Michael Jordan for Nike, Alicia Keys for IPSY for Dior, H.E.R. for L’Oreal Paris: these are just a few of the well-known examples of major companies and corporations leveraging the popularity and influence of major celebrities to garner PR for their brand. Using celebrities for PR and brand promotions is a tried and true strategy that has helped companies both big and small boost their sales, increase brand loyalty, and enhance the confidence and trust of consumers in their products. When the fame and popularity of a celebrity are connected to your brand, you can also generate positive PR for your brand to get noticed in the press. In this short article, we will take a quick look at how brands can use celebrities to get positive PR for their company, and how they can subsequently utilize that PR to help achieve the specific goals for their company.

The Importance of Authenticity and Legitimacy in a PR Campaign  

Even with the heyday of micro-influencers and YouTubers, hiring A-list celebrities to work with your brand is by far the best way to influence the psyche of your potential consumers. Let´s face it, when you hear the slogan “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” your brain probably makes the automatic connection to NFL quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. When brands are able to partner with celebrities in advertisements and other forms of publicity, this can translate directly into improved sales and other longer-term benefits.

But can celebrity endorsements work for public relations campaigns as well? And can celebrities also help garner positive PR for your brand in the news, online blogs, magazines, and other forms of media? And lastly, what exactly is the most effective way to leverage a celebrity’s brand power in a public relations campaign?

For starters, it is important to understand and accept that hiring a celebrity for an advertising or marketing campaign is NOT the same as a PR campaign. With celebrity advertising, a one-time social media mention by a major A-list celebrity can certainly help to drive short-term sales goals. With a PR campaign, however, companies are generally looking for a much more long-term and sustained engagement. In some cases, this might mean that the celebrity is featured as a type of brand spokesperson. For example, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes haven´t just done one commercial for State Farm, but rather are firmly identified with that insurance brand.

Furthermore, by cementing a long-term relationship between a celebrity and your brand, there is a much better opportunity to receive positive PR in the news. During last year´s NFL playoffs, this business news article drew publicity to the unique fact that Mahomes, the poster boy for State Farm Insurance Company, was also playing in State Farm Stadium during the Super Bowl. This was a clear marketing “win” for the company, and the added PR exposure through news articles such as these only helped to increase the reach of the Mahomes/State Farm partnership.

When celebrities feature as the representative or the “face” of the brand, their image and the values they portray “rub off” on that brand. With a celebrity PR campaign, the goal is often to have the celebrity promote the overarching narrative and values of the brand in order to increase consumer awareness and earn their trust.

In order for a celebrity to garner positive PR for a brand, there needs to be a firm focus on the authenticity and legitimacy of the campaign. The celebrity needs to know (and hopefully believe in) the major differences between your brand and your competitors. To ensure that the PR is positive and engaging with consumers, the celebrity needs to show sincerity in their message and in the way they speak about the brand.  

Let´s take the example of an up-and-coming fashion brand looking to use the influence and popularity of a major celebrity to help garner positive PR for their company. As any fashion company might know, getting your product into a major retail store is incredibly difficult given the vast amount of competition on the market. Though you could try to convince the retail store by showcasing your projected sales numbers and the originality of your designs, retailers really want to see the demand for your brand´s products and the popularity of those products amongst consumers.

When deciding what types of fashion garments and products to carry in their store, most “purchasers” for major retailers would likely be impressed to see celebrity PR directly tied to your brand. In an ideal scenario, you might have already signed up a celebrity as a spokesperson for your company. Perhaps you even offered him or her stock in your company as part of a long-term partnership arrangement.

However, even “smaller” levels of celebrity PR could be convincing enough to encourage the retailer to take on your brand´s products. Maybe you sent some free samples of your clothing to a celebrity and he or she shared a picture on Instagram wearing those garments. Or perhaps you paid for a simple celebrity social media endorsement of your brand and its products. Even a one-off endorsement of that nature can garner positive PR for your brand, and fashion retailers certainly like to see celebrity PR because it can bring traffic to their stores.

How to Use Celebrities to Get PR for Your Company

Following from the example of the fashion company we used above, you could theoretically hope that a celebrity finds your brand and decides that your fashion vision fits with his or her image and style. Or maybe you prefer to send out free samples and hope for a response. Though there are times when this can occur, getting PR for your brand from a celebrity will most likely be very similar to hiring a celebrity for other types of advertising and publicity campaigns.

Every celebrity will have their own representation, and if you are contacting them about a PR campaign, you will need to go through their official agent, manager, or publicist. In general, sending out a concise yet detailed introductory email that details who you are, what the PR campaign is about, and what you can offer is a good first step.  

Booking Agent Info is the best online resource that allows you to access up-to-date email and phone numbers for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities worldwide. Also, feel free to check out our blog for more detailed instructions on how to go about contacting a celebrity for a PR campaign or any other type of endorsement.

If you are able to come to an agreement with the celebrity and his or her representation, you might consider different strategies for how to use that partnership to garner positive PR for your brand. For example, you could negotiate with that celebrity so that he or she wears your brand´s clothing or accessories:

  • to an upcoming photo shoot for a magazine;
  • to an event or awards ceremony where the media is going to be present;
  • to a live interview on TV, Facebook Live, or other social media channels.

All of these options would generate positive PR for your company, especially if the celebrity were to specifically mention your brand.

How to Leverage that Positive PR

Lastly, companies also need to be ready and able to utilize and leverage that positive PR from the celebrity partnership in order to help achieve their stated goals. Some ways that you can do that include:

  • Telling a story: Consumers tend to identify with the story behind the brand. If, for example, your fashion company is dedicated to only sourcing organically grown, natural fibers, any celebrity PR you get should “fit into” this larger narrative that consumers can connect to and come to identify with.
  • Incorporate User-Generated Content (UGC): User-generated content is a way for your faithful consumers to share their opinions, experiences, and feedback about your brand. When done correctly, UGC can create authentic and positive PR for your brand. For a fashion company selling online, for example, they might consider creating a space on their website for users to share opinions, upload pictures, etc. If you can get an A-list celebrity to also post a positive review or experience on your UGC platform that will most certainly create positive PR for your brand.

No matter what strategy you settle on, using celebrities to get positive PR for your brand is a great strategy worth exploring. Booking Agent Info is here to help get you started on that process.