Celebrity seeding is big business in a digital world where one celebrity sighting or tweet can send a brand into overdrive. In the latest installment of the SUITE life by HAS Events, a series highlighting the hottest emerging brands, we’ll reveal the inside scoop on entrepreneurs leveraging celebrity gift bags and gifting suites to build their brands.Celebrity product placement is big business. “The concept is incredibly powerful because it is incredibly simple,” according to Bobby Olejar of Gifting Services. “Consumers naturally accept products and services used by people they admire or accept in popular culture. If you can associate your brand with someone who is commonly accepted your product will be commonly accepted. It is the most tested and most proved marketing strategy on earth because it works.”
HAS Events founder and principal, Hamilton Sneed realizes the power of experiential marketing for his clients, first hand. Sneed works tirelessly to leverage strategic partnerships that create emotional connections and brand experiences for small businesses that understand the value of association.
The Value of Celebrity Product Placement
Sherry Smith, CEO and President of Irving, TX-based Skin Technology provided products for gift bags presented at the Dallas Cowboys Women’s Association’s Fashion’s First Down event earlier this year. The black tie affair, hosted by NFL players and their wives, gave the company exposure that, otherwise, would be hard to come by.
“It’s a high ROI,” Smith explains, when asked about her choice to participate in luxury gifting suites. “Usually about 75% [of recipients] come in to redeem their gift certificates for services. Then [there is] about a 95% return rate after that. Some clients [who first received a gift certificate] have maintained a 25 year relationship with me.”
Smith, a licensed medical aesthetician, has used word of mouth as her sole outreach strategy since the beginning of her [business]. “When I started I was 21, I had no money, and I had school to pay for. I went to the department stores and offered referral credits to the counter girls,” she explains.
Celebrity and charity gifting has provided Smith with the assurance that her product, non-invasive aesthetic procedures, is communicated to a receptive audience with philanthropic ties.
The Business of Influence and Product Placement
For jewelry designer Diamond Downs, much of her business is wholesale and she has already established ties to the local community. Naturally one would ask — so why participate in gifting suites? According to Downs, “I’m rebuilding my brand to have closer relationships with my customers. A lot of time is put into my handcrafted designs, and it’s rewarding for people to know who is behind them.”
Downs, the owner of Gehati, a luxury women’s jewelry collection, attends every event she sponsors through luxury gift bag participation. The young entrepreneur started her business in March 2011, preferring at this early stage of her career to remain hands-on and relatable to her customers. “I love seeing people wearing my designs … it makes me feel a connection to them,” Downs explains.