Star power; can it bring the star community?

-Andrew Collins is a leading social media strategist and founder of Mailman Social Media, he also consults to MGI on global entertainment partnerships.

First of all – brands in Asia love to have the affiliation with ‘star power’.  For the fortunate brands that get this connection right it can rain long term benefits (think……) but for the few brands that simply splash the cash and hope that the endorsement will deliver a meaningful result – well that’s simply gambling.  Macau is the place for that!

Some brands really get it right – beginning with Nike and its endorsement of Roger Federer on facebook.  Anyone who is a ‘fan’ or ‘friend’ with Roger on facebook would know exactly what he is up to throughout most of the year.  This results in a very positive association with Roger and more importantly the brand Nike who is driving the interaction across millions of Roger ‘wannabe’s’.  Nike make the most of this engagement by giving the fans direct access to purchase Roger’s ’get-up’ with online links to stores plus special promotions.  There is something special that connects with you when you receive on your activity feed the following:

‘I’ve got to play Nadal tonight, currently preparing with a bowl of pasta…wish me luck’ Roger

This is Federer’s best work

In Asia this disconnect between fan and star is somewhat deliberate.  Although companies spend millions on product endorsements across all major categories – very rarely are we given such a privilege into the lives of those stars?  It’s more a ‘hey I wear this product and so should you’ type attitude.  For the most part this seems to work and can most certainly drive immediate sales; but for how long?

How can a company really leverage from the star endorsement for the long term?

The stars can attract a crowd right.  It’s a fact.  So use it.

Marketers often talk about the challenge of finding the ‘hook’ or incentive to lure mass of amounts of fans to a branded community – perhaps the broader opportunity a ‘star’ endorsement can rain in is just that.  A community to build on.  The ‘Federer’ effect as the core driver of traffic and association can bring in the masses; which gives you ‘the brand’ an opportunity to begin establishing your own relationship with the consumers in a more ‘relaxed, exciting and engaging’ way.

When considering an endorsement of this nature – begin to think about ‘how can we as a brand leverage from this endorsement to create value well beyond the star’s participation?  Social media can play a crucial role in bringing together an active community to your brand which can only grow.

If you can provide more examples of a brand really utilizing eth star power to establish a community please do share.

Contact MGI for more information.