When dealing with celebrities, more often than not, you won’t be working directly with them (at least not at first)- you’ll likely start by working with one of their representatives. This could be just one person who manages all of the celebrity’s business decisions, or it could be a team of individuals, each focused on one specific part of their client’s business. When making a pitch, it’s important to understand not only the celebrity and their brand, but also the roles of the people working for them. By doing so, you’ll be able to tailor the benefits of the work you’re requesting not only to the celebrity, but also to their handlers.
Today, we’re going to take a look at three of the most prominent types of celebrity representatives: agents, managers and publicists. We’ll outline what they do for their client, but more importantly, we’ll explain what’s most important to them. By understanding their specific roles and responsibilities, you’ll be able to tailor your message to each person and highlight the things that matter most to them. And once you know how to talk to their teams, getting the final approval from the celebrity of your choice is child’s play.
Simply put, an agent is responsible for finding work for their clients. Whether that’s film or TV roles, live gigs or, in your case, endorsement deals, whatever their client’s specialty, agents work tirelessly to make sure the people they represent continue to find paying jobs. Agents are also responsible for the business end of any jobs their clients get; specifically, negotiating the contract. So the agent will be the one handling deals for event bookings, endorsements, and any jobs for the celeb.
There are many types of agents, and some celebrities have a different agent depending on the industry; for example, an actor/musician like Jack Black will have one agent for his film and TV career and another for his musical career. Even if a celebrity doesn’t have multiple agents, their agent usually has to get approval for any deals from the celebrity’s manager. Agents are al
So while an agent’s role is ultimately to keep their clients in business and making money, you do have to keep everyone else on the celebrity’s team in mind when making your pitch to an agent. That said, if the opportunity is a good fit for a celebrity, as a business owner offering a celebrity an endorsement deal, you actually have a solid chance of getting a “Yes” if you go through their agent. Why? Because at the end of the day, what’s most important to the agent is that their client continues to make money. Which, in turn, ensures that they make money, since agents take a percentage of each deal their client does.
A manager’s job is to provide career guidance and advice, and managers are much more likely to look at the long-term implications to their client’s brand when it comes to deciding whether or not they should accept an offer. As with agents, celebrities can have multiple managers handling different aspects, for example a personal manager and a business manager, but no matter how many they have, each manager will consider whether their client’s participation in a project is going to have a negative impact on their brand in the future. Unlike agents, however, managers aren’t paid by the deal; rather, they take a percentage of their client’s total income, which means they can be more selective when it comes to approving a potential endorsement deal.
For this reason, managers can either make or break a potential deal with a celebrity; in fact, managers can best be described as the CEOs of their clients’ businesses, which means they’ll need to sign off on any potential deals their client makes. But if you’ve read our past pieces about celebrity endorsements, you know there’s one thing that can win over a manager in no time at all: research. By doing your research beforehand on the celebrities you want representing your business or product, you’ll be able to identify the celebrities that are the best fit for the endorsement. And, in turn, you’ll be able to convince their manager that not only is this deal great for you as the business owner, but it’s also great for their client’s public image and brand.
While managers are considered the CEOs of their clients’ businesses, publicists help protect those businesses by managing public perception of their clients and ensuring the celebrity they represent is viewed as favorably as possible. Publicists are paid differently than managers and agents; rather than taking a percentage of each deal (like agents) or a percentage of their client’s total income (like managers), publicists usually work for larger firms and are paid a retainer for their services.
A publicist’s responsibilities can include arranging interviews or public appearances, putting together press releases, or managing social media accounts. The best way to approach a publicist with a business opportunity for their client is to frame the job in terms that are most likely to resonate with their publicist. Publicists are also great contacts when you’re sending out free promotional products, as they’re typically very receptive to receiving free promotions. When speaking to a publicist, you’ll want to outline how the endorsement you’re offering will provide a positive boost in their client’s public image. And since publicists typically have large numbers of clients, if you can get through to a publicist and get them thinking highly of you, you can also use their vast client list to establish additional business relationships with the other celebrities they represent.
Navigating these teams of representatives can seem challenging at first, but as with any negotiation, it’s simply a matter of finding out what’s most important to the other person and tweaking your pitch to reassure them that what you’re offering is a good thing. And now that you have more of an understanding of how these teams tend to work, you’ll be able to put together a cohesive pitch that’s guaranteed to address everyone’s needs.