The power of celebrity in digital marketing
These days, you need every advantage that you can get in business and that goes double if your business is based online – in whole or in part. One of the ways in which some people are getting an advantage over the competition is by using celebrity endorsement.
But to be able to use celebrity endorsement effectively, you first have to understand what it is and why it works. There are definitely some right ways and wrong ways to do celebrity-assisted marketing, and not everyone has the success that they desire from this marketing technique, particularly when it comes to internet businesses.
We will be exploring the way that celebrity endorsement is used with marketing on the web and how you can harness this extremely powerful marketing technique to grow your business, increase sales and skyrocket your visibility.
If your business is based online or you use the web as a marketing tool to get real-world customers, then you will benefit from this information.
What is Internet Marketing?
Although internet marketing is taught in school these days, you do not need a degree to use web marketing to your advantage. In fact, most of the people that utilize digital marketing for their business got their education on the subject solely from the web. There are numerous resources out there for learning the business and lots of tools that are perfect for this purpose – like Google Adwords, social media and YouTube.
But what exactly is digital marketing? It is simply the process of using the internet to market a product or service. What that often involves is using tools like optimization or ad programs to get a website to the first page of the search engine results for a particular keyword. In addition, it covers everything from banners ads to using celebrities to endorse products and boost sales.
When it comes to digital marketing, using a celebrity for marketing purposes works a little differently than it would with another product. But to understand that difference, you first have to know what celebrity endorsement is and how it works.
What is Celebrity Marketing?
Celebrity marketing is the process of using a celebrity’s image, endorsement or use of a product or service in order to convince other people to do it. There is no doubt that people are willing to do what celebrities tell them to do and unfortunately, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse points out, that includes using drugs.
But web marketing using celebrities may work a little differently than other types of celeb endorsement. For example, those who would be influenced by celebrity endorsement on the web may respond to a different type of celebrity than the sports figures, actors, singers and entertainers that one usually thinks of as a “celebrity.”
Celebrity is subjective. Someone who is revered as an internet entrepreneur or a YouTuber may not even qualify as a celebrity to the vast majority of people. But to those within the circle, what that person has to say has as much value as what Michael Jordan or Brad Pitt might think – and in some cases more – because while someone might expect a celebrity to be found endorsing a product or service, because they are getting paid to do so, a respected internet marketer or a You Tuber is often taken more seriously.
Why is Influencer Marketing so Powerful?
The University of Michigan defines influencer marketing as something that “leverages the networks of thought leaders, industry experts and brand advocates.” This is a good definition, but that doesn’t explain what makes this technique so powerful.
A better definition might be that influence marketing leverages the power of the endorsement of a product or service by highly-regarded people to convince those who hold the person in such high regard, or “celebrate” them, to buy said product or service.
What makes it so powerful? Because the people who put that “celebrity” up on the pedestal will now do what that person says, even if it doesn’t’ seem reasonable. Cue Michael Jordan who told kids to “eat their Wheaties” so that they could become a famous and successful basketball player like him, even though the chances of that happening to any individual kid are 0.0045% which means there is a 99.9955% chance it’s not going to happen. In fact, you are twice more likely to get struck by lightning than to get a job as a sports athlete or competitor. (1:12,000 as opposed to 1:22,000)
How Can You Get Celebrity Endorsements?
There are a couple of ways that you can get celebrity endorsements, depending upon the type of celebrity that they are and what motivates them. In some cases, if you can find someone who has influence that actually uses the product or service that you are trying to promote, then they might be willing to publicly declare their preference and talk about their use of the product.
But usually, celebrities are asked to endorse products in exchange for large sums of money. While some celebrities will only endorse products that they actually believe in, others are willing to endorse almost anything if the price is right and depending upon their level of celebrity, the price might not have to be that high at all. For example, someone who is a well-known You Tuber might be willing to endorse a product or service for a very small fee, as they may not even consider themselves a celebrity.
Generally, if you want to get an endorsement from a celebrity, you need to ask what it would take for that celebrity to endorse your product and then decide if you can meet those requirements.
The Power of Celebrity Branding
When it comes to celebrity branding, there is a great deal of power in a celebrity attaching a name to a product or service. When they become associated with that product or service, people are going to think of it whenever they see that celebrity. This also works well for the celebrity in some cases, because when people see that product or service, they are also going to think of that celebrity, which extends their fame.
Celeb branding is done several ways in real-world advertising and to a lesser extent in digital marketing. You may have noticed a whole selection of craft products from the “Martha Stewart Collection” which is a very good example of this type of branding. Celebrities allow their name to be attached to the product (often because they have a financial stake in the profits) as well as their image, and many even do promotion and commercials for the product.
How Celebrity Advertising is used in Digital Marketing
When it comes to digital marketing, celebrity advertising is used in a number of ways. In order to promote a celeb-branded product on the web, web celebrities are often used. This may include those who become popular and make their living posting YouTube videos, those who maintain blogs that are highly visible and even those who have transferred their real-world fame into a much larger internet fame like Wil Wheaton, Chris Hardwick and Felicia Day. All of those celebrities are major players on the web and those who live online respect their opinions.
These three names can serve as an example of how digital marketing and celeb branding can be combined. Wil Wheaton was most famous for his role as “Wesley Crusher” on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” or his role as one of the four boys on “Stand by Me” before starting a blog and then a book that took him to the top on the web. The best example of celeb branding with Wil is the board game show he hosts on the YouTube channel Geek & Sundry called TableTop.
Chris Hardwick started his own channel using his name and influence to create a successful series of YouTube videos including one where he bowls with other celebs that he knows. Nerdist is now almost synonymous with Chris Hardwick and it is a great example of celebrity endorsement of such a large amount that the product was branded with that celebrity’s name.
Finally, Felicia Day started her internet celebrity journey by creating and starring in a web series called “The Guild” which features great comedy writing and excellent acting. She turned this into the Geek & Sundry channel on YouTube and has become one of the biggest web influencers out there.
What these three have in common is the fact that they used their name to marketing a product on the web – in this case, their own YouTube channels or series. Other web-celebs have done similar things like starting a clothing line on Etsy or making a viral meme into a profitable business.