Re-thinking the notion of talent endorsement

20th October 2017 by Hannah Thompson

Do brands always need to invest large sums in talent endorsement? Does the rulebook stipulate that the more you spend, the more value you deliver? Of course, it helps but I don’t think it always has to be the case.

Talent is such a broad term that it can encapsulate anyone from an athlete to a social media influencer to a respected journalist, they’re talented because they’re experts at their craft.

Expertise is not the only consideration, Cristiano Ronaldo is always going to drive awareness but not every marketing director can operate in that commercial space, brands need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) when it comes to aligning a talent strategy.

In January, Sahara Force India unveiled the London fashion brand, Farah menswear, as their Official Apparel partner for the 2017 F1 season. With no visibility on the car or access to their drivers, we developed an alternative talent strategy that celebrated the team behind the drivers.

From a communications capacity, we knew if we contacted earned media partners with an interview request with a team mechanic or operations manager, we may have got a luke-warm response. The strategy behind the #RaceReady Series was to develop an analytical content approach to highlight their roles and contribution to the team.

By re-thinking the notion of talent, we delivered SMART content in a lifestyle media context for earned media and own channels, did you know that hospitals seek advice from Sahara Force India about their systems and processes, analysing the race weekend with a view to being more efficient in the operating theatre?  Brands shouldn’t ignore the talent that sits right under their nose.

Jaguar, the Official Car Partner to The Championships at Wimbledon, introduced Rufus the hawk, the official bird scarer. Rufus had one job, frighten pigeons away from the courts. Rufus achieved national media fame with the Telegraph, The Sun and CNN covering the alternative talent story.

The obvious benefit of this strategy is the commercial savings, brands can adopt an always-on approach and distribute more topical and newsworthy content throughout the year. As more campaigns are rightly analysed against engagements as opposed to impressions, I think brands can ‘afford’ to be a bit braver.