What Pleasure Brands Need to Know About Celebrity Endorsements

What Pleasure Brands Need to Know About Celebrity Endorsements

The right celebrity endorsement could skyrocket your brand into profitable relevance. The wrong one could send your brand crashing down into obscurity. While the allure of celebrity endorsements is obvious, less obvious are the risks that come with handing over the responsibility for your brand’s reputation to a third party.

Preserving the reputation of your brand is vital for maintaining the trust of your audience. This is especially true in the pleasure industry, which is already exposed under the skeptical gaze of mainstream society. One wrong move can bring an onslaught of legal ramifications that are difficult to overcome or that drain your brand’s resources.

Before going after celebrity endorsements, you need to make sure your house is in order, meaning that your brand already has a solid reputation.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a celebrity endorsement, there are important factors to consider in your decision-making process. You need to know what celebrity endorsements entail, the potential risks and how to leverage an endorsement to get the most out of your investment.

What a Celebrity Endorsement Can Mean for Your Brand

A celebrity endorsement or celebrity branding leverages a celebrity’s fame to promote a brand or product. If successful, a celebrity endorsement can both help sales in the short term and foster long-term brand awareness. Celebrity endorsements can also help when a brand is looking to expand into a new market or launch a new product line.

A celebrity endorsement can help bring a brand instant credibility among a target audience. The appeal to the audience comes from a sense of familiarity. The celebrity is putting their reputation on the line. Because of this, an audience that already follows a celebrity feels inclined to form a relationship with the brand.

That being said, a celebrity endorsement can’t save a brand that doesn’t have a sustainable market in the first place. Before going after celebrity endorsements, you need to make sure your house is in order, meaning that your brand already has a solid reputation.

Potential Risks of a Celebrity Endorsement

Celebrity endorsements carry some risks that can be mitigated but never eliminated. When considering hiring a celebrity, make sure to consider the “What if…?” scenarios, what it might cost the brand should those scenarios come to pass and what form of crisis management would be needed in those cases. Let’s dig into a few examples of potential risks.

Overshadowing your brand: Brand recognition can get lost in the mix if the celebrity is too big and popular, or if the campaign focuses too heavily on the celebrity. Make sure your brand or product remains the center of any asset created with the celebrity.

Potential scandal: There is a saying that “All publicity is good publicity,” and it’s true that scandals can sometimes actually be good for celebrities — but scandals are nearly always bad for the brands those celebrities represent. As mentioned, pleasure brands can expect little leeway from the public when it comes to blowback from potential celebrity misconduct. Potential legal expenses and early contract termination can also negate potential profits for the brand affected. When choosing a celebrity to represent your brand, conduct due diligence and look for someone who at seems to have a good reputation.

Overexposure: Celebrity endorsements are losing their appeal among consumers. This is due largely to celebrities’ tendency to sign multiple endorsement contracts, signaling a lack of authenticity to audiences who are progressively leaning toward transparency and connection. If you’re looking into a celebrity who already has various endorsement contracts, consider how thinly they may have spread themselves, and whether they likely still have an engaged audience that trusts them.

How to Leverage a Celebrity Endorsement

If you determine that the value of an endorsement deal is worth what it costs your brand to obtain it, and worth the risks noted above, then it may make sense for your brand to pursue that deal. Once the deal is made, it’s on you to leverage your celebrity partnership to get the most value for your investment. Here are some ways to do that.

Make the commitment long-term: Think of a celebrity partnership as a long-term commitment. It may take your target audience some time to firmly associate your celebrity partner with your brand. An extended relationship is therefore a helpful strategy when you’re rebranding or trying to attract a new audience.

Build an integrated campaign: An effective campaign is one that touches the customer at every stage of their journey. This also holds true when incorporating a celebrity into your marketing. Create multiple assets that can be used in an integrated campaign across all your brand’s channels, platforms and placements.

Measure, measure, measure: Never assume that a campaign is successful just because it incorporates a celebrity. Though the impact of a celebrity campaign can be notoriously hard to measure, having clearly defined objectives and goals remains key. Monitor social media metrics, changes in brand perception, lead generation and potential media coverage generated by the campaign.

In the pleasure industry, reputation is everything. Ultimately, this central consideration will help you determine whether taking on the risks associated with celebrity endorsements is a good strategy for your brand. Hopefully, these tips will help you figure that out and reap the maximum benefits if you decide to go for it.

Kathryn Byberg is the founder and CEO of Little Leaf Agency, a PR and communications agency dedicated to sexual wellness.


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