Promoting a new clothing brand, if you do not have a lot of funds, can be quite challenging. Using social media and other strategies can yield results but take time and a lot of effort.
There is one promotional strategy that, if applied correctly, can really take your brand to the next level and impact your sales massively – in a positive. And that is by getting celebrities to promote your brand.
If a celebrity promotes your brand, you can usually be assured of instant sales. Having a brand ambassador is a very powerful way to penetrate and dominate a market. In this post I discuss how you can go about finding and getting celebrity endorsements for your clothing or fashion brand.
Finding the right fit
The first step would be to identify the right kind of celebrities that would fit your brand. Do not start thinking about A-list celebrities. That would be a waste of your time. Look for celebrities that are up and coming but have enough followers on social media channels to make a difference.
Before the rise of social media it was quite tough to find, contact and communicate with celebrities. For most types of clothing and fashion brands, Instagram is the best place to start.
Look for Instagramers with thousands of followers and who are into fashion. These days most top profiles on Instagram are interested in fashion.
Study each profile to identify which of them would make a good fit for your brand.
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Study the celebrities
Once you have a short list of potential celebrities that would be a great fit for your clothing brand, you have to spend time and effort in studying the profiles. On Instagram this includes following them and then checking out their posts and activity. Take a genuine interest. Start liking their posts and engaging with them with thoughtful comments. Understand their posting patterns and the engagement levels they are getting. Are they endorsing any brands, products or services? How are they doing it? Are they being transparent? How are their fans responding to any promotion and what are the engagement levels like? As you analyze the celebrities on your list you will be able to analyze a few right off the bat. Once you have two or three strong final contenders, you can then start putting together a plan of action to enter the game.
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Communicate with the celebrity
If the celeb you are after is not A-list, the chances are that you can contact them directly through their social media account and they would not have any gatekeepers such as assistants, publicists etc. If you do encounter a gatekeeper, be polite and patient in dealing with them. You may be brushed off initially. You may not get any response at all. Be persistent and keep on trying to communicate with them.
Start off by offering to send free samples of your product. Do not talk about endorsements or money. Tell them that you are big fans of them and that you would love to send them your awesome product. If they accept and give you an address to send the product, that is great. If they refuse then just go back to you shortlist, pick the next one on the list and begin again.
If you are faced with the celeb’s publicist, they may inform you that it would cost to get their celeb to wear or use the product. Great! Get the pricing info. If it is with in your budget, carry on the conversation. If not, simply move on to the next celeb on your shortlist. You can send the publicist your product for free to gain a favorable relationship.
Most often celebs like to receive free stuff and if they see a quality product, they will use it and may even post a photo on their account. This is what we want and once this happens, you could be seeing a surge in sales.
Be prepared for a surge in sales
When you start this process, you have to be prepared for a surge in sales. Or not. A celeb may use your product and post a photo. You may not see any sales happening from this. But most often, you will see a surge in sales. Have enough inventory on hand to handle the initial sales. But do not have too much which could end up being a disaster if there is no surge in sales.
If you run out of your inventory you could start putting people on a waiting list which is not a bad thing as it will increase the perceived value of your brand the product. If people start demanding for the product, you could even increase the prices.
Promote the celebrity association
Sometimes it may take a while before the celeb is photographed wearing your product. Be patient. When it happens and your product is see on the celebs profile or on a magazine or on a fashion blog, jump into promoting that association on your website, your social media channels and everywhere else.
You can also use this as leverage to contact other celebs and ask them if you could them send them your product. Having your products or brand seen associated with a few celebs will lay the foundation for bigger and bigger celebs getting interested in your brand and for your use all that promotion to enhance your marketing.
When it comes to getting your fashion start-up off the ground, celebrities can be an excellent resource for getting your brand’s name out there. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as picking up the phone and pitching your brand to a celebrity; if it were, everybody would do it.
More often, you’ll need to navigate the people who tend to work most closely with the celebrity: representatives and stylists. Knowing how to approach a celebrity representative (and which one to approach) is crucial to getting that celebrity to help boost your brand.
Working With Celebrity Representatives
Depending on how famous the celebrity is, the size of their team may vary – it’s not uncommon for stars with a significant public profile to have five or even ten people managing different aspects of their client’s career. Someone with multiple jobs (like Selena Gomez, for example) likely has one set of representatives for each.
In most cases, a celebrity will have an agent, a brand manager, and a publicist. You can get the celebrity representatives’ contact information by using a celebrity contact database such as this one. Each role requires a different focus, meaning you’ll have to tailor your approach according to what’s most important to that specific role.
In a nutshell, agents are responsible for finding work for their clients, whether that work comes in the form of social media, film or TV roles, live gigs, or, in your case, endorsement deals. Agents are also responsible for handling the business end of their clients’ jobs, specifically, negotiating the contract.
Compared to managers and publicists, agents can be easier to deal with: you don’t need to convince them that your brand is a good fit for their client’s image because an agent’s role is strictly to keep their clients in business and make money. As a business owner offering a celebrity an endorsement opportunity, you stand a good chance of getting a “Yes” if you go through their agent. At the end of the day, what’s most important to the agent is that their client continues to make money since agents take a percentage of each deal their client makes.
A manager’s job is to provide career guidance and advice, and managers are much more likely to look at the long-term implications to their client’s brand when it comes to deciding whether or not they should accept an offer. Managers will consider whether their client’s participation in a project is going to have a negative impact on their brand in the future. Unlike agents, though, managers aren’t paid on a per-deal basis – they take a percentage of their client’s total income, which means they can be more selective when it comes to approving a potential endorsement deal.
That means that managers can either make or break a potential deal with a celebrity; in fact, managers can best be described as the CEOs of their clients’ businesses, which is why you’ll need their buy-in on any potential partnership with their client.
A publicist’s responsibilities can include arranging interviews or public appearances, crafting press releases, or managing social media accounts. Publicists are also great contacts when you’re sending out free promotional products, as they’re typically very receptive to receiving free promotions.
How To Improve Your Chances
Each representative’s roles are varied, meaning you have to frame the opportunity differently depending on what’s most important to the person you’re contacting. With agents, it’s pretty straightforward: a potential deal with your brand will make their client (and the agent themselves) money.
With managers, you’ll need to demonstrate how you know their client is the ideal fit (on both sides) for a potential partnership. By doing your research beforehand on the celebrities you want representing your business or product, you’ll be able to convince their manager that not only is this deal great for you as the business owner, but it’s also great for their client’s long-term public image and brand.
And with publicists, you’ll need to outline how a partnership with your brand will provide a boost to their client’s public profile. Since publicists typically have large client lists, if you can get through to a publicist and get them thinking highly of you, you can also leverage their client list to establish additional business relationships with the other celebrities they represent.
Working With Stylists
You might not think of stylists as the people to contact with potential business opportunities, but for fashion start-ups, having a celebrity’s stylist vouch for your brand can tremendously increase your odds of getting a celebrity partnership. After all, who’s more qualified to assess whether there’s a good fit between your brand and a celebrity than their stylist?
Stylists and publicists are also great options if you don’t have the cash for an official endorsement deal but want to give the celebrity some free product in the hopes that they’ll wear it in public or talk about it on social media. Celebrities are more likely to trust their stylist’s recommendations, so if the stylist likes your product, they’ll try their best to make sure their client wears it in public.
Identifying a celebrity’s stylist is fairly easy; once you’ve figured out who the stylist is, you won’t need to pitch them as much on the business opportunity or the benefits to their client’s public image. In fact, your product will be all the pitch you need – if the stylist can see their client wearing it, then you’ve got a great shot at your product ending up in a celebrity’s hands.
The route you take depends on the kind of partnership you want, so it’s important to understand what’s most important to each representative and how you should pitch them. Now that you have a clearer idea of how each member of a celebrity’s team works, you’ll be able to maximize your odds of success when you reach out.
Strategizing and navigating the world of celebrity endorsements can be quite daunting. With so much noise on the celebs social media accounts you may feel that you will never be heard or noticed. With a solid plan of action and brand strategy you can surely be heard. It takes passion, commitment and persistence with a heavy dose of strategy to get that celebrity endorsement that would make a difference to your brand and lead to a surge in sales.
If you need any help with this, contact me via this contact page or my Twitter account.