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Manchester City players will be trying their hand at running an SME

Companies have long recognised that employing idols and social influencers will bring attention to any brand. Imagine what you could accomplish then with a football team the likes of Manchester City.
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A recent Wix.com campaign envisioned the Manchester City team working their magic in the business world. Submissions for it may now be closed, but we got to ask Natalie Rozenboim, head of partnerships, how SMEs can tap into the celebrity factor.

In your shoes” gave Wix users until 22 August to submit their website designs for a chance at recruiting the Manchester City team for one day in October.

“Whether it’s magic tricks or cocktail-making, taxi-driving or sushi-making, the players will try their hand at the skills required to run a SME,” it claimed. 

“Say you’re a dog groomer – imagine the fun of showing Sergio Agüero how to shampoo a puppy. Or maybe you create delicious pizza. Picture helping Kevin De Bruyne roll out dough. We’ll catch all the fun on camera for you.”

Indeed, the point is to amalgamate the experience into one advert – definitely a YouTube hit in the making, if its March campaign is anything to go by. It likewise saw Wix and Manchester City pair up, but with the intent of promoting someone’s brand throughout Latin America. 

Below is the finalised advert for winner Gabriel Pacca’s Woo the Boards company, featuring Brazilian trio Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho and Fernando and teammate Aleix Garcia.

We’re still awaiting the results for “In your shoes”, but in the mean time we spoke with Natalie Rozenboim, head of partnerships at Wix, about making use of the celebrity factor.

“From Zoella and Kylie Jenner to the Hemsley sisters, consumers both young and old are hooked on social celebrities,” she explained. “The rise of Instagram Stories has made them more accessible to the consumer than ever before – and this is being played out in marketing strategies.

“Research around marketers even shows brands are willing to pay up to £75,000 for one celebrity endorsement post on Facebook, or £53,000 per Snapchat image. However, spending such a considerable sum of money isn’t possible for every business. And with 650,000 new UK companies created in 2016 alone, can SMEs really embrace the celebrity trend?”

It’s possible. For starters, take part in competitions. According to Rozenboim: “This particular competition allowed business owners who use Wix to submit their website so as to teach Manchester City players a new set of skills. We aimed to provide a small company a once in a lifetime chance to have the celebrity brand endorsement, without the price tag.”

There are companies happy to provide similar partnered opportunities – you just need to look for it. In the case of Wix, it was a means to empowering users – a core element of the company’s brand proposition, Rozenboim opined. Some celebrities may work with you free of charge if they adore the offering or wish to be paid in products.

Further advice was given: “Associating a brand with a familiar face is one of the fastest and easiest ways for companies to create brand association. Start off with local ‘celebrities’ who are invested in the area. Is there a previous Olympian who happens to live down the road?

“Alternatively, looking at celebrities who perhaps started off their careers in the area could work, too. Putting the question of endorsement to the celebrities is the first call.

“Looking for specific social media influencers – whether they are in fashion, lifestyle or parenting – to partner and collaborate with can also help support brand endorsement. Being the connected, digital world we live in any brand can approach an influencer anywhere in the world within a matter of minutes.

“They are clued up on brand engagement and will often make contact details readily available – some even have rate cards for activity ready to download from their website.

“So whilst the likes of Kylie Jenner or Zoella may seem a million miles away for a small brand, the concept of influencer brand endorsement is certainly accessible. Looking to utilise local connections, combined with targeted and smart budgets, can make a big impact.”

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Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

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