Brand awareness is one of the first steps to customer acquisition – and it can be a costly endeavor. So, celebrity and influencer marketing is becoming a popular route to take for immediate awareness.
With that in mind, what exactly are the benefits of celebrity brand partnerships? And how do you get a celebrity endorsement in the first place? We have the info.
Consumers are more likely to connect with a brand when they see a familiar face – especially one they admire. This is partially due to the “personal” relationships celebrities have begun building with their fans, mainly via social media: think Kim Kardashian’s app, or even Miley’s World, where the stars from Hannah Montana would occasionally pop into chat rooms.
It falls in line with the theory of parasocial relationships; essentially, a one-way friendship in which people connect emotionally with a celebrity. This happens due to the close proximity celebrities “create” – aka, using their personas and altering their language to make it seem as though a fan and the celebrity are deeply, not superficially, bonded.
With this theory in mind, it makes sense that fans feel a sense of trust; they think that their “friend” wouldn’t lead them astray and recommend something that doesn’t work or is harmful. Because of this trust, consumers are not afraid to spend money on new products – even if they aren’t backed by anything other than a celebrity testimonial or one-off social media endorsement.
As mentioned, celebrities’ brand endorsements – via testimonials, or social media posts, or partnerships and collaborations – lessen the cost of customer acquisition and building brand awareness.
People may not be following you on Instagram, but they’re following their favorite, multi-million-followers celebrity. Promote a post about your DTC brand to your couple-hundred followers, and you’ll get a few likes, maybe more with an ad and the right hashtags… but have a celebrity with 3 million followers say they like your products in a tweet, and you’re on the map as a need-to-know DTC brand.
Take Caliwater for example: a beverage promoted for its use of prickly pear extract. The DTC brand had less than 5,000 followers on Instagram… until co-founder Vanessa Hudgens started promoting it. Now, the brand has almost 25,000 followers, and they’ve entered stores like BevMo! as of early 2022.
Or what about Chrissy Teigen promoting her own cookbook by partnering with Blue Apron – therefore bringing visibility to herself (smart) by uplifting another brand (great for Blue Apron, as competition grew)? Blue Apron added six recipes from Teigen, as well; the tit-for-tat marketing helped raise brand awareness for both.
And while brand Funky Maharani relies on testimonials and social endorsements, as well as Instagram marketing that features bold colors and inclusivity of all genders, one large bulk of brand awareness came from Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever’ star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan; she wore two of the brand’s jhumkas (a specific earring style) for the show’s season 2 promo events.
But it’s not just brand awareness. A study by Burst Media found that for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, a DTC brand receives $6.85 in revenue. The ROI is hard to pass up, and it’s proof, yet again: celebrity sells.
There’s one problem when it comes to collaborating with a celebrity: possible scandal from the star of the partnership.
Jeffree Star, who is known for his regular controversies, was quickly dropped by Morphe when his use of racist language came out. DTC vitamin brand Ritual responded swiftly when Stassi Schroeder made many racially-charged comments and called her personal fashion style “Nazi Chic.” And who can forget Lea Michele being accused of making the Glee set a nightmare, resulting in her split from HelloFresh?
Luckily, these scandals did not backfire on the brands – largely in part due to their immediate responses and condemnations of their former endorsees’ actions. However, there is always a risk that a company will go down with its failed partnership.
Think your brand is ready for a celebrity partnership? There are a few ways to go about it.
First, there are many sites and platforms that charge a fee to connect you with influencers, like Upfluence and grin.co. You can also find smaller influencers via platforms like Later, which is currently in beta testing for matching Instagram influencers with brands for campaigns.
You can also work with their talent agents and bookers, who can give you an estimate for what they can offer; think the price for an Instagram post vs. the price for a tweet. Celebrities’ and influencers’ talent managers will take brands into consideration – but always at a price.
Ultimately, unless you have major brand awareness already, you’ll most likely pay for the exposure. But again, as Burst Media’s study said: $1 of influencer marketing = $6.85 in revenue. There are never any promises, but it might be worth it to throw a little bit of money at micro influencers and see what happens.
Working with Mates is an excellent option for a brand founder or brand CEO who is looking to partner with a celebrity to boost brand awareness and drive new revenue. Mates partners with brands and entrepreneurs to turn exceptional products into household names by matching a celebrity that genuinely aligns with a specific brand and/or product. Learn more about our process and how we work with entrepreneurs and celebrities.
Celebrity partnerships will continue to increase brand awareness – it’s been working for DTCs for years now, and as the influencer market becomes more and more prominent (and profitable), so are up-and-coming brands. If you’re looking to grow your brand awareness quickly, consider finding celebrities and influencers for partnerships to give you exposure – and, ideally, that divine ROI.