Retail PR & Digital Marketing

Celebrity Brand Ambassadorships: Trends and Pitfalls in PR

ChicExecs Co-Founder and Co-President Kailynn Bowling shares trends and pitfalls in PR with celebrity brand ambassadorships on Newsweek blog. Below is an excerpt from the piece.

Three Upcoming Trends in Celebrity Ambassadorships

Celebrity ambassadors might seem like an outdated public relations strategy, but this is a more established form of influencer marketing. Ambassador strategies are constantly evolving, so take advantage of these upcoming trends to make the most of celebrity ambassador deals.

1. Personal Connection

Shoppers are pretty cynical. They doubt that Carrie Underwood really uses your face cream every night, even if she claims it in a social media post. The best way to get traction with a celebrity ambassador is to forge a personal connection. Find famous folks who already use your products and love them. Audiences will be more likely to appreciate that the celeb actually uses your product, lending more credence to their claims as an ambassador.

2. Digital Media

TV commercials can get pricey, and attribution is tricky. If you need to see a return on your PR budget, ask the celebrity to partner with you on digital content instead. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok allow celebs to engage more directly with their audiences, giving you a more interactive communication channel.

3. Cross-Industry Collaborations

Who saw Snoop’s collaboration with Martha Stewart coming? McDonald’s also does cross-industry collaborations by co-creating special celebrity meals. More celebrities engage in cross-industry collaborations, where they endorse and even co-create products. The partnership needs to make sense, though, so this is a fine line—partner with a celebrity that your existing audience already follows and supports.

Avoiding Common Ambassadorship Missteps

As much as celebrity ambassadors can grow your brand, this strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. Avoid these common pitfalls to see a better return on your investment.

1. Picking Any Celebrity

You might think partnering with a big-name celebrity like the Kardashians would be a slam dunk, but that isn’t always the case. The most important thing is to partner with an ambassador who makes sense for your brand, campaign, or product. The last thing you want to do is partner with an irrelevant celebrity who will make your audience say, “Huh?”

2. Forgoing a Contract

Handshake agreements won’t cut it, especially when working with a celebrity. Clear, specific contracts prevent misunderstandings and protect you if something goes wrong. These contracts should cover the scope of work, expectations for behavior (both online and offline), terms of exclusivity, payment terms, and contingencies for managing crises or scandals. It isn’t sexy, but working with your legal team on this ensures nothing will (hopefully) come back to bite you with such a high-profile deal.

3. Ignoring Public Reactions

You’re partnering with this brand ambassador to get closer to your shoppers. But what if shoppers don’t like the celebrity or your brand? Or worse, your collaboration goes viral for all the wrong reasons?

Rely on social media listening tools and an experienced PR team to assess audience reactions. If they demand change, pivot fast to avoid lasting brand damage. In some cases, making a quick change could earn the respect of your followers, so don’t overlook the power of staying informed.

Read Kailynn’s entire blog here.



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