It’s easy to assume that celebrity sells, but relying on star power doesn’t guarantee campaign success. Among the most challenging aspects is conquering authenticity. what exactly defines an authentic celebrity endorsement? Let’s explore based on Susan Coghill’s keynote at Advertising Week APAC.
During yesterday’s presentation at Advertising Week APAC, Susan Coghill, CMO of Tourism Australia, revealed the five guiding principles for working with great Australian talent, from A-list celebrities to lesser-known figures, as she went “Beyond the Famous Faces.”
And in case you’re wondering, these principles are:
- Authenticity drives effective advocacy
- The role of talent must be clear
- Make the idea better
- Create an ensemble
- Go for longevity
But while each principle could easily merit its own dedicated article, one aspect that should be on everyone’s radar is Tourism Australia’s clever approach to conquering the first, what Coghill dubbed as “the ‘A’ word.”
Expressing her views on authenticity Coghill commented, “I have to say I’m not a big fan of the word authenticity. I think it’s terribly overused in marketing and presentations. But I have to start there because when your brand is not a product, per se, it’s a country, […] it’s a culture, authenticity is so incredibly important.”
So how did Tourism Australia master authenticity so effectively?
For context, 13 years ago, Tourism Australia established their Advocacy program, made up of over 100 influential people from around the world, united in their shared passion for Australia. These ambassadors range from sports stars, fashion designers, celebrity chefs, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, actors, and artists and boast the likes of Chris Hemsworth (their global ambassador), Kylie Minogue, Jessica Mauboy, and Kylie Kwong.
Thus the Advocacy team devised what Coghill describes as “the winning formula” for collaborating with such exceptional and diverse talent, and their findings provide a formidable framework for brands for their own celebrity endorsements:
Experience + Storytelling + Passion + Influence = Effective Advocacy
Coghill elaborated on the winning formula, explaining how “In an effort to be as thorough as they can be with their strategy […] our Advocacy team thought through the implications of removing any single one of those elements.”
Experience + Storytelling + Passion + Influence = Inauthentic Promotion
Removing experience, the contextual element, leads to inauthentic promotion. Coghill explained, “If you remove the context of an amazing Australian tourism experience or a strong connection to Australia, the result is inauthentic promotion. And that’s really what celebrity for celebrity’s sake looks like.”
Storytelling + Passion + Influence = Unfocused Enthusiasm
Omitting the art of storytelling, or in other words, great content, leads to little more than “just people doing stuff.” “Great storytelling cuts through and connects with people. If you remove that, what you’re left with is unfocused enthusiasm,” emphasised Coghill.
Experience + Storytelling +
Passion + Influence = Paid Endorsement
Removing passion leaves you with a common paid endorsement. “Now, I appreciate that that works for some brands. But for us, that passion for Australia, and the people, and experiences really is essential,” stated Coghill.
Experience + Storytelling + Passion +
Influence = A Nice Time
Lastly, remove influence and, in Coghill’s words, “what you essentially have is a nice time.” We all love a good time, but unfortunately, it’s probably not what’s going to be driving your desired brand or commercial outcomes. Coghill also advised that influence isn’t always about the big numbers, “it’s about credibility with a certain audience or another group of influential people.”
Well, there you have it – all this knowledge and know-how, on the house! As brand owners and advertising professionals, creating a personalised “winning formula” for you and your audience is key to fostering authentic advocacy. Although, in my opinion, Chris Hemsworth can fit seamlessly into any winning formula.
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