It’s important for your customers to be able to connect with your service or product, almost on a personal level. We tend to look for something to relate to in everything, something that speaks to us. In the areas of marketing, this cannot be understated. You are looking for a connection and in the age of instant communications, where some are often ephemeral, crafting a connection that you can harvest and make last for years to come is vital to your business surviving in the high speed digital age. So where do celebrities come into this?
Celebrities, regardless of their background, whether it’s an actor, musician, athlete or someone who’s famous just for being famous, brings a certain eminence with them and most importantly, a fan base.
Charities, for example, have leveraged this for many, many years with countless organizations pairing with a celebrity, or a slew of celebrities, to be the face of their cause and spread the word. It’s a model that isn’t new by any means but in the age of social media, and specifically Twitter, companies, big and small, are finding new ways to engage with consumers and celebrity endorsements are just one way of doing that.
Adly is an online marketing start-up that was founded in 2009, but in May of 2012, they grabbed a few headlines when they announced that former News Corp. executive and Photobucket general manager Walter Delph had been named the new CEO of the company.
“With the advent of social media consumers are able to connect with celebrities that they would not have otherwise had access to,” Walter explains on the very basic idea that inspired the beginning of Adly four years ago.
The small company, with a team of twelve, is a marketing firm that aims to “spark authentic conversations between celebrities and their fans”, all on the topic of your brand. By analyzing the conversations, Adly optimizes the results for more efficient targeting of your product/service to the right people in the right places. These two services of celebrity contacts and analytics form the foundation for Adly and it has been built from there.
“The power of celebrity has long been acknowledged as one of the most powerful ways to influence and connect with consumers. A brand’s ability to influence consumers via celebrity is considered one of the most effective ways to raise affinity and ultimately to drive purchase. Now with the power of data we can provide ROI metrics to brands,” says Walter on the power Adly and the information they can provide.
“For brands, the potential for celebrity influence is greater than ever, given how far a message can go thanks to social media and its ability to reach wide audiences,” he explains. “It’s apparent that a vast majority of consumers are using social media platforms to engage with celebrities and key influencers and this creates a space where brands can join in and benefit from the influence of a celebrity. Celebrities have the same reach as most in social television shows. The difference is that there is a two-way interaction between the consumer and the influencer.”
Celebrity endorsements can be tricky to leverage as there are many pros and cons. It is possible to go too far with celebrity endorsements, resulting in a backlash, and this is true regardless of whether you are small or large business, or even a huge global company. Take the negative response that Chanel received as a golden example. They had Brad Pitt endorse their perfume products only for the advertisements to be parodied and criticized. So, how can small businesses avoid something similar happening to them?
Authenticity is the key. An endorsement of your brand needs to be real and genuine, otherwise the cracks will begin to emerge and potential customers will be all too aware of it. “With social media, the barrier that once existed between celebrity and the public has lessened, making it possible for them to interact on a much more meaningful level and create a valuable relationship between the two,” says Walter.
“For brands to become intertwined in this relationship, the messages they communicate through celebrities must be deemed trustworthy, accurate and authentic to maintain the foundation of the relationship. When the engagement is authentic everyone wins: the brand, the celebrity, and most importantly, the consumer.”
Adly appears to be paying dividends to Walter and his team as the firm is expected to generate $5 million this year in revenue, a rise that has been greatly aided by the company’s growing analytics service and customers deciding to avail of Adly more often, rather than one-off agreements.
One of the company’s highlights thus far has been their partnership with Verizon for the launch of its FiOS Quantum high speed internet service, partnering with Boston Celtics basketball star Paul Pierce. However, Adly’s doors remain open to businesses of any size that are looking to take advantage of this potentially valuable marketing technique.