A few years ago, I met a man named Kip Lee from Savannah, GA who owned a sunroom and window company.
Kip’s business was getting along just fine. In fact, he had one of the country’s top sunroom companies, despite being in one of the smallest markets.
Kip spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on newspaper advertising, and was just starting to dabble in TV commercials.
His first few commercials featured a spokesman who talked about the qualities of the company’s products. The actor had charisma, great stage presence, and came across as friendly and knowledgeable.
The commercials worked OK, but were not generating the results required to take Kip’s business to the next level.
I started working with Kip around this time. As I was reviewing his existing marketing materials, one item caught my eye: Kip’s infomercial.
Kip made an infomercial basically as an afterthought because the production company cut him a good deal on it. Kip only ran the infomercial on early Saturday and Sunday mornings, so it didn’t produce many leads and sales.
In the first few seconds of watching it, though, I knew this forgotten piece of advertising—relegated to a time only insomniacs and new moms were awake—was THE key to increasing Kip’s business.
Because Kip was a natural-born star.
One of the biggest reasons Kip’s company is so successful is because he has one of the most friendly, authentic, teddy-bearish personalities on the planet. When he sat down in someone’s home for a sales presentation, it was a done deal—prospects just knew they could trust Kip and that he wouldn’t BS them.
Kip’s demeanor came across like gangbusters in his infomercial. So I told Kip right then and there that he needed to be the star in his advertising.
And, practically overnight, a star he became.
First, we put Kip in a set of TV commercials. Then we started putting his picture in his print ads and his jovial voice on the radio.
Not long after, folks were recognizing him at the grocery store and in restaurants.
He heard, “Hey, you’re the guy from TV” on the daily. Random strangers high-fived him. He even signed some autographs.
Yeah, a sunroom guy… signing autographs.
But becoming the face of his franchise did more than make Kip the George Clooney of Savannah, Georgia.
As people saw Kip on TV and became familiar with his “We Take The Risk Out Of Home Improvement” pitch, they began to truly believe him.
Kip’s cost per lead started shrinking as his stardom rose. It wasn’t overnight, but that’s the name of the game when you’re using brand-building advertising methods like TV.
After a while, Kip started getting plenty of leads contacting him even when his ads were NOT running.
Here’s the million-dollar question…
Should YOU star in your own ads?
Like everything else, there are pros and cons to being the face of your franchise. So consider a few things before taking the plunge.
Can You Act?
Everybody has seen that business owner “starring” in his own commercial who looks like a deer in headlights and reading straight from a cue card. When you watch them, you feel a mixture of pity, secondhand embarrassment, and a tinge of guilt at your urge to laugh.
To pull off effective TV commercials, you have to have personality, charm, polish, and enough acting talent NOT to sound stilted. And trust me—do NOT ask for a family member’s evaluation on this.
Do You Care About Fame?
Do you want to be recognized when you’re buying toilet paper at Costco? Put yourself on TV for long enough, and it WILL happen.
You’ll start getting stares in parking lots, whispers at dinner tables, and points from children. I’m not saying you’ll get the paparazzi chasing you around town or TMZ writing some trashy story about you… but you will get noticed and called out on the regular.
And remember: not everybody is going to like you. Some will think you’re cheesy or dopey or annoying. Are you ready to handle that?
Do You Want To Be Your Company’s Brand?
When you’re the star of your commercials, YOU become your brand. People may catch your company’s name, but they’ll likely remember yours more.
This can be a good thing, especially if you’re a likable person. But if you’re planning to sell your business at some point, you could be hurting the value of your company by packaging its image so tightly with your personal image.
Starring in your own commercials can boost business big time. Plus, it can be a lot of fun. I recommend it for business owners with the right personality and who don’t plan to sell their company any time in the near future.
Just know what you’re getting into before the camera starts rolling.
© 2017, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.