It's not just large companies that can benefit from hiring a celebrity spokesperson. Small businesses can, too. In fact, hiring a celebrity spokesperson can get your small business noticed in a big way.
“Taking advantage of a celebrity spokesperson can be a game changer for a small business,” says Shawn Prez, president and CEO of Power Moves Inc., an alternative marketing agency that serves both small businesses and music industry personalities. When appropriate, Prez enthusiastically recommends that his small-business clients hire a spokesperson.
If the idea of having someone well known be your business's cheerleader sounds too pricy, it might be helpful to know it doesn't have to cost a lot. “Many small businesses have seen great returns on their investments by using the celebrity of local influencers in their market niches, such as clergymen, DJs or radio personalities," Prez says. "More times than not, such local celebrities won’t break your budget, and they’re often accessible and easy to work with.”
Before making a celebrity spokesperson part of your marketing strategy, it may help to keep the following tips in mind:
Find a Good Fit
Bringing in a celebrity spokesperson is no different from establishing any new business relationship, Prez explains. “The spokesperson should have direct synergies with your business. Far too often, companies make the mistake of hiring celebrities with huge names and popularity but don't give a thought to how the person’s notable achievements correlate with their business. …The best spokespeople appear organic, authentic and a natural fit.”
For example, if you're in the business of selling high-end merchandise, you should consider hiring a celebrity who's known for living an aspirational lifestyle, Prez suggests.
Milorganite is a company that creates fertilizer through a sustainable process, so hiring a gardening expert and TV/radio host made perfect sense for the company.
"Our goal in utilizing a spokesperson is to create a human connection between our product and the consumer,” says Milorganite’s sales and marketing manager Tisa Overman. “We believe that having a knowledgeable, likeable personality who relates to the target audience gives our product and organization a personality people can relate to."
Seek a Shared Vision
Jordan Fliegel, CEO and founder of CoachUp, recently struck up partnerships with well-known basketball and football players. “As a company that's created a service where athletes can find sport-specific private coaches and personal trainers, it was natural for us to connect with well-known athletes that share our company's vision," Fleigel says.
The athletes that Fliegel chose to represent his company are committed to his mission, which is to help kids change the trajectory of their lives through sports. “We talk a lot at CoachUp about athlete development, achieving your goals and the positive outcomes of private coaching, including gaining confidence," says Fliegel, who's also the author of Reaching Another Level.
When seeking a company spokesperson, consider individuals who've already benefited from your type of service. That will help make their marketing efforts authentic and resonate more powerfully with your customers.
Fliegel’s other spokesperson is an excellent example of a celebrity who's benefited from the service he's representing. “He was told that he was too small,” Fliegel says of the now-star wide receiver. “He decided to outwork everyone and seek the help and guidance of private coaches and personal trainers to push him beyond normal limits.” That drive meshes well with CoachUp’s goals.
When hiring your own company spokesperson, keep these additional pointers in mind:
- Aim for authenticity. Align your business with someone who truly believes in your product or service and ideally patronizes your business. Such an individual has knowledge about what you do and is tied in some way to your business.
- Look for enthusiasm. It’s important that the spokesperson is excited about what you’re doing and proud to represent your brand.
- Insist on impeccable conduct. Remember that your spokesperson reflects on your business, so it’s important to know your consumer base and not hire someone who might offend their beliefs or lifestyle. For instance, Fliegel choose spokespeople who conduct themselves well both on and off the field and court.
- Never hire someone just so you can say you have a spokesperson. “If the spokesperson doesn’t believe in your brand, goals, vision and mission and just wants the gig as a means to a paycheck," Prez explains, "he or she will sound fake, and the messages will come across as unauthentic.”
- Take full advantage of your spokespeople. Since you’ve gone to the expense and work of securing a spokesperson, get the most you can out of the arrangement. “Shoot viral videos that capture your spokesperson interacting with the product or business,” Prez suggests. “Viral platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are great outlets to post these videos. Local cable stations also provide an inexpensive way to run low-cost commercials starring your spokesperson.”
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This article was originally published on October 9, 2014.