Celebrity branding. You’ve seen it your entire life. From Wilford Brimley selling Colonial Penn Life Insurance to Michael Jackson pitching Pepsi, celebrities are able to leverage their highly recognizable faces and voices and lift the brand of just about any product or service.
While you may not be able to afford an “A” list celebrity to endorse your brand, there are other options available to you.
Did you know celebrities with large followings are selling individual tweets? In fact, in addition to “A” list celebrities (not as expensive as you think) there are other niche areas “B” listers who can reach millions of targeted followers for a couple hundred dollars.
This approach is also become widely popular on Instagram, as well. A quick online search will give you more opportunities than you can imagine.
One of my personal favorite methods to use celebrity branding is to do so by icon. Instead of a direct endorsement, using a common phrase or meme is an ever-popular method to catch someone’s attention.
On a recent visit to Pimai, Thailand, this thought popped in my head as I visited some ancient ruins. Watch this 2 minute video and you’ll see King Louie’s approach to celebrity branding…
Now, instead of seeking a direct deal with Disney, simply shooting a video on this public site or referencing something in popular culture may be enough for someone to take notice. Once you play with this concept, you’ll need to develop additional assets and seed some traffic to get it started.
Be careful, however. Associating with recognizable brands can work both ways. You’ve see this strategy used over and over again in the 2016 Presidential election. From bad lip reading videos (non-partisan and hilarious!) to images like the one below, referencing Hillary’s wardrobe of pant suits and compare her to Dr. Evil or North Korean President Kim Jong-un.
No matter how you apply this method (overt or subtle), aligning your brand with something more popular will strike a chord in your potential client’s brain. Your product or small business can apply the same rules as the major brands. You can associate yourself with someone or something more well known. Be careful about trademarks and intellectual property, of course.
Oh… and try to avoid alignments with dictators or evil characters (unless that’s what you’re going for).
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Also published on Medium.