One of the biggest buzzwords in marketing last year was collaboration – and for good reason. Collaborations, when executed well, have a powerful effect on brand awareness, helping to build communities, networks and social media followings. While businesses can join forces to pool resources and make maximum impact, more and more businesses are also collaborating with celebrities and bloggers to endorse their products.
So, what do these collaborations look like, and how can we go about them?
Execute strategic collaborations
It’s vital to be strategic about the way you approach a collaboration. A good collaboration should benefit both parties, they should be like-minded businesses with relevance to one another’s audiences. Think Uber and Spotify and their “a soundtrack for your ride” collaboration – these are businesses that are strategically partnering from similar but different fields to augment each other’s products or services. A collaboration has to make sense – to both businesses, and to the consumers you’re hoping to target.
Find like-minded folk
When you can find a like-minded brand to collaborate with in business, the potential for heightened brand awareness is huge. Most small business owners remain the best-kept secret in their industry and often this is because their resources are stretched to the max. Through collaboration, resources are pooled and impact is doubled as both brands are using the power of their networks to reach out to their own connections.
The truth is, that great things happen when we work together. Artist and designer Lisa Pollock and Shar Moore, CEO of YMag®, joined forces to collaborate at this year’s Golden Globe Awards, to secure a snug spot in the swag bags received by Hollywood’s A-list. The women deliberately chose the Golden Globes as their point of collaboration, joining forces to outlay the costs associated to gift a copy of the magazine and an inspiration filled planner designed by Lisa.
Their mission was to help inspire women to live their life with purpose, build more awareness around both of their businesses and potentially snag the reach of a celeb posting or tweeting about the mag or planner. With the influence of celebrities preaching the same message at the awards – the collaboration became an incredibly strategic move for their businesses, helping to bolster their audiences with meaningful, like-minded people who resonated with their brand values.
While collaborations between businesses are a key marketing strategy moving into this year, businesses can also collaborate with individuals – and in particular celebrities, with surveys finding that influencer campaigns earn $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 spent. The art of influencer marketing has been around for decades—think Justin Bieber and Calvin Klein, Jennifer Aniston and Emirates, Beyoncé and Pepsi, or Justin Long and Apple.
When embarking on a celebrity collaboration for your business, it’s important to be aware of some of the important aspects of these kinds of endorsements.
Keep it consistent
Think of celebrity endorsements as a branch of your branding. Businesses should try to maintain consistency between the celebrity and the brand, to establish a cohesive personality and identity for the venture.
Match your celebrity to your brand
Like choosing a like-minded business to work with, it’s vital to communicate harmony between the celebrity and the businesses, i.e., the collaboration has to make sense – to both your business and the celebrity, and to your customer base.
Stay in touch
It’s important to monitor the behaviour, conduct and public image of the endorser to minimise any potential for negative publicity. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ensure that you’ve drafted a contract for the celebrity, detailing all terms and conditions of the collaboration. Make sure to monitor the efficacy of the collaboration – even though it can be challenging to measure the effects of celebrity endorsements on your brand, incorporate a system of both quantitative and qualitative measures to measure the overall effect.
It’s important to bring on board celebrities that don’t endorse your competitor’s products or those who endorse too many products. This can dilute the message you’re trying to market.
As celebrities command quite a high price tag, businesses should be on the constant lookout for emerging celebrities who show some promise and potential and sign them on in their formative years if possible to ensure a win–win situation.
Big-name celebrity not in your budget? You could also collaborate with a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers are everyday consumers and creators who have a significant social media following of anything from 1000 to 100,000 followers. They may have a smaller follower count than the likes of Kim Kardashian, but sport a highly-engaged audience who are truly invested in their story—and their brand.
Make 2018 your year of collaboration – be it a celebrity, like-minded business or humble Instagram influencer, collaborations are a powerful tool for all small business owners, regardless of industry or type of business you have. It is the connections you form with others, and the ways you collaborate with those connections, that will help you expand your business to a whole new level.