Rugby World Cup Branding: 5 Ideas You Can Learn From Big Brand Marketers

At the early Olympics, every four years triumphant athletes were lauded by having sponsorships called out (family name and native town), odes written and likenesses commissioned. These ancient versions of mass media frenzy were designed to create buzz and sing the virtues of the victorious. Today, major sporting events continue to represent big opportunities for ambassadorships and sponsors, since everyone loves a winning athlete.

 

As the world’s third-biggest sporting event, attracting an audience of 4.5 billion, brands of all sizes have jumped on board. Three thousand years later, what can we learn from the contemporary interpretation of getting one’s brand behind huge sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup?

 

 

Note that brand strategy in 2015 requires the “softly, softly”, more authentic and transparent approach for even the most hard-core rubgy fans. Here’s what we mean by that:

  

1. Humanizing Your Brand (case study Duracell)

 
2. Developing Influencers (case study Heineken) 

 
3. Adding Values (case study EY)

 
4. Thinking Locally (case study Land Rover)

 
5. Using How-To (case study Canon)

 

  

Humanizing Your Brand: Duracell’s Powerplay

First and foremost, you want a battery that lasts; not much else about a battery is terribly important. But, how do you know when the battery is about to die? Unlike smartphones, there’s no indicator screen — unless you’re using PowerCheck technology, uniquely found on Duracell batteries since 1996.

  

Duracell re-positioned #PowerCheck within the rugby event framework, capitalizing on an ideal opportunity for Duracell to emphasize both power and strength. A two-pronged approach, to put a face (and physique) to the brand, enlisted Wales and British Lions captain Sam Warburton as the muscle-bound ambassador for a digital, in-store and PR campaign featuring footage from previous Rugby World Cups.

 

 

  

 

  

On the 2015 World Cup rugby pitch, #PowerCheck technology is used to help to track players’ performance indicators, combining rucks, tackles, carries and turnovers won during each game, rewarding those who “stay stronger for longer.”

 

 

 Duracell Sam Warburton Rugby World Cup 2015

Image via www.marketingweek.com and www.duracell.com

 

 

Alex Haslam, senior assistant brand manager for Duracell UK & Ireland, told Marketing Week the sponsorship will continue in future years and become part of the brand’s long-term brand strategy. Haslam said, “We know we’re not going to own rugby as a brand, but we’ve created something totally ownable. No other brand is talking about power and longevity.”

  

  

 

 

   

Actionable Branding Tip 1

How can I humanize my brand? The Duracell brand strategy can help smaller brands because it’s totally scaleable. Community events, county championships, school fairs, local youth sport clubs, charity fun runs and tournaments all present opportunities for associating your brand with local heroes and teams. Sponsor T-shirts, donate the local juniors’ kits, donate printing services, provide snacks and beverages for break time. We can help you find a great fit for your brand message in connection to a well-respected event, just like Duracell did.

  

  

Developing Brand Influencers: Heineken’s Heads or Tails

Former England captain Will Carling is a rugby VIP. Heineken is a big beer brand. People watch the rugby while drinking beer. Everyone gets that…but, there’s more to a tie-up than hiring someone like Carling to hold up the famous green beer bottle with the red star for the camera.

 

Heineken thought out some ways to get armchair fans involved with star rugby brand ambassadors to enhance the spectator experience, even to the extent of getting 48 fans onto the actual field to open matches, creating untold positive reinforcement for Heineken.

 

The campaign, “It’s Your Call” was created. Consumers find a unique code on the inside of special Heineken promotional packs or on a coin card given out in pubs when buying a Heineken during the promotion. Up for grabs are thousands of official Rugby World Cup 2015 merchandise prizes and the chance to flip the coin at Rugby World Cup 2015 matches.

 

 

   

    

  

To further emphasize “experiences, not just sponsorship,” Will Carling includes coin toss winners in video interviews with top rugby stars, while consumers are invited to live tweet at the rugby legends.   

 

David Lette, premium brands director for Heineken UK, told Marketing Week, “The key thing for us is how we drive the association in a unique and experiential way for consumers.”

 

 

 Heineken Rugby World Cup 2015 600px

Image via www.marketingweek.com and www.heineken.com

 

  

 

Actionable Branding Tip 2

Can a smaller brand develop influencers? Absolutely. Heineken created evangelists-for-life by rewarding ordinary consumers and small brands can, too. Influencers don’t need to be famous. Your brand’s evangelists are your satisfied customers, and they’re happy to enter competitions, provide testimonials, attend events, sample new products, appear in videos. Just begin the conversation with them and press “record.” We’ll show you how to create effective videos within budget.

  

 

    

Adding Values: EY (Ernst & Young) Connects the Dots

Appointed as the official business advisor for the tournament, professional services firm EY (Ernst & Young LLP) targeted a B2B opportunity outside the consumer sphere.

  

 

 Ey Teambuilding And Leadership Rugby Worldcup 2015 600px

Image via www.ey.com

 

 

Homing in on good sportsmanship values like leadership, motivation, performance and teamwork, EY connects the dots to resonate with their client base. Via exclusive seminars and publishing interviews with highly regarded rugby personalities, EY stays relevant while shining a light on their brand’s appointment.

 

  

 

 

 

Comments from proven winners in the world of rugby come from Katy Mclean, England women’s captain; Sir Graham Henry, former coach of New Zealand’s All Blacks; and Sir Ian McGeechan, former Scotland and British Lions player and coach, on topics such as “Lessons in Leadership: Rugby to the Boardroom.” It’s a perfect fit for B2B.

 

 

 Ey Sir Ian Mc Geechan Rugby World Cup 2015 Leadership

Image via www.ey.com

 

 

Tom Kingsley, sport and sponsorship director at EY, illustrates the tie-in, “On a daily basis we are asked by our clients about how to compete on a global stage…

Rugby World Cup affords us the opportunity to explore some of those issues because it is the coming together of 20 elite rugby teams all with one aim — to win on the global stage.”

  

 

Actionable Branding Tip 3

We’re a B2B brand, but small: Smaller business can mirror EY’s content marketing strategy by creating white papers, blog posts, newsletters, webinars, videos and other B2B marketing initiatives that deliver meaningful information and added value to clients and prospects. When there’s a trending event, connect to it through content. We’ll show you how hashtags are your workhorse and a strongly developed brand content strategy can help you punch well above your weight. 

  

  

 

Think Locally: Land Rover Drives the Message Home

Fact: every sports hero and Olympian began as an amateur. Land Rover plucked “from the grassroots to the greatest stage” as the theme for their local-to-global storytelling campaign using the hashtag #WeDealInReal. The brand recruited 96 enthusiastic mascots aged 7-13 from 11 amateur rugby clubs around the world, representing each competing country to run out with their nation’s team.

 

 

 Land Rover Smallest Rugby Team In The World

Image via www.landrover.com

  

    

People are drawn to inspirational stories. Among the videos created to support the campaign, the biggest hit is titled, “Land Rover Rugby Ambassadors visit the World’s Smallest Rugby Club.”

  

  

 

 

 

“It speaks to the heart of the game and I think it also speaks strongly to the brand about being authentic and genuine,” Laura Schwab, UK marketing director at parent company Jaguar Land Rover, told Marketing Week.

  

 

  

  

  

Actionable Branding Tip 4

Great idea, but we’re not a global brand. Small brands are perfectly positioned to drive Land Rover’s concept forward. As a mascot for the Welsh Rugby Union, pint-sized 8-year-old Finlay Walker at Llanharan RFC and a Hampshire local rugby club were not too tiny to garner attention from Jaguar Land Rover. Every brand can — and must — tell their own authentic brand stories one person at a time. We can help you identify and create the best story opportunities using our Story Selling System™.

  

  

 

Using How To: Canon Says You Can

 

Idea #1: Spot yourself in the stands? Official sponsor of the tournament, Canon is producing a series of 360-degree images capturing the entire stadium during major matches. In a clever interactive twist, fans are encouraged to tag themselves in the crowd via social media.

 

  

 Canono Fan Tag Rugby World Cup 2015

Image via www.rugbyworldcup.com

  

 

Idea #2: Exclusivity rocks. Canon offers amateur photographers who post the best rugby shots to shadow a Getty Images photographer at a RWC 2015 training session. The shots get featured on the official RWC website photo gallery. Who knows what special moments might be captured?

 

  

Rugby World Cup Fan Pics 600px 

Image via www.rugbyworldcup.com

 

 

Idea #3: How-to tips. Self-proclaimed “massive fan” Bear Grylls, intrepid adventurer, is joined by professional rugby photographer Dave Rogers to demonstrate angles, shutter speeds and more tips for capturing great shots like Rogers’ famous Jonny Wilkinson drop kick in Sydney from 2003.

 

  

 

 

 

Cyprian da Costa, brand communications director for Canon Europe, said that images play “a vital role in capturing the unmatched excitement and emotion of global sports.”

 

  

Canon Rugby World Cup 2015 600px 

Image via www.rugbyworldcup.com

  

 

 

Actionable Branding Tip 5

How can Canon ideas help my brand? By turning your brand marketing approach on its head. Years ago, a big brand idea around a huge event would have focused on “Canon can…” rather than “You can…” Take a second look at all your brand’s content and brand collateral, adverts, tag lines and social media to re-position everything with an emphasis on your brand seen through the eyes of your audience, not your executive boardroom. We’re here to help.

  

  

We’d love to know what you think about how to scale these five big brand approaches to fit a smaller brand size.

 

• Have you successfully humanized your brand? Do you need to re-evaluate this as part of your rebranding strategy?

 

• Are you using event tie-ins in your brand content marketing strategy?

  

• Would you like to know more about hacking trends?

  

• Have you shot and posted a library of how-to videos?

  

• Are you telling compelling stories about your brand? This is where you might want to consider brand profiling using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ combined with our Story Selling System™ to help you develop a really compelling and distinctively different brand.

  

• Is CSR part of your brand strategy? Does your brand support a school, community program or charity drive?

  

  

You might also like:

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?  

 

• Brand Sponsorships: The Best Brand Ambassadors Are Already On Your Payroll 

 

• Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude

 

Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

 

• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success

 

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

 

• CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?

  

  

Destination Branding: The Key Essentials for Success

Travel is one of the largest industries in the world, with several trillion dollars spent globally by travellers each year, and within that mix, destination branding has become an increasingly important part of the marketing strategy for locations and the businesses that serve their area’s tourist demographic.

 

Destination branding, or place branding, can be complex. There are a multitude of brand strategies specifically related to the needs of products or services – but location branding is effectively a combination of all those offerings collectively. Building a destination brand strategy can focus on several top line or key targets, depending on the area and the offerings, which may include:

  • Understanding and highlighting the market perceptions of your destination
  • Capturing the unique essence of your destination and its special attributes
  • Building on media and cultural references that link to your destination

  

  

Creating and Amplifying Market Expectations

When it comes to destinations, many people already have a certain perception in mind. Everyone “knows” that if you’re visiting England, there’s a high likely hood it might rain and the royal family with its historic associations (pomp and circumstance, events or historic locations) might also feature on your radar, and in Egypt first time visitors might expect to be surrounded by pyramids and camels wherever they go! Of course those clichés and people’s perceptions aren’t always right!

 

The first step for any successful destination branding campaign is to understand how your destination is perceived and then either change tired expectations, or amplify more unique positive ones. The expectation of the experience is all in the brand promise of destination brand, and your branding needs to really ‘dial up’ the experience that you want your destination to reflect, and be associated with, in a way that’s truly unique and relevant to your primary target audience.

 

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland, does this very well through one of their more recent marketing campaigns of the Wild Atlantic Way where you can experience one of the wildest, most enchanting and culturally rich coastal touring routes in the world. Wherever you travel along the Wild Atlantic Way you’ll find magic, adventure, history and beauty in abundance. Divided into five main sections each part offers you memories that will last a lifetime. The brand story and video are very compelling – whether you’re native Irish born or an overseas visitor!

 

 

  

Another example of a successful image-changing campaign based around expectations comes from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the official destination marketing organization of Las Vegas. When tourism declined in “Sin City” following the 9-11 attacks and a number of unsuccessful attempts by some businesses to position themselves as “family friendly,” the LVCVA developed a massive campaign called “What Happens Here, Stays Here.”

 

 

 

The branding campaign, which included a dedicated website and several brief and humorous TV commercials, worked to recapture audience perception of Las Vegas as a place for adults to have slightly risky fun with no lasting consequences. Overall, the strategy was successful at driving tourist traffic and creating a strong brand for Las Vegas.

 

New Zealand has been highly successful at capitalizing on audience expectations that were created through the worldwide hit movie series The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, based on the classic fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien and filmed in New Zealand.

  

 

  

Air New Zealand cashed in on the Hobbit craze with its safety video and Tourism New Zealand embraced the idea that their country was now seen as “Middle-Earth,” and created an ad campaign around that perception to reinforce the brand.

  

    

Aside from the country itself, some New Zealand businesses have also capitalized on the worldwide fame resulting from the movies—such as The Green Dragon pub, the original film set for the Hobbit pub in The Lord of the Rings movies, which became an actual pub that’s open to the public.

  

Green Dragon Pub Hobbiton Nz 

 Image via www.dailymail.co.uk and London Media

  

  

Capitalizing on Personality and Character

One of the most effective strategies for destination branding is the ability to define, articulate, and convey the unique qualities of your particular destination. This strategy delves into the primal mindset of the traveller – people head out on holiday to get away from their everyday lives and experience something completely new.

 

Successful destination branding is all about that tangible experience at every touch point for your primary audience. This starts from the moment they start thinking about visiting your location, possibly prompted by your successful marketing campaign, to the moment they arrive. Every one of those ‘brand experiences’ must positively reinforce what your brand stands for and what makes it different to your competitors, reaffirming they made the right choice and your destination is even better than they expected! You want them to leave ‘wanting to come back’ and enthusiastically referring your destination to friends and family or better still extolling ‘your destinations virtues’ on social channels.

 

Australia is most assuredly a unique location, and Tourism Australia has found incredible success with their destination branding efforts by highlighting the characteristics of the land, the people, and the wildlife that can be found nowhere else. The organisation’s advertising campaign, “There’s Nothing Like Australia,” uses powerful visuals and dramatic music and narration to project the excitement of Australia directly to viewers.

 

  

In addition, Tourism Australia offers multimedia presentations through their Bringing the Brand to Life website section, which explore their branding concepts and strategies through video series and a book.

 

 

Hitching Your Wagon to the Stars

Media tie-ins are a powerful branding strategy, and there are plenty of resources for destination branding. One particularly strong example can be found with the UK and VisitBritain, a tourism organisation that is working to change the sometimes slightly grey or stuffy perceptions some of the world associates with the UK, and highlight the beauty and excitement to be found throughout this stunning and incredibly culturally rich country.

  

For example, VisitBritain created an international commercial that was shown in theatres around the world in conjunction with Skyfall, one of the more recent iconic James Bond movie series. The commercial shows the evolution of Bond through various actors who have played the British superspy, and brings it all together by urging audiences to visit Britain and “live like Bond.”

 

  

VisitBritan has also launched a series of celebrity commercials, in which globally recognized Brits explore what they love about the country. Dame Judy Dench performs a spot that revolves around Hever Castle in Kent, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of King Henry VIII many wives! Other commercials in this series star Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame, prominent English model and actress Twiggy, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

 

 

  

 

  

Bringing Them to You

At its heart, destination branding follows the same principles as any other successful branding strategy, though typically on a much larger scale. One of the keys to successful destination branding is to be very clear on ‘what your brand stands for’, what makes your brand different to your competitors and to follow through on this with a very clear and compelling picture of how you’re going to fulfill that promise and meet those expectations. 

 

You’ve got to connect with your audience on their terms at a very personal level, maintain consistency through every aspect of your branding – from the distillation of your branding promise throughout, to your brand experience at every customer touch point and how everything ‘looks and feels’ from a brand style perspective. It must all look and feel like it all unmistakably comes from the same ‘stable’ and be irresistible to your primary target customer in a way that’s truly relevant to them.

 

What do you think?

 

• How does your potential audience currently perceive your destination?

 

• What are the perceptions you’re looking to create for your market?

 

• How can you develop an expectation of your unique experience, and follow through on your brand promise?

 

• What makes your destination unique and worth visiting and how can you leverage that more powerfully?

 

• Are there any global media tie-ins you can connect with your destination brand?

 

 

Rebranding : How To Do It Successfully and Avoid Pitfalls

One of the world’s biggest brands – Coca Cola – has done it eleven times, albeit in a largely evolutionary manner, since selling their first sugar-laden fizzy drink in its now-iconic bottle. Thousands of other very successful well knows brands have also done it over the decades. It’s a critical and strategic part of all successful businesses regardless of size, be they global giants or much loved more local national players. If a brand wants to stay relevant and connected then rebranding is an essential part of its continued success.

 

The degree of change in rebranding can take many forms from a gentle evolutionary update to a radical overhaul, the decisions for which are driven by strategic business objectives. Done correctly, whether evolutionary or radical in nature, rebranding can have a hugely positive impact on the bottom line, and be responsible for driving a significant increase in a business’s profitability.

  

Equally, a poorly thought out rebranding strategy can pose serious risks to your business resulting in loss of credibility, brand equity and the hard won brand asset value which you’ve painstakingly built up over the years. Successful rebranding must be given careful thought, research and planning to ensure the successful results desired.

   

To give you some further insights into both the ‘hows’, ‘dos’ and ‘donts’ of rebranding we’ve included some examples in this article, which will provide you with some direction, if considering rebranding in your business. Disasters and successes are both learning tools when analysed from an informed perspective, there are always invaluable lessons here for us all!

 

 

Top 3 Reasons to Rebrand

1. Brand Evolution : Over Time We’ve Changed…

Sometimes a company moves on but its brand doesn’t. In other words, it doesn’t represent what that business ‘stands for’ or does any more. This was the case with American Airlines when its executives felt they needed to rebrand earlier this year. The rebrand included a complete re-evaluation of what the brand stood for, and how it was perceived by stakeholders, both internally and externally in the market.

 

Evolution Of American Airlines Logo

Image via Lost Press Marketing

 

Part of the rebranding process included an update of its visual icon, the brand identity, which hadn’t seen much change since its introduction back in 1968. Its important to note that brand logos are a shorthand way to remind us of a brand’s relevance, associations and reputation in the market and are a by-product of all a company’s brand building efforts over time. They are the visual aid or trigger that reminds customers of all the emotional and rational reasons of why they love (or in some cases dislike) a brand but they are not the ‘brand’ in themselves, merely the visual identifier.

  

When American Airlines analysed its brand logo in the context of what the brand stood for now in the current market, the old symbol wasn’t seen to meet current needs or communicate the core brand message any longer. America’s number one airline needed a more streamlined and vibrant visual image to represent the brand in its full context. They also wanted to let go of what they termed the ‘bullying emphasis’ they believed old logo represented, according to one senior AA executive:

 

“The old identity was slightly skewed to a more powerful American image. We needed to move it to [what we call] ‘American spirit,’” he said.  “That’s the side of America people really, really love. People have huge love for the eagle, but not necessarily the eagle in the downward position potentially attacking someone.”

 

 

   

2. Reputation Management : Negative Brand Sponsorships…

Brand sponsorship of significant high profile events, causes or people such as celebrities can reap immense rewards, through the association for the brand. Equally it can also cause reputation risks too, if for example the person concerned suddenly becomes embroiled in a publically unacceptable behaviour or expresses a controversial opinion or becomes aligned to something which is the opposite of what your brand stands for.

 

A simple example from the USA is a Missouri restaurant owner who’d named his restaurant after a Missouri basketball star (Albert Pujols). When Albert Pujols left the Missouri St. Louis Cardinals to play for the Los Angeles Angels suddenly ‘Pujols 5’ wasn’t the go-to restaurant in town anymore. In fact, it became the opposite, the owner received numerous cancellations, his premises were vandalized and a police cordon had to be set up to deter further damage. Sales dropped a whopping 75 per cent and it seemed as if the business was about to go bust. Indeed customers are filmed saying they doubted it would survive even a year.

 

A radical rebrand became critical to the fundamental survival of the business. In fact the rebrand required a complete name change to ‘Patrick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar’. The restaurant re-established itself successfully in the market with the rebrand and most importantly, in the minds of its target market, enabling the business to grow again profitably.

 

Unfortunately, in the case of US family-run firm ‘Ms & Mrs’ their brand wasn’t just broke but demolished – thanks to a much-anticipated promotion in a TV show which turned out to be a definite brand breaker as opposed to booster. The presenter on the ABC talk show, mispronounced the name of their company to Mr & Mrs. 

 

 Mr And Mrs Emergency Kit

 

Image via Audrey Lifestyle Magazine 

 

As a result, all that much-looked forward to thousands of dollars worth of free publicity and increased sales for the firm (it provides a variety of ‘emergency personal care kits’ for for all sorts of occaions) never happened.

 

That wasn’t the only time the name had been mispronounced. Vloggers had accidentally altered it too or even had trouble saying it in the first place. Enough was enough. It was time to do something. So the family rebranded and changed their brand name. In order to avoid any confusion, they chose a new name completely different from the original and became ‘Pinch Provisions’.

 

 Pinch Minimergency Brides Kit

Image via Pinch Provisions

 

They also did a brilliant pre-name change video – using humour to make fun of themselves (and no doubt endearing themselves to thousands more customers in the process). 

 

 

  

  

3. Brand Name Translations : Bad Interpretations

One of the key guidelines to brand naming is ensuring the name and its tag line translates appropriately across different languages and cultural boundaries. Sometimes this consideration has been overlooked resulting in unfortunate connotations or interpretations when translated into foreign languages, such as the following examples:

 

A sports drink in Japan, produced by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co and aimed at replacing electrolytes lost in sweating is named Pocari Sweat (which we reckon wouldn’t go down well in English-speaking countries).

 

Pocari Sweat Ion Drink

 

In Germany the computer Commodore VIC-20 had to be renamed to the VC-20. The reason for this is that VIC in German would be pronounced fick which means (well, in English you’d put a ‘u’ in place in the ‘i’).

 

The American SciFi channel wanted a new text friendly name. Unfortunately they choose SyFy which in many countries turned out to be slang for syphilis.

 

Online marketing company PinCrusher used to be known as PinBot – until they realised the word ‘Bot’ didn’t have particularly good connotations (being associated with as a web crawler). It could also be extremely confusing considering their business was internet based and involved the selling of a Pinterest app…

 

Rebranding isn’t something that can be taken lightly. It needs to be strategically driven and supported by considerable market research to find out what’s working, what isn’t. Most importantly new potential rebrand approaches should also be ‘tested’ and researched, before full development and launch to market, to get feedback and ensure target audience ‘buy in’. Make sure you find out and know where and why to keep the good stuff, and bin the out of date or compromised, to ensure your rebrand launch is successful and increases your profitability.

 

• If you’re considering rebranding do you really know what works well for your brand and what aspects of it could do with a revamp?

 

• Have you researched your target audience to test brand sentiment and get feedback both at the beginning of you rebranding project and again at an advanced stage of development to test your new positioning/concepts etc.?

 

 

Celebrity Brand Endorsement: 7 Tips to Getting it Right

Michael Jordan and Nike, Michael Jackson and Pepsi, Jennifer Lopez and Venus. For decades now branding giants have paid big bucks to get celebrities to endorse their brand and it’s not hard to see why. It can be a critical and very profitable part of your brand strategy.

 

 Jennifer Lopez Venus

 

From winning athletes to global superstars of the entertainment industry, the use of celebrities as brand ambassadors offers significant advantages to a company.

 

Celebrity endorsement is concerned with the strategic alignment of the celebrity brand and the marketing brand. A celebrity brand spoksperson can attract attention and generate emotional affinity with the brand in a way that may not be possible with traditional advertising.

 

 Michel Jordan Nike

 

A well-matched celebrity endorsement partnership can benefit the brand when the target audience transfers their admiration for the celebrity onto the brand, thereby allowing it influence their purchase decision making process.

 

As well as influncing the bottom line, aligning the brand with celebrity gives the brand greater access to more fans. The wider the fan base the larger the spread of the marketing message and the increased profitability of the brand.

 

 

7 Essential Tips to Getting the Right Celebrity Brand Match

 

Celebrity Brand Mismatch

In the same way brands develop a perceived brand image within their market, celebrities develop a public persona based on their professional achievements and public behavior. The closer aligned the brand image and celebrity image the better the return on investment of the celebrity endorsement.

 

Using a celebrity who’s public image, or what they stand for, which is incongruent or does not align with your brand’s message/image and what it stands for, will cause confusion and largely do more harm than good.

 

 

Damage to Reputation

The danger of using celebrities to endorse your brand is that any discrepancies in their personal life can damage the reputation of the brand. Celebrities as brand ambassadors should be looked upon as role models or inspirational people for your customers.

 

 Tiger Woods Tag Heuer

 

In associating your brand to the celebrity it is intended that their positive public image is reflected on to your brand. An athlete who tarnishes their reputation by using drugs instantly strips value from any brand they were endorsing. Tiger Woods lost millions in sponsorship deals when brands were quick to disassociate with him after his marital indiscretions.

 

 Tiger Woods Carlos Papi Baez 33778 Tiger Woods Sponsors

 

 

Brands Like Winners

Sporting heroes are admired because of their talent and performance. They are desirable brand ambassadors as they inspire audiences and positively influence purchase decisions, as long as they are winning…

 

There is a risk to brands when investing in a sporting partnership in case the athlete is ‘off form’ or performs poorly. The value of the sports celebrity to the brand is only as valuable as his or her performance in the field. The ROI often lies in the amount of media coverage they receive. A player who is not getting the pitch time offers little value to the brand.

 

Personality is also a factor. If the athelete is lacking in the personality stakes then they are of little value as a brand representative at consumer-facing events or brand-focused media activity.

 

 Brian Gillette Endorsement

 

According to a national survey, Brian O’Driscol is Ireland’s most admired sports personality, favoured by one in four irish adults. It is a combination of his performance on the field with his personality off the field that makes him appeal to consumers and the brand alike.

  

While the use of celebrity endorsers has been shown to improve brand recall, increase brand awareness and help develop brand image, the cost of signing up strong celebritiy role models as brand endorsers is often prohibitively expensive to small business.

 

Even by Irish standards, IRU players can command €10,000. for a single corporate appearance, never mind the cost of exclusive brand partnership deals. There are however a number of ways to align your brand with a celebritiy ambassador without bursting your budget

 

 

Gifting

If you have identified a celebrity that fits with your brand identity and can increase your market penetration or reach with your target audience then gifting your product to that celebrity may be a way of gaining greater exposure for your brand.

 

Neff Headware is now popular street wear among snowboarders, surfers and other boarding customrs. Unable to pay for celebrity endorsement in their early days the company sent their merchandise to up and coming influencers in the sport. When the audience began seeing the brand being worn by their sporting idols the demand for the brand sky-rocketed with the company enjoying a 300% increase in revenue over the last 3 years.

 

 

Equity

There is a growing trend of getting aspirational celebrities on board as brand ambassadors by offering them an equity stake in the company. This allows the company to land high profile endorsement while maintaining cash flow. Furthermore, the celebrity has an incentive to continue their association with the brand and continue to offer promotional support.

 

 

Influencers

Traditional celebrity endorsers were those that had wide audince recognition and influence. Some of the biggest influencers of the 21st centuary come not from entertainers and athletes but from those with a large online following.

 

 Fashion Bloggers 600px

 

Frequently bloggers have as wide and significant a reach as traditional celebrities and demand fees of far less to promote a brand. By redefining ‘celebrity’, brands can harness these people with an engaged internet following and use their online voice to fuel marketing campaigns for the brand.

 

 

Charitable Causes

Many celebrities rely on sponsorship to suplement their salary. Therefore remaining relevant and maintaing a positive public perception is equally important for their earning potential.

 

Celebrities that have had their reputations tarnished in some way often look to improve their public image by being associated with charities and non profits. Small companies can use cause marketing to find common ground with potential customers. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. This makes the brand attractive to celebrities in public disrepute.

 

Celebrity endorsement is not for every brand but it certainly broadens the potential customer reach for those that find a suitable celebrity match.

 

 

• Have you considered if your brand is suitable for celebrity endorsement?

 

• Does your brand strategy include elements that would be attractive to a potential celebrity ambassador?

 

• What do you think of celebrity brand endorsement?

 

 

Drop us a line we’d love to hear your thoughts.