I’ve Got the Moves Like… Oprah?

We’ve been talking a lot about star power over the past few weeks, and who wouldn’t? The fame factor is a powerful tool that entrepreneurs can, and should, harness to bolster their own success. You know why celebrity endorsements work, and who they should be talking to, so how do you put them to work for you? Short of actually getting on “Shark Tank” or becoming an “Apprentice,” there are plenty of ways to ensure that the spotlight’s on you.

While we tend to jump to the question of just how to get Kenny Chesney crooning away about your talents, you don’t necessarily need it to come from the horse’s mouth for the glow of the red carpet to have a lasting effect. True, Infusionsoft made this strategy work extremely well for them when they gained the entrepreneurial community’s attention with a personal nod from Shark Tank’s Daymond John, but that’s not a reality for many of us still gaining on the tipping point.

The question then becomes, “How can I tie myself, or my enterprise to someone my target audience will listen to?” This is where your creativity comes into play. Now that you understand who your message is going to, select elements of your chosen celeb that will be most compelling. Take a quick side-trip to the magical land of Oprah. There’s no doubt that this queen of daytime TV has some serious power when it comes to promotion. Whether it was a book, a cake, or a car; as Oprah went, so went the nation.

Now that she’s off the air, the “Oprah Effect,” as it’s been dubbed, seems to have diminished, but only slightly. Lady O’s list of favorite things, published annually in her magazine, still manages to shoot otherwise unsuspecting companies into center stage. Additionally, companies that sell or promote “My Favorite Things” items get a secondary push because of these products. Sure, maybe you didn’t make the product itself, but you have the smarts to recognize something special when you see it, and that is an element to your practice your clients want to see, especially when it’s shared by a VIP they know and love.

If you’re among those to get a direct audience with the magic makers themselves, be sure that your red carpet recruiting works for both parties and won’t overshadow your own brand (I know, we’ve said this before). The Queen of Talk can give us a tip here as well. Just last spring, Oprah teamed up with Teavana, who made a deal with Starbucks to produce a signature chai tea sold in the iconic coffeehouses. Combining two household brand names with the slightly lesser known Teavana could, and should, bolster sales of the tea-titans.

But (and there’s always a “but” isn’t there?) it also runs the risk of having the recognition go, not to the tea, but to the persona it’s associated with. “Can I get a venti Oprah?” isn’t going to get Teavana the right mileage unless their brand has adequate visibility in the mix as well. The end game isn’t just more sales, it’s brand durability; so no matter where your luminary limelight comes from, make sure you’re the main event, not just an honorable mention in the credits.

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