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Guaranteed headlines and increased consumer interest means that celebrities have always been a hot commodity for brands.
Yet, in today’s ever-evolving social media landscape, a new type of personality is emerging.
The definition of ‘celebrity’
Since the early days of reality television, we have seen a massive shift in celebrity culture.
No longer reserved for actors, musicians and models, people now find fame in increasingly diverse ways.
In the past five years, thanks to the explosion of YouTube and other social media channels, the definition of celebrity has become even more debatable.
With social media personalities garnering millions of followers, brands and agencies are naturally looking to online channels to find faces to front campaigns and advertise products.
While some might still see a clear distinction between celebrities and social media stars, as Nick Ede, CEO of East of Eden explains, it's more about the separation between traditional and non-traditional media.
If a brand wants its campaign to reach Hello or Grazia etc, social talent will still very rarely penetrate that space. But a traditional celebrity will always make the headlines or a dent in newsprint or in a magazine.
However, with the likes of Zoella appearing on the Great British Bake Off and Jim Chapman fronting his own line for John Lewis, we are certainly starting to see the two worlds blur.
How agencies are managing celebrities
With such a huge reach, it’s no surprise that more agencies are working with influencers (from all industries).
In our survey, 74% of agency respondents said that they are now working with celebrities, with a further 12% aiming to embark on a celebrity endorsement within the next year.
In conjunction with this trend, it seems agencies are more likely to manage celebrities in-house as opposed to outsourcing expertise.
With 70% of companies taking on celebrity contacts internally, it is now becoming common practice for digital agencies.
Social media stars in demand
While singers and musicians are the most popular celebrities for brands to work with, social media stars are closing the gap.
By being able to see who their audience is, when they are watching and what kind of content they want – social media personalities are able to offer the kind of audience insight that brands crave.
As a result, they can offer greater brand relevance.
With an in-built audience on social, they can automatically guarantee promotion and engagement with a core demographic.
Popularity of one-off campaigns
With a plethora of social media stars appearing in the past year alone, more brands are beginning to work with personalities on one-off campaigns rather than long-term collaborations.
According to survey respondents, this is due to the ‘Tiger Woods effect’ – where sponsors are wary of losing out due to personal scandals or a sudden loss in popularity.
As retweets and Instagram Likes become the goal, 40% of agencies support this one-off approach to get consumers engaged with brands in the short-term.
That being said, long-term collaborations are not out of the question.
On the contrary, they can provide greater value for both the brand and personality – as long as both parties have a natural and authentic affinity.
Budget is biggest barrier for agencies
Despite an increasing desire to work with celebrities, a lack of budget is preventing many agencies from making it happen.
83% of agency respondents cited the high cost of talent as the biggest challenge, so it appears that the influx of social media personalities in the market does not appear to be having an impact.
The good news is that budgets are predicted to increase.
With 38% of agencies saying that investment will ‘increase moderately’ in the next year, we can see that content creation, and video in particular, is becoming more of a priority for brands.
For more on this topic, download the full Future of Celebrity Marketing Report.