When investing in a celebrity endorser as part of the marketing plan, it is essential that the brand manager not only optimize the opportunity with a detailed plan in place prior to activation, but also have the forethought to safeguard against potential blunders that could occur.

Celebrities – and the brand campaign – can find themselves in hot water through a bad decision or a simple oversight.  But marketers should not avoid celebrity partnership due to fear of the unknown, as celebrities are proven sales drivers who strongly influence consumer engagement!

Before making that celebrity hire, check out a few more important things to consider.

  1. Make sure the celebrity understands the brand, and the ultimate marketing goals.  Having the celebrity onboard and actively participating with the brand management team will allow them to adjust in lightning speed to opportunities that come their way – whether in an interview, or in a casual conversation on the street.   This is not only beneficial in the name of consistency, but when there is a true understanding as to how great the product truly is and all of its functionality, the celebrity will be more likely to make it part of their life, increasing the chance of their everyday use of that product
  2. Celebrities may have been using a competitive brand in their everyday lives before being signed on.  Have your team look behind the scenes to see where any conflicts may occur in the future, and address them now.  After being secured for three different mobile brands, Alicia Keyes, Ellen
    DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey all three individually blundered when they tweeted from their personal phones, which were different manufacturers than their new endorsement partners.
  3. Ensure you have exclusivity with the celebrity endorser, and that you have a plan in place for what should happen when the celebrity is booked on productions or events that may have a competitive sponsor.
  4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  While people realize that celebrities are not actually the brand they are the face of, consumers are less likely to judge the brand harshly if there is a mix of celebrities engaged versus a single one that irks them for any reason.
  5. Ensure you have a recovery plan in place for blunders.  If the celebrity blunders and says – or does – something specifically negative about the brand, the brand team will need to address it quickly, that day, with a social media plan.  When LeBron James tweeted negatively about his phone – forgetting the brand was a key sponsor of the NBA, the crisis was somewhat adverted soon after by having him quickly send a follow up post stating it was a false alarm.
  6. Ensure you have a crisis plan in place for true PR horror stories.   Celebrities can find themselves in hot water through bad decisions.  Their blunders, unlike the rest of us, get broadcast around the world for all to see.   Drunk driving, trouble with the law, relationship issues, negative comments picked up by paparazzi all can derail a campaign if a plan is not in place to respond quickly to the matter.

The bottom line is that the brand manager needs to ensure the celebrity understands and supports the larger picture of the brand and its future.  The endorsement is not something that they simply show up and smile for the cameras for.  It is a partnership that needs to be worked seamlessly into their everyday lives to ensure success for everyone.