Going for PR Gold With Celebrity Spokespeople

Gracie Gold—coming to a brand near you?

Figure skater Gracie Gold and hockey player T.J. Oshie have captured the hearts and minds of fans for their performances during the Winter Olympics. Will that translate into sweetheart endorsement deals selling various products and services? And what’s in it for communicators when they align their brands with celebrity spokespeople?

Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, and, more recently, Shaun White, became household names following their Olympic feats. No doubt this year’s Winter Games stars in Sochi will follow suit, as brands and organizations scramble to capitalize on crowd pleasers such as Gold and snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg.

Brands can hardly be blamed for wanting to share in some of the pixie dust swirling around Olympic champions. But, as with using celebrity spokespeople, there are specific PR strategies that come into play.

With that in mind, here are 10 PR tips for working with celebrity spokespeople, compliments of Mo Moorman, director of public relations at Aurora Health Care.

  1. Be specific in your legal agreement with exactly what is expected of the celebrity. Establish the number of appearances and number of production dates.
  2. Set a regular communication schedule and determine the approval process. Often you’ll work with a celebrity’s management team, not directly with the celebrity.
  3. Establish guidelines for approved media outlets, journalists and bloggers. Celebrities often have preferences about the media with which they interact.
  4. Clarify the celebrity’s role at appearances. Ensure he or she is comfortable with your expectations long before the event takes place.
  5. Get access to the celebrity's calendar. You’ll want to be able to leverage some, and avoid other, commitments.
  6. Provide message training before any celebrity appearance for your brand—and with some frequency otherwise.
  7. Get to know the celebrity’s other endorsement deals. Look for opportunities for co-branded campaigns.
  8. Share your brand’s news and highlights with the celebrity. Stay top-of-mind and demonstrate your commitment to the person.
  9. Stay current with your celebrity’s activities. Follow them on Twitter, create Google Alerts for mentions of them (with and without your brand’s name)
  10. Keep it real. At the end of the day, these are real people with real feelings and real needs. Treat them like a real person and you’ll usually get the same in return.

How would you add to the list?

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1