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Who is Endorsing YOU?

Who is Endorsing YOU?

August 27, 2008

Whether you're a fan of the Democratic Convention or not, you have to admit there are few things more powerful than an endorsement.

Just ask Barack Obama.

If you believe the media reports, neither Hillary nor Bill Clinton got any suggestions from Obama about what they should say when they made their much anticipated speeches this week.

Do you think Obama was hanging on their every word? He wasn't the only one. The media and the millions of Hillary supporters were wondering what the Clintons would have to say. And they both delivered what appeared to be sincere, genuine endorsements for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Endorsements are so powerful that rap-rock musician Kid Rock told People Magazine that entertainers shouldn't even be sharing their views on politics and trying to influence how people should vote.

Political careers rise and fall on the power of endorsements. So do businesses.

The secret is to find those people who have an untainted influence over their followers. You'll be shocked to find out that many people who have large customer bases or who appear to be in a position of influence, in fact, are not. Their influence and recommendations are not taken as seriously because they have been known to sell out.

The first-tier choice, therefore, are those influencers who, when they speak, have followers who listen because they've earned their trust. They have credibility and they are considered an expert and have a position of being unbiased in the market.

They may be a user of your product, but most often they're aware of their influence and the benefits of networking for you.

How to get endorsers to support you

They want to be on the cutting edge and to look good. And if you can help them look good, then they will be happy to recommend you. How do you make them look good? Here are a couple of different ways:

  • Provide something that's of extraordinary value to their followers.
  • Provide something that their followers don't already have immediate access to or might not know about.
  • Provide something that's newsworthy, new or innovative.

They also look for ways to make passive revenue from their position of influence. This is known as the "toll booth position." If you can show them how you can help them make money by networking with you, that will excite them. Keep in mind that many won't want to be bought by money, so brainstorm to find another perk that they would appreciate.

Kevin Plank knew the power of endorsers when he started Under Armour in the 1990s. To get other athletes interested in his T-shirts, the former University of Maryland football player gave them away to his old teammates and to professional football players. He knew younger players would follow and did they ever!

Speedo knows full well the power of endorsers. Its suits gained worldwide accolades when Michael Phelps won eight gold medals wearing its suit. When was the last time you heard so much about Speedo?

A brand catastrophe that nearly back-fired

But that endorsement nearly turned into a catastrophe when Phelps threw down his Speedo goggles in disgust when they filled up with water during the 200-meter butterfly and nearly cost him the gold medal. Imagine if he would have finished second! WARNING: Your product really can rise and fall based on your endorsers.

William "The Refrigerator" Perry got everyone's attention with his endorsement for Big Ass Fans. I'm not going there.

Who else better to endorse a grill than George Foreman? By the way, that same grill had been sold for years with little success. But since the former boxing legend put his name on it and advertised it on infomercials, the company has sold millions of the Foreman Grill.

Remember the secret of endorsements: find those people who have a positive influence on your prospects and give them a reason to promote your product. Can you make them money? Would your product make them look good? Can you give them access to a market they're not in right now?

Tell me about an endorsement you recently got. I'm at JonGoldman@BrandLauncher.com. I'd love to hear your story.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon