Corporate Eye

Five Things Marketers Can Learn from Celebrity Branding

Marketers can learn a lot from celebrities and the PR machines behind them. As crazy as it might seem, take some time over the next week to listen to celebrity gossip on television and read about it online. Celebrities work hard to keep their names in the spotlight, drumming up positive publicity and putting out the fires of negative publicity.

What can marketers learn from celebrity branding?

First, word-of-mouth marketing is extremely powerful. You need to create a marketing plan that will keep your brand top of mind among consumers. When the buzz dies out, the brand fades, too.

Second, bad press doesn’t have to destroy a brand. The PR spin machine can wipe up just about any mess. We’ve seen this with consumer brands over the years such as Tylenol, but celebrities do it best.

Third, stay true to your brand message and image else you’ll confuse your customers who may turn their backs on your brand entirely. Take a look at Tom Cruise as an example. Here was a celebrity at the top of his career when suddenly his behavior took an odd turn that ran counter to his brand image. As a result, consumers turned their backs on him, and his box office numbers suffered.

Fourth, consumers are always watching. Just like the paparazzi is always following celebrities to feed consumers’ desires for more information about them, customers are always watching your brand, too. Always put your best product out there and make sure your messages support your overall brand promise.

Fifth, consumers are fickle. Your brand might be the most popular one day, but the next, your brand could be at the bottom of the barrel. Consumers are always looking for the next great thing. Again, look at what happened to Tom Cruise. Come back careers are not uncommon for celebrities (think of John Travolta), but it’s easier to keep your brand on top with consistent and persistent messaging than to try to climb up again.

Again, I challenge you to take a look at the celebrity PR machine for the next week, and see what you can learn from Hollywood that you can apply to your own branding plan. It’s not as strange as it sounds.

Photo source: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Great piece of writing. You have a convert :)

Thank you, Sachendra. By the way, my post about the steps to create a relationship brand is coming this week, so stay tuned!

#3 Should have been first. The biggest mistake I see online entrepreneurs make is not staying true to their brand and confusing their customers. It can sink you really fast!

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