The modern way to promote your brand, products or services

The modern way to promote your brand

According to entrepreneur Jackie Fast, traditional forms of advertising no longer carry as much clout as sponsorship and partnerships. But there are still risks attached.

Sponsorship has been outpacing the growth in advertising spending since the financial crisis of 2008. This proves that collaborations are more successful than traditional, standalone advertising. The ability to link up with another partner ‘ be that a brand or celebrity ‘ is certainly viewed as being the most powerful tool for promoting your business in the 21st century. 

Customers are savvier than ever and will not be fooled easily, no matter how creative an advertising campaign appears to be on the surface. Compounding that is the sheer volume of ads we witness nowadays. Americans are exposed to up to 10,000 marketing messages each day. And it is partnerships which best cut through this clutter. Designed correctly, talent partnerships can propel a brand. Conversely, the wrong partnership can be devastating.

Talent partnerships gone wrong

That said, however, not all dollars are spent wisely. Despite many successful partnerships, there have also been an abundance of failed collaborations. While most of these go unnoticed by the public, the amount of money spent by the brand certainly hasn’t. 

From Kodak‘s partnership with Lady Gaga, to Ariana Grande’s launch of a Starbucks‘ drink ‘ these are two examples of how brands can get talent partnerships completely wrong. And it is all because of a lack of understanding of objectives.

All brands are keen to achieve national or global awareness. Yet many brands don’t truly understand what is driving the talent ‘ besides cash. This leads to vegans launching non-vegan drinks (such as Ariana Grande and Starbucks), while musician Alicia Keys launched a makeup brand despite publicly denouncing makeup. 

One shot, so it better be perfect

Unfortunately, brands often only get one attempt at achieving a successful partnership. This is due to limited brand budgets and only so much space in the option pool for equity. But even if there was an unlimited budget, and lots of equity to give away, customers are unlikely to be fooled. Customers seek authenticity. If a brand even alludes to selling out, customers will leave it in droves. To create a truly successful talent partnership, there are five vital considerations to take into account:

Consult an expert

Too often I see brands relying on their best celebrity customer for promoting products. While this certainly ensures authenticity, it often loses out in other areas. There is more to creating a talent partnership than the love of a brand. If you are going to give equity or cash to a celebrity, you want to ensure that you receive as much bang for your buck as you can. 

Although advertising and PR agencies usually understand brand objectives and reach, they do not necessarily have the experience in the relevant niche areas to carve out a deal. Always seek out someone who has delivered talent partnerships in the past. This will ensure that your brand tops the bill, because the ideal candidate has been approached, enticed and offered the right deal.

Align objectives

I always tell people that the moment a celebrity signs a contract, this will be the day when they are most engaged with your brand or product. Every day thereafter, they become less interested and more distracted. This is because their main focus ‘ in other words their ‘day job’ ‘ is about appearing in movies, or being booked for gigs, or winning Olympic gold medals. This remains their number one source of income, as well as passion.

So look beyond the cash, when trying to understand what really drives them. The more passionate they are about what your brand stands for, the more effective the partnership will be long term.

Understanding the rules

Celebrities can offer more than simply posting messages about your brand to their followers. However, if that’s all you require from them, then perhaps you should just pay them for their posts, rather than through equity or royalties. But if you’re ambitions are more long-term, then you need to create a very clear service agreement. 

You must be clear about what exactly you want them to do, rather than simply asking them to post messages about the brand. You need to be specific about the posting of messages, such as ‘how many’, ‘what angle’ and ‘when best to deliver’.

The more detailed you are, the better understanding both sides will have regarding the needs of the partnership. Everything sounds easy on paper, but if the delivery is vague, you are more likely to be left disappointed and underwhelmed by the entire experience.

Have a plan

Don’t just sign a celebrity to your brand and hope for the best. Be clear about what you need from the outset. If arranging a photoshoot, then create as much content as you can by insisting on having as many changes of outfit that time allows. Utilise them for every single second they are in your company. This enables you to stockpile content which can be drip fed to your customers, thus illustrating consistent engagement. 

As a reminder, any brand partnership will not always be upper most in the mind of your ‘star’ when they are slap bang in the middle of shooting a movie. When they are spending 16 hours a day on a film set, the last thing they want to do is attend some function ‘ even virtually. Therefore, it’s best to cash-in on their profile and publicity when the movie is released to the general public.

Measure, track and vest

Along with objectives, there should be a clear measurement in place to track how successful any partnership is. Is it satisfying the purpose of the investment? I also recommend the need for a ‘fall back agreement’ to ensure everyone continues putting in the effort for the duration of the deal.

Jackie Fast
Jackie Fast

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