Bill Clinton: The Ultimate Celebrity Endorser

Bill Clinton

It may sound cynical, but there’s very little difference between branding a new snack food and branding a president or a political party.

When getting your message across, there are few tools as powerful as having an influential spokesperson or endorser on your side. On September 5, the Democratic Party called upon Bill Clinton to deliver his endorsement of President Obama, and it appears to have been a PR victory.

The Democratic Party’s brand is not where it was in the 1990s or even in 2008. With Clinton in office, the country was at peace, the economy was humming and the budget was balanced.

The Democrats made the decision to use Clinton as their “celebrity endorser,” having him deliver the message that President Obama was the best man to bring America back to the good old days of the 90s.

In his nominating speech, Clinton talked about what America was like when he was in office. More importantly, he defended President Obama’s record and spoke about the mess he inherited. “No one could have fully repaired the damage he found,” Clinton said referring to the economic crisis that occurred during the George W. Bush presidency.

He went on to praise Obama as a man, as a leader and as the person who will right the ship.

Clinton’s speech brought the delegates to their feet and the post-speech coverage has been overwhelmingly positive.

The PR value? We won’t have a definitive answer until Election Day, but it’s probably fair to say it was a shot in the arm for the Obama campaign.

Most brands don’t have the luxury of having a voice like Clinton’s supporting them, but it is crucial to find influencers who can endorse you, your products or your services.

For some brands, it means hiring a celebrity endorser. That kind of endorsement isn’t in every brand’s budget. The Web, though, gives every brand, even ones with small budgets, a chance to build a trove of testimonials:

  • Reach out to the online influencers. Send them your products. Link them to your Web site. Have them read your blog. A single endorsement from a key influencer can have a huge impact on a brand.
  • Use your brand’s Facebook page to solicit “likes” and testimonials. Cultivate a following on Twitter and get your message out and encourage people to re-tweet or endorse your tweets.
  • Deploy the visual. Video testimonials from your best customers and post them on your Web site, place them on YouTube and send links to them to bloggers and reporters.

While we’d all love to have a powerhouse like Bill Clinton delivering our brand’s key messages, all companies can use the Web to find the right people to serve as their brand evangelists.

Follow Jon Gelberg: @Jon_Gelberg