be some of the easier actors and actresses to approach. Contact the celebrities representative or use a middle agent to find out if they are available. Reality TV is so popular that there are many such small celebrities that would love to do your endorsement. In addition to reality TV stars, there are many actors and actresses who aren’t yet household names but play smaller roles in movies and TV shows that you should definitely consider.
  • Athletes—Football and baseball players are hit up most often, but don’t neglect other sports, like golf, hockey, tennis, or swimming. Think of how a particular sport may appeal to your niche.
  • Online Celebrities—It’s true. Many new celebrities now get their start on the Internet. Check out who the most popular acts are on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, or Periscope. After all, Justin Bieber was originally just some kid on YouTube.

As you start to sort through possible names for your next endorsement, keep in mind that it is imperative for you to select a performer or athlete who is relevant to your brand and its target audience. You sell athletic wear, shoes, or safety gear? A sports figure is a no-brainer. Is your athletic wear targeted to women? A female athlete is even more relevant. Think specific, and choose a figure who will strike a chord with your particular consumer. Of course, you don’t have to be that literal in your endorsements. An athlete could just as easily endorse a fast car or a healthy food. The point is that your audience clearly understands the relationship you are drawing and the marketing campaign makes sense.

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