Lights, Camera ... Market!
Renée Rouleau (pictured at left, with actress Brooke Shields) is CEO of Renée Rouleau Skin Care. E-mail Renée at [email protected].
It’s a fact: celebrities drive sales. For years, large companies intent on increasing sales and enhancing their image have paid celebrities to endorse their brands. But what about entrepreneurs with a small marketing budget? How can they get their products in the hands of famous folk? Here are three low cost steps I’ve taken in developing a celebrity strategy for my skin care company:
Read the news. The easiest way to land a celebrity endorsement is by scouring local newspapers for news about when celebrities are due in town. For example, many celebrities are featured speakers at non-profit charity events, all of which are publicized in newspapers weeks ahead of the actual event. When I come across such news, I contact the event chair and ask if I can provide my products (at no charge) as a gift from the charity to the celebrity. This is a win-win situation; the charity looks good for thanking the celebrity with a generous gift, and I may gain the endorsement of the celebrity as he or she uses my product.
Always carry your product with you. A few years ago, I was on a local news program talking about skin tips. Much to my surprise, a popular actress was appearing on the same program. Luckily, I had some products on hand and approached her before the show started. We started talking about her skin, and I gave her a few products to try. A few weeks later, I had my publicist track down the actress’s PR agent to see if she had tried the product. It turns out she fell in love with one particular item. We received her permission to say that she was a fan of the product, and my publicist quickly distributed a press release to various magazines. Three weeks later, a popular celebrity magazine featured the product in a quarterpage article. Soon after, the orders came pouring in. Normally, we sell 60 units of that item on our Web site per month. After the magazine hit the newsstands, we sold more than 1,000 units!
Reach out to his or her publicist. One of the quickest ways to get your products in the hands of celebrities, regardless of where you do business, is to leverage online services. There are numerous Web sites that offer subscriptions (for a nominal fee) to access the contact information of a celebrity’s publicist. For example, I’ve found www.imdb.com to be very helpful. Once you find an ideal celebrity, send a pitch to his or her publicist. If the publicist thinks the celebrity would like your product, he or she will let you know where to send the item. It’s a gamble as to whether or not your product actually makes it in the hands of celebrities, but if it does, it’s an easy win for you.
When you really think about it, getting your products in the hands of celebrities is one of the quickest ways you can generate sales and interest in your business. Achieving this takes time, patience and a lot of luck, but it can be done with a well-executed plan.