In his new book, Celebrity Leverage, Contact Any Celebrity founder Jordan McAuley reveals his “Top 10 Ways to Celebrity-ize Your Business.” Join Contact Any Celebrity now for instant access to the entire book plus Weekly Celebrity Gift Bag Opportunities and more.
Here are my ‘Top 10 Ways to Celebrity-ize Your Business’:
1. Create a velvet rope. Velvet ropes always attract attention, create allure, and make people want to get access to whatever it is the rope protects. Your velvet rope doesn’t have to be physical. Magnolia Bakery in New York City has a “cupcake bouncer” outside the door, only allowing a certain number of people in at a time to buy cupcakes! Marketing guru Dan Kennedy only accepts communication by fax. Some businesses only accept a new client by referral. You get the idea.
2. Link yourself to celebrities. Get your photo taken with celebrities whenever you can for your website and marketing materials. I’ve been photographed with Annie Leibovitz, Perez Hilton, Tim Gunn, Jane Fonda, Nancy Grace, Ricky Martin, Gene Simmons, George Ross, Ivanka Trump, George Foreman, Joan Rivers, and many others. Also try to have your photograph taken with business leaders and experts who appear at conferences, seminars, trade shows, and speaking engagements.
3. Get your products in celebrities’ hands. Send your products to celebrities in the mail by joining a service like Contact Any Celebrity to get their addresses. Or place your product in celebrity gift bags and gift suites at award shows and special events. Or give them to celebrity assistants, who may recommend it to their employers, or donate product samples to film and television producers in exchange for screen time and on-air credit.
4. “Celebrity-ize” your customers. Your customers crave your attention. Interview and write about them in your newsletter or on your website. Have a “Member of the Month.” Invite them to send in video testimonials or even ask them to speak about their success with your business at your events. They’ll love the exposure, and you’ll get powerful “live” testimonials.
5. Use fictional celebrities. How can you use Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Wicked Witch, Cupid, or even Satan? The best part is, these characters are all copyright free. In 2008, Coca-Cola, Palm, iPhone, and Blackberry Storm all used Santa in their advertising without paying a dime for licensing.
6. Provide VIP experiences. Treat your customers like celebrities. Think about how celebrities are treated versus regular customers when they walk into a store or buy something from a company, and aim to treat your own customers that way. Provide them with experiences instead of just products and services, and treat all of a premium level of them like VIPs.
7. Get media attention. I’ve placed myself, my business, and my employees in local and national broadcast, print, and online media like CNN, The Associated Press, USA Today, Us Weekly, Star Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Village Voice, National Public Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, and more. This does wonders for setting you and your business apart from and above the competition.
8. Hire a celebrity for your event. Having a celebrity at your event not only provides excitement and satisfaction for attendees, it also helps you fill seats. If done right, you can use photo opportunities, media attention and more to continue promoting your business long after the celebrity has left the stage. You can also hire celebrity impersonators. When I spoke on a panel at the late Corey Rudl’s Wedding Seminar in 2004, he hired a George and Laura Bush impersonator. I thought the guests might feel cheated, but they loved it and it made for a very memorable event.
9. Use celebrity voices. The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville lets guests choose voices of country singers for their wake up calls. The Nashville Airport uses celebrity voices to get travelers’ attention. You can use celebrity voices also – real or impersonated – for announcements, voice blasts, etc. your voice may be wonderful, but most people won’t save your voice mail message and play it for friends, family and coworkers – no offense! But they most likely will if you use a well-known celebrity’s voice.
10. Write a book and have it published. I started learning about publishing in 1996, when I self-published the first Celebrity Black Book. Since childhood, we are conditioned to respect books. We throw away computer printouts all the time, but most of us probably would not throw away a book. We might donate it or give it to a friend, but not throw it away. When you publish a book, you become an expert, and a celebrity in your field.