Being a Human Brand - Rio Ferdinand & Michelle Keegan

Being a Human Brand - Rio Ferdinand & Michelle Keegan

More and more, celebrities, sportsmen and media personalities are using their reputation to carve out new careers. From fashion to technology to business, they are exploring opportunities to diversify and start the ‘next big brand’. However, remaining human and keeping the brand close to its roots is important to keep an audience engaged.

Sportsmen and celebrities are achieving this by extending the personality from their established trade into the brand they are representing. This gives audiences an affinity with that individual, such as Rio Ferdinand’s #5 brand or Michelle Keegan’s range for Lipsy. The products they developed are seen as an extension of the celebrity involved and consumers buy into the lifestyle that celebrity portrays.

Nielsen has carried out studies into celebrity branding, which find that ads are more memorable if they contain celebrities and younger generations are a lot more likely to be influenced by a celebrity. So it makes sense to diversify into fashion or products that consumers can buy to emulate their celebrity inspiration, such as sports fans wearing #5 hats and accessories because it associates them with Rio Ferdinand, famous for wearing the number five shirt throughout his career. Similarly, those who wear dresses designed by Michelle Keegan in the Lipsy range do so in order to emulate her style.

However, when representing a brand there is a fine line to tread between growing the brand and remaining human in the eyes of the audience. This is something a celebrity must carefully consider. How do they keep the link with their fans, yet grow the brand and diversify further into other products and services?

Audiences, more than ever, want to feel like they are a part of something and feel closer to their idols. Whether that’s wearing the same clothes as them, reading their blog or interacting over social media, brand ambassadors need to ensure they are relating with their audience and making the brand matter.


News UK will today be talking to Rio Ferdinand and Michelle Keegan in separate Huddle sessions about whether success in the entertainment and sports industries means automatic success outside of it, what it takes to be a positive brand ambassador and how they manage to consistently make their respective brands an engaging part of the ‘conversation’, whilst continuing to grow it as a business.

If you would like to hear from either Rio or Michelle – or both – please see below for details of the time and location of each session.

Leary: 11am on 8th floor: Shaun Custis, Head of Sports Content at The Sun talks with Rio Ferdinand

Yoda: 4pm on 8th Floor: Sinead McIntyre, Editor of Fabulous magazine talks with Michelle Keegan.