The Truth About Celebrity Branding®
A Note from Nick & Jack: This month to celebrate the launch of our book, Celebrity Branding You™ we decided to include the first chapter of the book for you to review. Although we are giving it to you for free, please don’t think that is has no value and just throw it aside. Please use this chapter to get you started on the path to creating your celebrity status. We hope you enjoy it and welcome any feedback you may have!
The Truth About
Andy Warhol, the successful American painter, said, “In the future, everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame.” In truth, we Americans love our celebrities, and we are always creating new ones. This is becoming even more prevalent in our rapidly increasing “reality” culture of blockbuster television shows like “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.” If you can become a celebrity, the world is yours, albeit hopefully for more than 15 minutes. American Idol has even promoted its celebrity judges to cult status and incredible incomes.
Simon Cowell earns a reported annual salary of more than $435 million just for the American and British version of the Idol TV show. That excludes everything he earns on the Idols themselves and their extremely successful recording contracts.
In our marketing and media agency, we have consistently seen the power of celebrity attachment to a product or service, and how it produces an increase in the acceptance and sale of the product or service a company is offering. Over the years, we have come to realize that the simple reason for this is that people would rather “buy people” than the inanimate object of a product. By using a celebrity personality in the form of an expert, it enhances the acceptance and increases the value of the product to the buyer. The buyer becomes more involved with the whole process as they begin to identify with the celebrity and everything they endorse.
Take a moment to think about some of your favorite products that are endorsed by celebrities. You have a positive impression of the product and the celebrity, don’t you? The positive impression and loyal feeling is a part of the magic of attaching a celebrity to a product.
Now, shift your vision so you can see YOURSELF as the Celebrity Expert, endorsing your own product or service. This is where the real breakthroughs of taking a proven idea and applying it to your own business to increase its revenue occur. By the way, while we would prefer you to be the Celebrity Expert for your own business, you don’t have to be. Many businesses have promoted a pastor, family member or loyal employee to this celebrity status for the business. So, if for some reason you don’t desire to be the “front person,” don’t miss out on the power that personality can bring your business.
How Can You Use This Knowledge to Help Your Product or Service Be More Successful?
Celebrity Branding® is not about becoming a “fake” celebrity. Celebrity Branding® is about discovering who you are and your expertise. As an expert in your field, Celebrity Branding® allows you to market yourself to your target market in an exciting way that produces a response that your prospect notices and then reacts to in the form of buying your product or service because you are the expert. The buyer believes in you and values your reputation. The more you can personally connect, the more value you create with your buying group.
You can increase your status from “expert,” because you are good at what you do, to “Celebrity Expert” when the world learns about you. We accelerate that process for our clients by getting the word out faster. We also help our clients structure their product or service in a way that is welcomed in the marketplace and generates the highest-perceived value.
Who Are You?
To become a celebrity brand, you must discover yourself in a unique and compelling way. You must understand who your client or customer really is and what they need from you. Without understanding this basic core of building your brand, the business structure you build will be hollow and unsustainable. Even after you are successful at building your celebrity brand, you must be flexible to change and adapt to your market. Some of the most successful celebrities of all time, like Cher and Madonna, have been the best at adapting and changing with the times by reinventing themselves while constantly delivering what their target audience wanted. They are successful to a great degree because they never lost focus on their market and always fulfilled the needs and desires of their customers.
While we can’t answer the, “Who are you?” question for you. We often help our clients find the answer by looking at the things that we all seem to gloss over when we attempt to look at ourselves objectively. Here are a few questions that will help you figure this out:
- What skills do you have that people find interesting?
- What led you to your current job status? Personal status? Financial status?
- When people refer business to you, what do they tell others about you? (If you don’t know the answer to this question, you should ask!)
- Why do your clients continually return to you and your products or services?
- What do you do when providing your product or service that is different than “what everyone else does?”
There are many more questions like this, but you get the idea. We concentrate on the things that most people gloss over and say, “That’s no big deal.” In fact, we are here to tell you that it is a big deal. You got to this exact point in your life based on a series of events, some memorable, some forgettable, some great and some not so great, but all of those events brought you to this moment in time and have had a lasting effect. No other individual in the world has the exact same story as you, so don’t hide who you are and where you come from. That’s what makes you unique! The key factor you need to pay attention to when “finding” your story is to allow an objective third party help you weed through the story, pull out the “fluff” and keep the “meat.”
We know firsthand how hard it is to be objective about your own work, so every time we write something, we always turn it over to a team of trusted colleagues, family and friends for their opinion. That is also what we are able to do for our clients; help them be objective.
What is Your Mission?
The next question the world wants answered, once they know who you are is, “What is your mission?” In other words, “How can you help me?” That’s really what it all boils down to. What is it that you do that makes life easier, better, more fun or profitable for your customers?
The easiest way to answer this question is by looking at an old marketing phrase, “Tell your prospects about benefits, not features.” To understand this concept, let’s look at a few examples:
- Open 24 hours/Come in when it’s convenient for you!
- We offer many loan programs/We can help you find a loan with the right payment options for you!
- We handle corporate law/Let us handle your corporate paperwork so you can do what you do best, run your business and make more money.
You can see how telling someone about benefits can help them quickly identify, “What’s in it for me?” This breakthrough is necessary for a person to give you the opportunity to earn their business. By telling potential clients about benefits instead of features, you take the guess work out of trying to figure out how your product or service will benefit them; you simply tell them up front!
Who is Your Target Market?
After you learn who you are, you must discover your target market. If you do not understand who your market is, then you will likely go broke trying to reach them. The reason is that in today’s business world, marketing is one of the greatest expenses of any business. To keep this cost down, and more money in your pocket, you must be able to target your market as narrowly as possible so that the dollars you allocate to advertising yield the greatest return on investment (ROI).
In selecting your target market, pick a market that you feel passionate about. If you feel passionate about your business, it will be evident to your customer, and they will feel it too. This feeling will, in turn, breed confidence in you and your product or service. Tony Robbins, the great motivational speaker said, “Live your life with passion.” Most people simply don’t do this. Too often, business people get in a rut and feel trapped in their business. This feeling drains you in many ways and always leads to frustration and unhappiness because you are no longer living with passion.
You are not alone if you have this feeling of being in a rut. We have experienced it too at different times in our careers. We have also known doctors who are tired of working with sick patients and lawyers who cannot stand the thought of practicing law anymore. Often, this is a natural progression of life, but frequently it happens because people choose their area of specialty for the wrong reasons. Maybe it was for money. Maybe it was for a family member who always wanted a doctor in the family. Whatever the reason, time catches up with them. If that is you, then commit yourself to using this time to reinvent yourself and reenergize yourself to live with passion and serve a target market that makes you feel alive and enjoy what you do.
Ask yourself these questions:
• What groups of people use your product or service now?
• Which of these groups do you most enjoy working with?
• Do you feel motivated and energized when you think of providing your product or service to this group of people?
Once you answer these questions, you may well have found your target market. If you have not found the answer, then discuss it with a close friend who knows you best. Sometimes we all have trouble “seeing the forest for the trees,” especially when the answer is right under our nose. In this case, there is nothing better than a loyal, objective observer.
What Does Your Market Want or Need?
People react to buying messages for one of two reasons -- to get pleasure or to avoid pain. Think about it. Pretty simple really, these are the two predominant forces in how we react to products or services. We want to buy a car because it gives us pleasure. We go to a doctor to get well and ease pain. If you are fortunate, your product or service can do both.
A health club, for example, might help you feel better and avoid pain. It can also help you look better and give you pleasure. To be the most successful in that field, you would be wise to help your clients understand what the benefits are, and as they are reaping the benefits, you should reinforce the benefits and the clients’ success. Rarely do business owners do this, but they should. If your clients aren’t being reinforced in a positive manner, they lose the passion in whatever it is you are providing for them -- just like you would. Have you heard the question, “What have you done for me lately?” Enough said.
Do you reinforce the benefits you offer throughout all of your client communications? In chapters 8 and 9, we will go into the various ways that we suggest you stay in touch with your clients and prospects.
You will find that we believe in using all of the many forms of communication available today, both online and in person. Personal contact does not necessarily mean “face-to-face,” although that is often best. Today, more than ever, there are many options that are very close to the feel of personal communication but have a broader reach, such as communications by seminars, teleseminars, webinars and special events.
How Does Your Product or Service Fulfill Your Market’s Needs?
The next step in your client development process is to analyze how your service fills the needs of your market. What will it do for them? This answer needs to be conveyed in the form of the specific benefits they will receive.
If your market wants to look younger, then the benefit is that your product can do just that -- make them look younger. Interestingly, the benefit must outweigh the cost (cost is a pain people want to avoid). So, if your product makes them look younger but costs more than what they get in terms of time, money or some other tangible benefit, your sales won’t be what you desire. The results (benefits) have to be worth the money invested or, even if you have the most compelling marketing in the world, your customers will not return to do business with you. This is an expensive lesson that no business can afford to learn the hard way.
Many of you likely sell a service that helps people make or save money. Our own book “Celebrity Branding You™” is an example of that type of product. If we ask people to buy a book for $25, and they make $25 using what they learn, will they be happy? Probably not, because the reader has also invested their time in reading the book. What if the information helps the reader to make 10 times the amount invested? Will that increase the satisfaction of their investment? Of course it would, and that is the balance point you have to find. Is the magic number five times invested capital? Ten times? Twenty times? There is no concrete answer, but whatever the number is that tips the scale for your market, once you find it, you will have a group of very happy clients beating a path to your door.
Remember, it does not have to be a monetary return; it can easily be a “quality of life” return. Often a person follows a favorite author from book to book. They buy not only because of the dollar investment return, but the quality of life enjoyment they get while reading the book. A key role in your job of developing your successful product or service is to find the “tipping point” on the balance beam your client walks on to begin to feel the value they receive is worth more than the cost. Then you must continue to put pressure on the value side of the bar.
If you are ready to take the next step in your Celebrity Branding® Journey, please give us a call and we’ll be glad to discuss it with you. We can be reached at 800-981-1403 or info@DicksNanton.com