How to use celebrities to successfully drive impact and ROI in your influencer marketing strategy.
Why celebrities are still relevant
We get it – hiring a celebrity with millions of followers to spread the word about your product sounds perfect, and with little effort on your part. However, if you’re looking to get more for your money, like generated brand loyalty, audience trust and product engagement (as opposed to person engagement), plus helpful data that could improve your future marketing efforts, not every celebrity is going to be the right person to work with. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work with celebrities – in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It simply means you have to work a little harder to find the right ones.
By working with celebrities who still have a large following but are archetypally aligned with your brand, you will be able to generate more click-throughs, a long-lasting and more beneficial relationship with your celebrity ambassador and audience, to deliver a fully integrated campaign that drives real ROI. The key, is to look for potential, as opposed to apparent perfection.
Just as social media has evolved in recent years, so has the desire for celebrity talent. As nano-creators have been talked up, marketers often feel that larger bodies of small-following influencers are the best way to approach a campaign – without even looking into celebrity options. However, if you have the budget for an integrated celebrity-led campaign, our argument is that you’ll get more for your money, if it’s executed properly.
When you embark on any kind of campaign, celebrity-led or otherwise, It’s important to take a step (or three) back, to think about strategic, long-term goals and try to envisage the bigger picture. Any kind of influential partnership should have a core of authenticity, be consistently transparent with consumers, and always remain compliant with platform rules and regulations. The best way to do that, is by determining your KPIs, and thinking strategically about your contracts.
Instead of a one-off spend for a single post, could the content be spliced and leveraged with paid media spend to extend the reach? Think about where else this content can live, beyond just social. For bigger brand campaigns, is there a need for the content to exist through the line? In other words, can your advertising strategy allow for engagement with a customer at multiple points (for example, the customer will see the celebrity on Instagram, watch the television commercial, hear the radio advert and be handed a flyer on the street corner)? Where will it make the biggest impact? On billboards or six sheets? What about PR? Could you add in media interviews to the contract, so that the reach of the campaign extends even further? These are the questions you need to be asking, to layer up owned, earned and paid content creation and distribution, to build an integrated campaign that really gets the most out of your celebrity talent.
It’s also worth remembering that celebrities usually aren’t known for their content creation skills, so employing a mixture of influencers alongside a celebrity ambassador is probably going to be the most effective marketing strategy and it will cover all necessary roles. Influencers will give you unique, beautifully designed assets that you can repurpose on your own channels, whilst celebrity content might be less artistic, but still get huge reach. If you want to get the most out a celebrity who has a big name and little talent in the art department, write it into their contract that an agency will handle production of content or recording of podcasts, and that way, you have creative control without losing out on mass reach.
How we’ve integrated celebrities into the influencer marketing mix
Sometimes it’s best to know there’s proof in the pudding, so here’s an example of a successful celebrity-led Connects campaign:
Lewis Capaldi x eBay
CREATIVE: Our brief from eBay was to create a celebrity-led, entertaining activation, that was truly integrated and made up of paid and owned content, that would leverage press, and increase awareness and purchase consideration for small businesses on eBay.
WHY IT WORKED: To resonate with our client’s target audience of 18 to 44-year-old online shoppers, we chose Lewis Capaldi, with a similarly broad reach and combined social following of over 10.7M. He was the perfect partner; an authentic fit as a small biz champion, who also had a playful sense of humor and laid-back approach to life.
The role of organic social for this campaign was to drive awareness and consideration of small businesses on eBay. Lewis’ owned content – 13 posts across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – delivered on those objectives, and more.
- 7M total impressions
- 1M total engagements
- 2 % ER
- £0.03 CPE
For earned media, we worked with eBay’s PR team, Weber Shandwick, to ensure the idea was PR-able enough to make a splash in the press whilst driving purchase awareness, consideration and conversion. Lewis’ support of eBay’s small businesses generated coverage across national newspapers, with a circulation of over 54 million, as well as regional, consumer and trade publications with a circulation of over 20 million.
The role of paid social for this campaign was to drive consideration and conversion for the small businesses on eBay. We worked with ThatLot, who created a series of branded edits for eBay’s social channels.
- 7M total impressions
- 1M total engagements
- 3% ER
- £2.25 average CPM
Frankie Bridge X Very
CREATIVE: We established an always-on network of tiered influencers, as the foundation of Very’s day-to-day social work. We onboarded a squad of 80 influential voices, from micro-influencers to celebrity popstar Frankie Bride, to be involved in numerous activations, inspire new customers and advocate for the brand.
WHY IT WORKED: Our influencer squad were briefed on Very’s trading priorities, along with ongoing real-time data. This enabled each influencer to create relevant content that had the best chance of surpassing their KPIs within their audience demographic. Using UTM links and Google analytics, we gathered in-depth insights to measure and optimise the impact each individual influencer – and thus each influencer tier – had on attracting new and returning shoppers, sales conversion and basket value.
- 3,300 unique pieces of content
- 130M brand impressions
- Brand partnerships across brands like Nike and Topshop.
Whilst we are not at liberty to publish overarching sales results, The Very Network generated a 300% year-on-year increase in new visitors to Very.co.uk in 2019.
Authenticity is admittedly an overused word in the world of marketing, but for us it’s a genuine cornerstone. That’s why we believe in persevering for personality, no matter how many followers an individual has. Influencer marketing should focus on credibility that’s never compromised – even when it comes to working with the world’s biggest voices.
Nowadays, customers want to buy from brands they can relate to, and that involves storytelling – which happens to be the key to authenticity. Brand storytelling needs a storyteller, and the most effective storytellers are influential voices – whether they’re traditional celebrities or up and coming bloggers. The best celebrities to work with – in other words, the archetypally aligned ones – already love your brand, and will only become a valued extension of your creative team and brand family. If you want to get the most out your celebrity campaigns, they key is to think about it strategically, building out detailed contracts that layer multiple marketing avenues and leverage a celebrity’s reach as much as possible. If you’re looking for your next celebrity ambassador, and want to go about it the right way, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help!