One of the best ways to help grow a brand, differentiate your company and its products from the rest of the competition, and instantaneously boost your brand awareness amongst consumers is through partnering with a well-known celebrity. Celebrity endorsements via branding partnerships have direct, tangible, and valuable economic benefits to companies. According to a MarketWatch study, celebrity endorsements and branding partnerships can increase sales by approximately 4 percent almost immediately after the partnership goes live. Similarly, a company’s stock can be expected to rise by up to .25 percent once a celebrity or athlete partnership is announced.

In an increasingly competitive business world, however, there are most likely dozens (if not hundreds) of brands all vying and competing for celebrity endorsements and branding partnerships. Knowing how to approach celebrities and their representation regarding a potential branding partnership is often the difference maker between acceptance and rejection. How you approach the celebrity will often either make or break your branding partnership proposal. In this short article, we take a quick and concise look at best practices for approaching a celebrity and proposing a branding partnership.

The Process for Approaching Celebrities Regarding a Brand Partnership

  • Make a List of Celebrities that Fit with your Brand´s Values, Image, and Consumer Sector: It is important to identify the celebrity that best aligns with your brand’s values and target audience. For example, the hip-hop artist Gucci Mane might be a great celebrity to partner with for a brand that is looking to market urban fashion products to young people in inner-city demographics. However, he probably wouldn’t be a great branding partner for a company looking to sell children´s toys to kids under five.
  • Know the Celebrity´s Values, Preferences, and Areas of Interest: Secondly, it is also important to do the necessary research on the celebrity regarding their branding preferences and potential areas of interest. For example, the actress Natalie Portman is a well-known and outspoken vegan. For a recently launched health food company that specializes in vegan snacks, knowing this bit of information on Portman might give you more leverage when proposing and negotiating a potential branding partnership with her.
  • Make sure to Highlight the Potential for Reciprocal Benefit: The best branding partnerships will be mutually beneficial for both the brand/company and the celebrity. When developing your pitch, make sure to outline clear and compelling reasons that outline and highlight the benefits of a partnership for both your brand and the celebrity. It is important to note here that the most important benefit for a celebrity will be financial compensation. However, there may also be other benefits for the celebrity, especially if your brand coincides with certain values that are important to the celebrity.
  • Begin the Process of Communication, Follow-Up, and Negotiation: In most cases, email is the preferred mode of communication for sending your initial pitch. Keep your pitch short and concise, outlining the main points of the proposed partnership. If you haven’t heard back from the celebrity representation after a week or two, following up professionally and respectfully with a second email is acceptable and may be necessary. If the celebrity manager, agent, or publicist does show interest in your proposed branding partnership, you need to be prepared to negotiate terms and conditions of the partnership, including payment and other considerations. For example, you need to have clear and concise parameters regarding the expectation for the celebrity. Will he or she be asked to make regular social media mentions of your brand? How long will the partnership last? What other responsibilities will the celebrity take on throughout the partnership in order to maximize the benefit for your company?
  • Stay Engaged with the Celebrity´s Team throughout the Entirety of the Partnership: Once a partnership is established with a celebrity and his or her representation, it is important to ensure that both parties fulfill their obligations. The best way to guarantee this is through maintaining clear, constant, and open communication channels.