For a brand who is looking to introduce a new product to their store, expand into new markets, or reposition their brand due to increasing competitiveness in their industry, hiring a celebrity to partner with your brand offers a tried and true strategy to connect with consumers and differentiate your brand from the rest of the competition. According to some experts, celebrity partnerships help to increase sales in the short term and brand awareness in the long term. In fact, a recent study published by Harvard Business School found that around 20 percent of all advertising features a celebrity. The study also determined that celebrity partnerships increase trust, and that brands can experience a 20-40 percent increase by using a celebrity in their marketing campaigns.

But what exactly is the best way to “partner” with a celebrity? Using a celebrity as part of your brand´s wider marketing strategy might include something as simple as a brief social media mention by the celebrity. In some cases, you might even be able to leverage that one time endorsement to drive your brand growth during an important time in the growth of your company. In other instances, you may prefer a more long-term partnership with the celebrity. Bringing the celebrity on board as a “brand ambassador” obviously will require more investment on your part, but will also ensure that your brand is associated with the image of the celebrity over the long term and will benefit long-term from his or her millions of followers.

In this short article, we explain the major differences between hiring celebrities as a brand ambassador versus a one-off endorsement.

Brand Ambassador

For companies, generating a positive reputation and increasing your brand awareness and popularity is one of the best ways to “differentiate” your company from the dozens (or hundreds) of other companies out there. While you certainly can attempt to create unique and innovative products and services, the fact of the matter is that in this increasingly competitive economy, there are bound to be dozens of other companies who offer similar products and services. Bringing on a celebrity brand ambassador can give your company authentic and credible advocates who will inspire trust amongst your potential consumer audience.

A brand ambassador refers to a person who represents and advertises a specific company. Beyond simply appearing in publicity and marketing campaigns, however, a brand ambassador acts as the embodiment of the company’s corporate identity. For people who grew up in the 1990s, the sports drink Gatorade and Michael Jordan were virtually identical in people’s minds. Michael Jordan was the “personification” of Gatorade. His aura of athleticism and determination “rubbed off” on the brand and gave the brand its core values that resonated with customers.

When a company hires a celebrity as a celebrity ambassador, the celebrity is expected to act as an expert when promoting the brand online and offline. The main task of the celebrity brand ambassador is to strengthen the relationship between the company’s presence and the customer´s expectations. In today’s screen-dominated world, brand ambassadors will obviously play a major role in promoting the company and its products/services online, and especially through social media channels. However, celebrity brand ambassadors will also continuously promote the brand through the “subconscious” publicity that occurs when the celebrity uses the product in his or her daily life. Ideally, the celebrity brand ambassador will also represent and give character to the style, values, and “persona” of the brand. This helps to create a natural fit between the celebrity and the brand that consumers will find authentic and genuine.

One of the best examples of a celebrity brand ambassador that achieves the benefits outlined above is the actor Ryan Reynolds and Aviation American Gin. This alcohol company has developed a brand identity that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that attempts to connect with their consumer´s sense of humor. Ryan Reynolds, whose comedy chops are well-renowned, offers a genuine connection with the brand that consumers can find to be authentic.

His character and personality embody the characteristics and values the brand wants to represent: humor, light-heartedness, and the importance of having a good laugh while enjoying a drink with friends. As brand ambassador, Reynolds owns a stake in the brand, and this even further deepens the authenticity of the marketing campaigns.

One-off endorsement

As opposed to the longer term commitments that come with hiring a celebrity as a brand ambassador, one-off endorsements are generally cheaper and easier to obtain for a brand. As its name implies, one-off endorsements occur when a brand pays a celebrity or influencer to endorse or recommend their brand. Again, due to the growing importance of social media, one-off endorsements generally occur most frequently via social media channels. However, one-off endorsements can also happen on more traditional media such as TV or radio.

With a one-time celebrity endorsement, a brand can ensure that a specific consumer segment will be much more likely to remember and interact with a specific advertisement. This can be an important consideration when a brand is moving into a new geographical location or launching a new product. Hiring a celebrity for a one-off endorsement during these important moments of brand growth can help to achieve your desired goals and results.

Furthermore, if your company is struggling to stand out from similar competing brands, a celebrity endorsement is sure to help your brand stand out from the rest of the competition. For example, Our Place, a brand that sells pots and pans and other cooking utensils, recently partnered with Selena Gomez for the release of a new line of products. Gomez, who is an amateur chef and the host of her own cooking show, helped give the company an important boost to help drive its brand growth targets for the new release.  

Choosing Right Options

So how do you know when it might be best to hire a celebrity for a one-off endorsement, and when it might be more advisable to attempt to develop a longer time partnership as a brand ambassador? Some of the factors you need to take into consideration when deciding between a brand ambassador and a one-time endorsement, include the following:

  • Your budget: It should be obvious that hiring a celebrity as a brand ambassador is going to require more of an economic investment over the long-term on your part. Before reaching out with a celebrity representation, make sure that you have the financial means and stability to take on that commitment.
  • Other forms of remuneration: If you don’t have significant capital on hand to pay a celebrity to become an ambassador for your brand, you might also consider other forms of remuneration with the celebrity, including equity in the company. In some cases, a celebrity may be open to representing the brand if he or she is given a stake in the company. In the best of cases, this gives the celebrity more motivation to help grow the company through his or her representation.
  • Your marketing goals: In some cases, a one-off endorsement may be the better option for a brand who is simply looking to make in-roads to a given market and need the extra boost that a celebrity endorsement can offer. A brand ambassador is more of a long-term investment accompanied by a long-term vision to help the company grow.
  • Your target audience: For both one-off endorsements and long-term brand ambassadors, you need to clearly define your target audience. This will ensure that you can find the best celebrities who offer a natural and authentic “fit” for your company. Here at Booking Agent Info, we make it easy for you to get up-to-date email and phone numbers for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities worldwide.

Pros and Cons of Each Option

Pros of Hiring a Brand Ambassador

  • Your brand will benefit from the celebrity´s popularity, reputation, and millions of followers for the long-term.
  • In the best of cases, the brand ambassador will perfectly fit and complement the brand´s tone, voice, and personality.
  • In cases of sharing equity, the celebrity may have more motivation and incentive to help grow the brand.

Cons of Hiring a Brand Ambassador

  • Hiring a brand ambassador will be a more extensive financial commitment.
  • For brand´s without significant financial capital, you may have to negotiate giving up some equity in your company in order to bring the celebrity on board.
  • When the celebrity doesn’t “fit” the brand´s style or voice, the ambassadorship may be seen as inauthentic by consumers.
  • In the worst-case scenarios, negative publicity attached to the celebrity may “rub off on” your brand and hurt your publicity campaigns.

Pros of Hiring a Celebrity for a One-Off Endorsement

  • This is usually a much cheaper option.
  • A one-off endorsement can give your brand the needed leverage during key moments of your brand´s growth and expansion.
  • A good fit with a certain celebrity can be perceived as authentic by consumers.

Cons of Hiring a Celebrity for a One-Off Endorsement

  • This option isn’t the best option for a long-term growth strategy for the brand
  • There needs to be strong coordination to ensure that the endorsement occurs at an important time to help fuel your growth targets.
  • Many celebrities may not put much effort into this one-off endorsement.

How to Hire for Either Option

Lastly, it is important to understand that the process of hiring a celebrity as a brand ambassador and the process of a one-time endorsement is obviously going to be slightly different. For both of these options, you will need to reach out to the celebrity’s manager. If you are proposing a one-off endorsement, the introductory email can essentially include all of the details of the proposal, including your financial offer, the type of endorsement you envision, and a time frame for the endorsement.

If, however, you are proposing a more extensive and long-term brand ambassadorship, the communication and negotiation process will obviously be longer and more complex. For example, you will need to discuss whether you are offering some sort of non-financial compensation such as equity in the company, or a regular salary for representing the company. In both cases, it is important to clearly outline the expected deliverables or responsibilities of the celebrity ambassador. How frequently do you expect social media endorsements? Will the celebrity be using your product or service in public so as to create “subliminal” advertising? Might there be opportunities for other types of subliminal marketing such as placing your product in a movie, music video, etc.?

For both one-off endorsements and brand ambassadorships, clear communication and a solid “fit” with the celebrity are the keys to creating a powerful and impactful marketing campaign to benefit your company.