5 Ways to Maximize a Celebrity Partnership to Build Your Brand

May 20, 2021News

Are you interested in pursuing a celebrity partnership or endorsement as part of your brand’s PR strategy?

In my last blog, I weighed the pros and cons of a celebrity partnership. Although bringing a star on board can give your brand significant visibility, you also want to anticipate (and avoid) the potential pitfalls of a celebrity relationship.

Leveraging star power to grow your brand can be an extremely effective PR strategy . . . when you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into.

If you decide that the pros of a celebrity engagement do outweigh the cons, here’s how to make sure that relationship is a win for everyone: the star, your brand, and your target audience.

5 Ways to Maximize a Celebrity Engagement

Celebrity Engagement Tip #1: Choose your engagement strategy wisely.

It’s important to know the type of engagement you’re looking for, as the strategy and approach can vary widely depending on this decision. Are you searching for the next face of your brand? A personality to host a one-time event?

The most common types of celebrity PR engagements include:

  • Formal sponsorships
  • Quick appearances/video messages
  • Social media takeovers
  • Brand promotions on social media
  • Meet and greets
  • Participating in fundraisers
  • Event emcees

Celebrity engagements can be as short as two hours or multiple years. The ball is in your court when it comes to deciding how involved a star will be in your brand activities.

Tara with New England Patriots’ Jarvis Green and Steve Grogan

Celebrity Engagement Tip #2: Choose a star who embodies your brand values.

Remember Beyonce’s Pepsi endorsement in 2012?

At the onset of this campaign, the endorsement appeared to make perfect sense: Pepsi targets a hip, youthful audience, and the singer definitely embodies those values. But the brand overlooked one little thing: Beyonce’s recent participation in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” fitness campaign to fight childhood obesity.

Pepsi was unprepared for the backlash Beyonce would receive for promoting a product that contributes to obesity while also advocating for better fitness. The conflict of interest screamed inauthenticity—and people weren’t having it!

Always make sure to conduct due diligence before bringing a star on board. It’s not just about who they are personally and professionally; you also want to look for potential conflicts based on other organizations or causes they may be involved in.

For an example of a brand whose celebrity endorser embodies their core values, look no further than Jennifer Aniston’s partnership with Smartwater: Jen is clean, fresh, accessible, and smart—just like the product she promotes.

Celebrity artist Brian Fox and football player Rob Gronkowski

Celebrity Engagement Tip #3: Be realistic about your budget.

You may have the perfect A-lister in mind for your celebrity engagement, but for smaller organizations, there’s a good chance they’ll be outside your budget. If that’s the case, use their personality traits to come up with a more realistic list.

If you have your heart set on a bigger star, be prepared for some serious negotiating. You may need to propose a shorter engagement to stay within budget. You can also see if they’re open to other types of compensation, like a lifetime supply of your product.

That said, you’ll need to offer your potential partner a solid upfront deal that piques their interest and seems worth their while. In the initial stages of outreach, it’s important to convey the benefits of partnering with your brand—financial and otherwise.

Perhaps you can appeal to the celeb’s belief in your brand’s mission or their commitment to community outreach. Whatever approach you take, be sure to highlight why your brand is worth their time and effort.

Celebrity Engagement Tip #4: Know your audience.

Just because you personally love a certain celebrity doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for your campaign or event.

When choosing a celebrity for your engagement, consider the target audience for the activity, event, or campaign you’re planning. If it’s an event where kids will be present, for example, prioritize finding someone who’s good with children.

Do you have to partner with a celebrity who’s in your industry or space? Not necessarily. It’s okay to go outside your niche, as long as you’re strategic about it. The celebrity you partner with for a sporting event doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional athlete. For example, there could be an actor with a wider reach who is brand-aligned and appeals to your target audience.

Celebrity Engagement Tip #5: Build consumer trust.

Finally, keep in mind that modern consumers are bombarded with thousands of advertisements daily. They know what separates a gimmick from the real deal.

If your perfume smells funny, your customers will stop buying it—even if it’s endorsed by Keira Knightley. Gain their trust by consistently producing high-quality products, with or without a celebrity’s seal of approval.

If you’re ready to plan a celebrity engagement, I’m here to help you engage influencers on social media, plan a special event with a celebrity partner, or secure a key endorsement.

I’ll be present through the entire process, from facilitating the negotiation and signing the contract to executing the initiative and ensuring that both parties uphold the agreement.

Let’s chat about how we can make your celebrity engagement a fun and mutually beneficial experience for everyone involved.


Tara with comedian Lenny Clarke