Did you know that after Reese Witherspoon received an Oscar nomination for best actress for her work in Walk the Line, she also received hundreds of gifts from brands trying to capitalize on her Oscar buzz? According to news stories, one of the gifts Witherspoon received was a Nokia 8801, then valued at $900.
In a brilliant fashion, the phone came with a note that congratulated her on the nomination and asked her who she was going to call about her exciting news.
Nice gesture? Of course. Selfless? Hardly. What Nokia executives did is called celebrity seeding, and you can do it, too, even if you are a small business owner and your brand is currently small. Companies have been sending celebrities products in the hopes of associating their merchandise with the names of Hollywood’s best and brightest. How do you jump on to the celebrity seeding bandwagon?
Here are a few tips:
- Do your research beforehand and make sure the product you send is something the star would want to use. If you specialize in sports and workout wear, do not send products to fashionistas like Sarah Jessica Parker and Leighton Meester. On the other hand, you may do well to send items to stars like Jessica Biel, Fergie and Cameron Diaz, who are often photographed working out.
- Make sure your packaging is memorable, professional, and neat.
- Customize your letter. If you can, be witty, like Nokia was with their “Who are you going to call about the exciting news?” Catchy, creative lines can merit a chuckle or an approving grin or two. If you cannot think of anything witty, though, don’t. Simply be polite and direct to the point. Strike the right balance between warm and courteous.
- Include some information about your service or product. You can include a single-page info sheet or FAQ. You may also include your most recent catalog or brochure.
- Make it easy for them to get in touch with you. Some celebrities write to say thank you. Don’t make them jump through hoops to send you a note. Include two business cards in your package – one for the celebrity and the other for their representative.
- Use professional cards and letterhead. This will ensure your notes inspire confidence that you are a reputable company to deal with.
- Mention the reason you gave the present. Have you noticed how much Paris Hilton loves pink? This is a thoughtful detail that can strike the right level of connection in the stars you are sending products to, provided of course that you do it right.
Celebrity seeding is a long and involved process that will not yield results overnight. Sometimes, you will have to wait for a few weeks before you receive any type of feedback. Other times, you won’t receive feedback at all. But, do not give up your marketing efforts just because you are not seeing immediate rewards. Done correctly, celebrity seeding can give your sales a dramatic boost!
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010