By Rita Tateel of The Celebrity Source
Celebrities can bring visibility, credibility and attract lots of media attention to a cause marketing campaign. Celebrities can also be very demanding and difficult to work with.
Successfully contacting, negotiating, and working with celebrities requires critical research and specialized rules of protocol. After working with hundreds of celebrities from film, television, music, sports and fashion making matches for causes like American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, Design Industry Fighting AIDS and Charleston Animal Society, with corporate partners such as Disney, Dow, Energizer and Purina, here are my top, hard-earned tips for working with celebrities:
1) Put Yourself in a Star’s Shoes
Before you ask a celebrity to participate in a project, PR campaign, or special event, ask yourself this question as though you were that celebrity, “What’s in it for me; why should I do this?”
We would all like to think that celebrities get involved with cause-related marketing campaigns because they really care about the cause. While this can be a contributing reason (especially if they were personally touched by the cause themselves), most celebs are motivated by other factors. If you have money, it’s a great motivator. But when budgets are slim-to-none, great perks and gifts can go far in getting a celebrity to say “yes.”
Other motivators can include media exposure (especially if they are promoting something else), personal interest in the activity or sport, personal connections to the city, a desire to change one’s image, the fun/exclusivity of the event, who else is attending, or because of who asked them.
2) Make A List
Once a celebrity has agreed to participate, make a list of absolutely everything he or she might want to know and do—every question this personality might have—from arrival to departure. Then list of all your answers.
Celebrities and their representatives can become very demanding and difficult to work with if the celebrity feels insecure about his or her involvement. The best way to help make celebrities (and their representatives) feel secure is to demonstrate that you have considered every little detail and have anticipated their every question.
3) Respect Their Time
Time is a celebrity’s most valuable commodity, so don’t waste it.
The bigger the celebrity, the less time he or she has. There are so many people wanting a piece of the celebrity’s time, they have to ensure that the time they do give to a cause makes an impact and is time well spent. So ask for the least amount of time that will fill your needs, don’t ask celebrities to arrive earlier than needed, and never make them wait!
4) Keep Briefings Brief
When a celebrity advanced briefing session is necessary, determine whether it must be in person, or if the briefing can be handled by phone and/or e-mail. Of course, we would all rather meet celebrities in person, but remember tip #3 — time is their most valuable commodity – so use the phone or email if you can.
If you must meet in person, have no more than one or two people at the briefing session and make it as succinct as possible. More than an hour is seldom needed.
5) Avoid Deluging Stars With Data
Celebrities won’t want to memorize lots of facts and figures—unless they are being paid quite handsomely. Therefore, I recommend no more than 3-4 bullet points of the most important information you want your celebrity to communicate to the media.
E-mail briefing notes in advance and also have it on site, ready when the celebrity arrives.
6) Write it For Them
If you are expecting celebrities to post something on their social media platforms don’t expect them to come up with the language themselves. The easier you make it for a celebrity to participate the more likely they will.
Send them not only the appropriate links, URLs and hashtags but also send them sample posts that they can simply cut and paste into their platforms. And if it’s a tweet make sure that you leave room in the 140 characters for fan retweets.
7) Don’t make any promises you can’t keep, and keep all of the promises you make!