Without referencing the numerous celebrity mishaps in roles as brand advocates or influencers, it’s really a no brainer to say that these individuals must be chosen with care. Should a company choose an ambassador who later manages to inadvertently evoke volatile feelings, consumers will quickly react hitting a company’s bottom line pretty hard. When entering into any sort of agreement along these lines, being proactive rather than reactive is key.
Such mishaps must be considered from the very beginning- at the contractual stage. “Contractually, a brand owner must ensure that any alteration to the reputation of the personality will allow the brand owner to terminate the contract,” says Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate in Technology, Media and Telecommunications, at corporate law firm Al Tamimi. “We also recommend that the contract states that the brand will exclusively control the way in which the announcement about the termination is made to the media- and this should specifically include social media as well, so that the personality is in no doubt about their position when it comes to a Twitter feed or an Instagram account.” And there can be more such safety measures set up beforehand as well. According to Robertson, should the contract also “ensure that the personality no longer uses or wears the brand after termination,” or even not “talk about the brand after termination,” then the contract will more or less end up being a wisely thought out one.The importance of taking time to draft these agreements cannot be understated. “The purpose of contracting with a brand ambassador is to promote the brand with a view to contribute positively to the goodwill a brand carries,” says Omar Obeidat, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property at Al Tamimi. And so, if a situation arises where there is practically no goodwill left by the ambassador to give to a certain market –a la Trump in the Middle East- it is thus critical that a brand take preemptive measures to protect its identity when setting up alliances with influential figures. It’s like an insurance policy- you may think you don’t need it, but you never know when you will.