While many celebrities have tried their hand at launching their own brands, not all of them have succeeded. However, there is a select group whose brands have not only survived but thrived year after year. In this blog post, we will explore the winning formula behind the most successful celebrity brands and break down the unique strategies they use to differentiate themselves from the competition, connect with their fans in a meaningful way, and drive massive profits.
For a celebrity brand to stand out in today's ever-evolving digital landscape, it must have an identity of its own. Developing a strong brand identity that speaks to not only the celebrity's fans but the brand's overall target audience is essential for companies to thrive. A solid example of this balance is Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS brand. SKIMS finds the perfect balance between distinct product-driven imagery and content that features its founder Kim in a way that is authentic and cohesive. This allows the brand to grow beyond just the celebrity and is recognized as a premier shapewear and clothing brand among a massive audience.
On top of this, brands can create a strong brand identity by ensuring consistency across all platforms, including social media and websites. This consistency should extend to visuals and copy, while encapsulating the company’s aesthetic, tone of voice, and strong positioning. The easy test is if you were to remove branding or any logos from an image or video, is it still recognizable? If yes, then you have successfully built a strong brand identity. At its core, however, developing a strong brand identity will allow customers to trust that your product is reliable and stands for something beyond just a celebrity face, and is truly worthwhile.
Celebrity brands have gained tremendous traction in recent years, as a TON of renowned public figures have successfully established their own brands. From fashion labels to dietary supplements, celebrity brands are everywhere and many of these products have succeeded in standing out from the competition of similar non-celebrity brands by associating themselves with a respected individual or group but that isn’t always enough of a differentiator.
In order to truly succeed, the brand needs to live beyond just a celebrity in terms of the product itself. Hype can sell but the product will maintain the brand's success over a long-term period. The focus on the product is paramount for success and is widely overlooked. If you were to put two products next to each other, one celebrity-backed and the other not, what would stand out from the competitor? Recently in the news was the sale of Ryan Reynold's mobile network company, Mint Mobile which was a part of a $1.35 billion sale. Although it was a company in a crowded and extremely competitive space, Mint was clearly differentiated from other companies in that it was online-only and functioned differently from a mobile carrier as it featured flexible payment options and you had the ability to bring your own device. Ryan Reynold undoubtedly played a massive role in the success of Mint both as a spokesperson and operator but the brand itself was fundamentally set up for success due to its strong positioning and differentiation from other non-celebrity brands.
When a celebrity is looking to launch their own brand, they should strive to create products that are truly reflective of their own interests and passions which better allow them to tell a brand story that is engaging and authentic. Is the product being launched something that the celebrity actually uses and is a fan of themselves? This is a MUST in that consumers are easily able to see what is truly a brand built on authenticity and what is simply a cash grab. Keeping authenticity as a priority when creating such products helps create a successful product line and overall brand, as customers feel like they are getting a genuine experience and quality product created with passion by their favorite star.
While celebrity brands are all the rage right now, when celebrities actually become a founder of their brand rather than just an endorsement is a much more effective way to make a lasting impact and a brand that has the ability to truly succeed. The gold rush of celebrity brands is over in terms of slapping a name and a face on a product will result in skyrocketing sales. We are now in the era of brands becoming true extensions of celebrities themselves.
Consumers want to become users of brands that celebrities actually use and are authentic to themselves and not just a brand that happens to have the endorsement of a celebrity. This is not only important due to consumer sentiment but is important due to the typical channels of brand promotion has become less effective and more expensive. The cost and effectiveness of digital advertising has dwindled and become less effective in scaling digital brands. On top of this, organic reach has been suppressed and users have become less active in buying from just seeing a single post or two about a product. Instead, it is advisable that celebrities become engrained in the brand in that it is a part of who they are. For example, Vanessa Hudgens's brand Caliwater has become increasingly popular over the past year or so as Vannessa has completely engrained herself in the brand and truly acts as a founder committed to the growth of the brand from in-store appearances to even promoting the brand at one of the largest product expos in the US, Expo West. It is clear that the success of the brand relies heavily on the true authentic involvement of a celebrity rather than just the name and likeness.
Successful celebrity brands have a winning formula that includes building a strong brand identity, differentiating from similar non-celebrity brands, creating authentic products that reflect the celebrity's interests and passions, and becoming a founder rather than just an endorsement. These strategies allow celebrity brands to not only survive but thrive year after year, connecting with fans in a meaningful way and driving massive profits. As the market for celebrity brands continues to grow, it is important for celebrities and their teams to focus on these key strategies to ensure long-term success and a brand that truly resonates with consumers.