Leveraging Icons to Reach Target Consumers

In today’s increasingly competitive and fragmented retail environment, the need for differentiation has become more necessary than ever. Consumers are spoiled for choice, with an unparalleled amount of information available at their fingertips and the ability to purchase anything, anywhere, at any time.

While this is certainly a boon for them, it means that marketers and manufacturers need to double down on their efforts to ensure their products stand out from the crowd and attract their target customers. However, building recognizable, trusted, branded products takes time, and with increasingly savvy consumers demanding authenticity above much else, it can be a perilous undertaking. With shelves full of product, what’s a brand marketer or manufacturing to do?

Cut through the noise by leveraging the star power of a celebrity. Better still, choose celebrities who have, through their achievements, longevity, and appeal, become iconic in their own right. These ‘Icons’ are uniquely well-positioned brand ambassadors. With a track record of successful partnerships to their name, multi-generational appeal, and virtually no risk of adverse PR, Icons provide immense value to manufacturers. Their distinct brand values and attributes quickly communicate your products’ value proposition and positioning to consumers.

Icons are not new to product licensing. Their reputation is well-established, often times over the course of decades. Icons have a long history of public scrutiny, with their professional and private lives long ago having been tried in the court of public opinion. A history of brand partnerships confirms an Icon’s marketability and appeal at retail.

This established history and credibility in the market facilitates complementary licensed product categories in apparel, accessories, personal care, and the like. An appeal to consumers of all ages is another benefit of a licensing program driven by an Icon. Because an Icon is so well known, multiple generations will have positive associations of him or her. This is especially true for entertainers, and actors in particular. While Baby Boomers might fondly remember seeing a film starring Sophia Loren at their local cinema, Gen Xers and Millennials likely watched those same films with their parents or grandparents at home. With Ms. Loren’s continued ability to generate press through her speaking tours, fashion show attendance, and other high-profile events, she continues to create new fans.

Steve McQueen, for example, has long running partnerships with a variety of industry-leading partners, including Persol and Tag Heuer.

Finally, unlike new and upcoming talent, Icons have established attributes and associations well-known by consumers. With innumerable books, articles, films, and television shows examining their life and work, the likes of Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison have become synonymous with genius and innovation.

Both can lend their name to a variety of product categories, creating an instant connection between the products and their unique qualities they have come to represent. From collectibles to cutting edge technology, these Icons’ legacies are long established in the public eye.

In a crowded marketplace, differentiation is key. Leveraging an Icon to launch a licensed product confers not only instant recognition, interest, and associations, but also mitigates the risk inherent in any launch. With little to no reputational risk, appeal across age groups, and a track record of successful product launches, Icons allow the products they represent to cut through the noise of the marketplace and reach consumers in a meaningful way.