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How to Get Your Product Into Celebrity Hands

By: Sean Peak (Business News Daily)

If you can't afford an agency, there are still ways to get your products to celebrities.

  • Many celebrities have access to a niche target audience you're looking to reach.

  • Having a celebrity promote your product is a great way to get brand exposure.

  • This exposure can boost your sales and legitimize your reputation.

  • This article is for business owners who are seeking celebrity and influencer endorsements for their products.

Movie studios aren't the only businesses that benefit from a post-Oscars bump. Businesses of all sorts take advantage of the fame and recognition celebrities and influencers provide by using or being seen with certain products. It's not as hard as you might think to get your product in the hands of celebrities. You just have to know where to start.

"Consumers are proven to follow the trends of celebrities, and embrace in their own lives the products that those they covet and admire use," said Stacy Jones, president of Hollywood Branded, marketing group to the stars. "A celebrity seen with your brand allows you a presence that can impact your sales, and definitely increase consumer awareness of your brand."

That exposure can be a huge steppingstone toward influencing consumers to buy your products, but getting that exposure is a challenge.

How to get your products to celebrities: 1. Set a clear agenda. To beat the odds and conquer the challenges, Jones, who specializes in getting products to celebrities, recommends business owners have a clear agenda when reaching out to celebrities.

"The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want from giving a celebrity your product," she said. "If you blindly send your product to a celebrity, the likelihood is that they will never see it – and their assistant or someone else's assistant will end up with your product in their own home instead. Keep reasonable expectations in mind with what you hope to obtain through a gift of your brand. You may feel that your product is the absolute best in the world, and while it may be, the celebrity gifted may not fully be on the same page."

Tip: Frame the conversation as if you're partnering with the celebrity and solving one of their issues, as opposed to asking for exposure.

2. Determine your budget. To get your products in the hands of celebrities, you'll often need to send them over for free. Work with your team to determine how many products you're willing to ship out for free and how that will fit into your marketing budget. Regardless of the outcome, stick to an amount you're comfortable with unless it's absolutely necessary to go over it.

3. Know your target audience. When researching which celebrities and influencers to reach out to, think about which ones have a following that is similar to your target audience. If you are marketing your products toward a younger, teenage demographic, reach out to viral social media stars. If you're trying to target young men, look into contacting athletes. Alternatively, when targeting older demographics, consider celebrities who have been around for a while and retained their star power. Find celebrities who can maximize your target audience instead of blindly sending out products.

4. Reach out directly. While many high-profile people seem easily accessible due to the internet, finding the best way to directly contact them can be a challenge. For some people, the best way may be through their agent; for others, a direct email or message on social media is what works. Do some research before you start sending out messages to determine which contact method has the best success rate.

5. Work with an agency. According to Jones, the best way to set your business up to take advantage of a celebrity is to work with a talent agency that has celebrity contacts. This can gain exposure for your business in various ways, like having a celebrity tweet about your product or throwing a launch party where your product is seen with a celebrity. FYI: Celebrities who are seen with your products may not lead to a huge boost in sales, but they will create brand awareness that legitimizes your company.

Examples of successful celebrity endorsements: Oscar swag bag

Pennsylvania-based makeup boutique Kiss and Makeup had already outgrown one retail location in its short two-year existence, but nothing could have prepared the company for the growth it would experience as a result of one phone call.

"I got a call one night from a woman who I thought was just telling me all these things," said Lisa Di Caprio, co-founder of Kiss and Makeup and the cosmetics line Darci by Di Caprio. "So I didn't think much of it, but then I got a callback. She asked me if I was interested in being involved as one of 40 products included in the Oscars swag bag. At that point, I said, 'Who are you? Can you provide some references?' She did and I checked it out, then I passed out on the floor."

The call was from a marketing representative at Distinctive Assets, the company responsible for putting together gift bags for award shows such as the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards and Oscar celebrations. For Di Caprio and partner Darci Henry, how they were found by Distinctive Assets in the first place is even more remarkable. "Luckily, we have some good schools in Philly that we were able to get some interns from," Di Caprio said. "My creative designer was having press releases sent out through the interns that I would approve and send out. We got picked up, unknown to us, through someone who had seen us on PRWeb."

Thanks to that ingenuity, the pair shipped 30 gift bags that were included in the 2015 "Everybody Wins at the Oscars" gift bag presented to the runners-up in the five major categories: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

Di Caprio and Henry didn't even have to wait for the Oscars to experience the benefits of being included in the gift bag. Getting into the bag cost the small business a minimal investment of a few thousand dollars, but the exposure was invaluable. "We knew this was an opportunity that may never come around again," Di Caprio said. "It was destiny knocking on our door. We have had a huge increase in local media attention, radio, TV and print. We have also had an increase in sales, not only in our brush cleaner, but in all cosmetic sales. We also had a lot of networking opportunities we would not have had otherwise, not to mention a lot of local Philly pride."

Celebrity kids While some companies go out of their way to give products to the rich and famous, others get lucky. That was the case for Marcus Woolcott and Claire Theobald, the owners of New York boutique Beatrix. The high-end backpacks, water bottles and lunchboxes that the pair designs have been seen on the arms of several high-profile celebrity moms, including Katie Holmes, Halle Berry, Meg Ryan and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

"The first celebrity we knew of who used our products was Marcia Cross when we were still called Dante Beatrix [and] when Desperate Housewives was at its peak," Theobald said.

"She was photographed with a diaper bag, and it was really coincidental. That was the one time we sent things to celebrities, but she was seen with another one of our bags that we didn't send her. That was the first and last time that we mailed out our stuff to celebrities." While Cross was seen with a Dante Beatrix diaper bag, Liv Tyler was the first celebrity seen carrying a Beatrix New York product. Even though the company does not actively send products to celebrities, the unintentional support of celebrities has helped the small business with just three employees experience surprising growth in the past few years.

"For us, it is not like Halle Berry was seen with our monkey lunchbox and then the next day 10,000 orders came in," Theobald said. "It was more of a slow trajectory over time." Today, Beatrix products are featured in stores located in 30 states and 32 countries around the world. Theobald and Woolcott suspect that the expansion of the brand to those stores, notably many retailers in Hollywood, is how the company has become a favorite of many celebrity moms.

Growth has not only come domestically, though. This year, Beatrix New York's international sales are expected to account for 40% to 50% of overall sales, according to Theobald. The secret behind this growth is not a surprise to the business partners.

"It has been very helpful to have celebrities giving us their accidental backing," Woolcott said. "There was never a spike in sales, but I think it has become a proof point. Buyers overseas and buyers in America are looking for some kind of vote of confidence on a brand, and when they see a celebrity who is able to buy anything they want carrying a certain product, they think that it must be good and cool – especially since they are style-makers."

David Mielach contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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