Since I have done a fair amount of licensing and partnership work involving some well-known celebrities (and those who are mostly celebrities in their own minds), I thought I would put together a quick do’s/don’ts list for celebrity branding.
Even if you don’t plan on becoming famous, you can apply many of these lessons to the positioning of your business.
Celebrity “Do’s” when branding
–Do keep in mind your target fan base: If you want to maximize your success, know your fans! Make sure that you are promoting products that your fans care about. Also, keep them in mind for pricing; if your fans are teen girls from the Midwest, representing luxury watches that cost 5-figures isn’t going to help you to leverage your fan base.
–Do stay true to yourself: While it may be tempting to chase every last dollar, at the end of the day, you will lose credibility if you put your name on products you don’t believe in. There are so many opportunities available if you have a fan base, so don’t be afraid to pass up that crock pot that turns into a foot spa if it is not something you would personally use and be proud to be associated with.
–Do strike while the iron is hot: Not everyone’s star will shine forever, so while you should be selective based on your interests and beliefs, don’t be afraid to have multiple efforts going at once (as long as your contracts will allow that, of course).
Celebrity “Don’ts” when branding
–Don’t try to be something that you are not: Make the product relevant to your brand. Paris Hilton fashion makes a lot of sense. Paris Hilton SAT prep courses do not.
–Don’t screw it up: If you are going to get paid for your brand, treat it with respect. When you get paid as an endorser or license your name and likeness, you are now not just a person, you are an entity. Make sure that hard partying/drugs/hookers/etc. don’t come into the equation and tarnish your brand. Unless, of course, that is the brand image you are projecting and/or the types of products you are endorsing.
As celebrities continue to morph into business entities, take cues from them on what works and what doesn’t to apply to your business.