No matter the kind of business you’re engaged in, networking is everything. Many entrepreneurs already know how important it is to build a strong business network, but it appears many are still misled into thinking that quantity is what makes a network strong.
While it’s definitely good to cast a wide net and try to reach as many people as you can when running your business, you should also prioritize chasing relationships that will elevate your network. Keep in mind that you are the average of the five people you associate with the most. The same goes for your brand. Collaborations with influential people like celebrities can catapult your business into a world-class success.
In fact, many brands that are at the forefront of consumers’ thoughts today reached that status because of a single quality relationship, and likely an endorsement from a celebrity, whether formal or informal. You’ve got LeBron James for Nike, Michael Jordan for the Jordan brand and the Kardashian-Jenner clan for their own fashion and cosmetic lines for starters.
Over the past couple of years, HighKey has collaborated with more than 50 celebrities. Not only have these celebrity relationships done wonders for HighKey’s branding and value, but they have also given me unparalleled insight into what it takes for a business to successfully network with celebrities. Here are some of my top tips:
1. Identify celebrities who align with your brand.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, quality not quantity matters the most when you’re networking. Celebrity networking doesn’t work by sending a blast message to every celebrity you can find on Instagram and crossing your fingers in hopes that some of them respond. First, you have to take your time in identifying specific celebrities who will bring something good to your brand. In return, these celebrities should also stand to gain something from collaborating with your business, or you can’t really expect them to respond to your proposal.
For a partnership to be fruitful, both parties should be better off after the collaboration than they were before. For HighKey, the mutual benefit is simultaneous promotion. No matter what your business is, though, you will surely be able to find value for celebrities who agree to collaborate.
2. Make sure you’ve heavily invested in your own brand.
You can have some of the most interesting pitches possible, but the first thing a celebrity will do upon receiving an email or Instagram DM from you is to Google your brand to find out if it’s something they want to be associated with. If you have properly invested in your own brand, then you shouldn’t worry about this vetting process. To check, put yourself in the shoes of celebrities. For example, my company highly values press and Google presence and makes it a central part of its branding and marketing strategy. You’ve got to google your own brand/business name and see if the top results would convince you that the proposal is worth a shot if you were the celebrity you’re trying to network with.
I’ve always emphasized investing in one’s personal brand since it’s the foundation of all successful ventures and collaborations. If your brand doesn’t command attention, you’ll find it hard to partner with celebrities who already have enough influence to actually be a valuable asset for your brand.
3. Maintain the relationship by reinvesting in it.
Once you’ve made successful contact with a celebrity and they’re willing to give you a chance, you have to take care and nurture the relationship since you want the celebrity to be happy with the way you conduct business. You need to value the relationship over single transactions. Make sure that the celebrities who work with you appreciate your business and are willing to collaborate further in the future. Longevity is key to any great networking relationship, especially with high-level clients and personalities. These celebrities always have brands and companies hoping for a chance to get endorsed, so once you’re in the door, protect your position by reinvesting in the relationship.
4. Have reasonable expectations.
Business is business. If you want a celebrity to be associated with your brand, your budget has to make sense because celebrities understandably expect a lot of money. If you do things right, though, the revenue or increase in sales you would get from your celebrity network should be more than enough to cover the upfront costs of the collaboration.
5. Don’t put limits on your ability to collaborate.
Despite having reasonable expectations, you shouldn’t put limits on your ability to network with any high-level client. At HighKey, we have accomplished many successful celebrity partnerships, including collaborations with Kevin Hart, Lil Baby, Snoop Dogg, 6ix9ine, Bella Thorne and many more, that have brought us to where we are today. However, I’m not close to stopping because my vision is endless, and yours should be, too. Believe that you have the capability to achieve any level of collaboration.
Similarly, if you believe in what your brand has to offer and the value you can provide to celebrities, then you should definitely shoot for the stars.