The Master Report: Adding a melodious spin to your marketing dollars

This was a sponsored post by Spotify under the Master Report series. 

While new advertising formats and channels continually emerge, the timeless principle of people is still the most important thing of all in today’s advertising world. Companies now have to craft content not only for traditional advertising media such as TV and radio, but also need to cater for audiences on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

As such, to be more seamless in their marketing tactics, brand marketers are embracing partnerships with today’s prominent influencers and celebrities – be it musicians, television stars or movie stars. Influencer and celebrity engagement can be very effective in shaping how brands are perceived in the marketplace and creating the right kind of content.

There is no doubt that brands who know how to use these celebrities and influencers in promoting their products and services are able to enjoy the amplification effect. But, of course, choosing the right content partner, in this case a celebrity, for creating a social post or a musical execution, is crucial.

If you are choosing to work with a celebrity, Henric Sark, country managing director at L’Oréal Singapore, said brand persona, the embodiment of a brand’s DNA, needs to match that of the celebrity. He added that seeing these celebrities, consumers will also feel they are putting on aspects of that persona when they use the brand’s products.

Hence, he said, celebrities should be an extension of this brand persona which serves to build into a cohesive storytelling of what the brand is, and even bringing something disruptively fresh and exciting.

Some celebrities, with the right target audience and their own sphere of influence, will also be a strong fit for social platforms that engage consumers. “The right celebrity will be an amplification of the brand,” he said.

For the L’Oréal Group, to select the right celebrity or influencer, the company puts in place a robust internal process and a range of criteria.

These include the celebrities’ public image, personality, styling and photogenic level, language and speaking skills, endorsements with other brands or with competitors, the ability to connect to consumers and the causes they support to name a few.

“The countries (in which L’Oréal operates) are also empowered to propose celebrities which are then validated by the worldwide brand teams,” Sark said.

Meanwhile, Gianluca Ferrante, head of marketing and trade marketing for Asia Pacifi c, excluding Japan, at Evian Volvic International, echoed a similar sentiment as Sark on choosing the right ambassadors and content creators. Ferrante said its brand looks for “someone who is true to, and embodies the personality of the brand” so the content produced will be authentic. Recently, the mineral water brand under Danone engaged the youngest-ever world MMA champion Angela Lee as its brand ambassador in June 2017.

Speaking on the rationale of choosing Lee, Ferrante said: “Volvic Natural Mineral Water is a brand about grit, courage and facing one’s challenges head-on given its volcanic origins. A brand ambassador should have a positive imagery, credibility as a key opinion leader and reach to the appropriate group of target audience for the brand.”

However, he explained it isn’t always easy to strike a balance between a good target audience reach and brand fit while trying to cut through the content clutter.

And if you think getting the right influencer or celebrity would be a sure shot to your campaign’s success, you could be wrong, said Jeremy Heng, chief strategy officer at Havas Media Singapore.

What to look out for when selecting the right content creators and curators

Brand fit: The right starting point has to begin with the brand, and not the celebrity. Heng said: “Only when armed with clarity on the brand’s strategy and consumer insight can an ideal candidate be identified as a potential endorser or influencer.”

These influencers and content creators need to hold the same values and purpose as the brand.

“Do they exhibit complementing attributes with the product? Is the endorser a personification of what the brand intends to stand for?” he asks. Clearly, what matters more than the endorser’s follower count is also whether he or she can be counted on to consistently and genuinely act as an ambassador for the brand.

Authenticity: Authenticity is definitely key to creating the right content. When curating the right content, this is also vital as the right content chosen can inspire and set the right mood. Audiences today are generally accepting of the commercial relationships between brands and content creators/curators, but they become highly sensitised and cynical if they perceive those relationships to be primarily transactional and opportunistic.

“There is also a challenge in finding freshness and ingenuity to prevent consumer fatigue as more celebrities undertake a broad range of endorsements, risking over-exposure or lack of interest from the consumer,” Sark said.

Questions to ask include:

  • Does the endorser invest time and effort in pursuing the activity the brand is interested in associating with?
  • Does he or she create and curate the right kind of content that ties back to the values of the brand?
  • Does the endorser receive respect and admiration for their opinions and perspectives?
  • Does the content inspire and add value to the consumer’s life?

Timing: The right timing for effective brand engagement is at the moment of intent. When embarking on content marketing, the content created should tie in with issues relevant to the consumers to really resonate with their target audience.

In summary, finding the ideal celebrity endorser who can be the face of the brand as well as create authentic content requires an assessment that goes beyond popularity. By using the brand’s DNA as a compass in navigating celebrity endorsement strategies, more meaningful connections and content can be forged between the brand and its communities.

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