«Return to Blog List Fortune 500 Companies: Celebrity Endorsers of B2B

velvet rope

If you sell consumer products like skincare, sunglasses or video games, a celebrity endorsement can be a powerful thing.

In the B2B world, you can still tap a famous individual – but it’s not necessarily wise. Accenture recently had to drop its endorsement of Tiger Woods.

When selling B2B, Fortune 500 companies are usually the celebrities we want and need to endorse our products and services. Celebrity – whether it’s Lance Armstrong or IBM – carries a lot of prestige today.

“Today it’s more important than ever to associate your business, your product and yourself with celebrities – and even make yourself into a celebrity – to rise above the competition,” states Jordan McAuley, author of Celebrity Leverage.

I recently read McAuley’s book and while it’s mainly focused on leveraging celebrity individuals, some of his ideas can help you get B2B endorsers on board:

Open the door

McAuley recommends starting out with a small request, which he calls the “foot in the door technique.”

“When someone first complies with a small request, they are more likely to later comply with a larger request,” McAuley states.

Personally, I’ve seen that work well for companies trying to get their biggest customers to publicly share their story. Start with a testimonial or reference call before approaching them about a case study, press release or speaking opportunity. Ease them into a deeper relationship.

Know your endorser well

If you sell consumer products, you have to know if celebrities have children or about their lifestyle habits in order to target effectively.

In B2B endorsements, homework is just as important. If you want to feature a customer, know what their current goals and challenges are as company. Then approach them with a pitch that ties perfectly into a message they WANT to communicate publicy. Align your goals with theirs and it’s a much easier sell.

Set up a velvet rope

Exclusive nightclubs create an air of limitation as if only the rich, famous and beautiful are granted entry.

You can do the same in B2B marketing. Limit access to a program, event or promotion by numbers or by timeframe.

For example, limit a special event or webinar to a small number of participants. Or, give your audience a hard deadline by which to sign up for a special offer.

Many people don’t act without a sense of urgency or exclusivity.

What have you found effective in getting “celebrity” endorsements for your business or industry?