5 Ways for Brands to Successfully Use Celebrity Association

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For those located in the northern hemisphere we are on the cusp of summer’s approach. As with most seasons time brings not only a change of weather but also a psychological change. A blue sky and shining sun soothe the winter blues with summer fun, what is not to love about this season, summer brings: new music, festivals, concerts, and more.

With each of the great summer activities and pleasures lie great opportunities for brands and advertisers. But tread lightly in this arena, which involves many high-profile celebrities.

It is important for brands to be clear about their personality and values when dealing with people. Whether it be through direct sponsorship or advertising around content pertaining to a specific person or event, it is important to evaluate what association will be drawn between the brand and person by doing so.

As history shows what/whom once invoked positive emotions and had little to no negative connotation can quickly fall victim to personal scandal, sending sentiment into a downward spiral.

With Wimbledon a month out it is only right to use Maria Sharapova as a prime example. In 2016 Maria Sharapova was handed a two-year suspension after failing a drug test for the Australian Open. Maria Sharapova is a 5-time Grand Slam champion who now was being viewed in a new light.

Originally, Nike placed Maria Sharapova’s contract on hold, but ultimately despite her negligence of ITF regulations, Nike made the decision to remain her sponsor while other sponsors decided otherwise. This serves as a real-world example how what is “safe” and “unsafe” varies from brand to brand.

How Nike came about this decision is unbeknownst to the public but for any brand to make a truly informed decision it would be wise to scan blogs, articles, and social posts to analyze what associations are being made with Sharapova, then make an informed decision from that data.

This holds not only for sports but also for the pleasant music festivals mentioned earlier.

Advertisers who sought a great opportunity to placing ads around content near the grandiose Fyre festival, now may have second thoughts. As law suits continue to surface the last thing a brand may want to do is appear next to content covering the lackluster, nightmarish Fyre festival. With co-founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland in hot water advertisers must also consider the associations that will be drawn when sponsoring or advertising these individuals or their personal brands (eg. Fyre Media & Magnesis.)

Again, the solution to this issue is to scan online content or even better make use of predictive technology to get ahead of trending content. If you have ever checked out Twitter’s “moments” you will quickly learn the latest celebrity news is the topic of many twitter conversations. The key for advertisers and brands is not to be on the receiving end of this information. This data is most valuable in forethought not retrospect.

With data in advance advertisers can use this information to activate effective and efficient campaigns.

Brands and advertisers can successfully activate campaigns through these 5 steps:

  1. Be clear of the brand attributes your celebrity association brings and any negative attributes you wish to avoid
  2. Set your programmatic targeting strategy to find contextual content that associates you with the positives attributes and negatively targets the others
  3. Constantly monitor social media for trending stories around your celebrity of choice
  4. Review you targeting parameters based on ever changing content/trends you see
  5. Measure the success of your campaign by evaluating the new strength of association to the attributes to your brand set out to achieve

Through these 5 steps brands can successfully associate with particular people and events while hold true to their brand’s values and remaining safe from toxic content.

Photo: Yann Caradec

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