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Small Business Heroes

How to Win Celebrity Endorsements. (Hint: It's Not About the Money.)

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
5 min read

For entrepreneurs and small-business owners, trying to win celebrity endorsements by offering them competitive sums of money is a losing proposition.

That’s why Aubrey Marcus, founder and CEO of cognitive supplements company Onnit, doesn’t even try. Most celebrities already have pretty fat wallets, and new business owners often don’t.

Onnit pays modest sums to a small group of its celebrity endorsers; the rest aren’t paid at all. In most cases, the company chooses to keep its celebrity endorsers happy by providing them products and advice.

“It’s about being of service to them other than just throwing money,” says Marcus.

Related: 6 Tips for Scoring Celebrity Content for Your Website

The Austin, Texas-based supplement company has celebrities including comedian and athlete Joe Rogan, Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller and NFL linebacker Brian Cushing.

Onnit has grown rapidly since its launch in 2010, with sales jumping from $23 million to $28 million in just the last year. That’s an impressive track record for a startup, and even more so given that the supplements industry is not without its skeptics. The company, which has 80-plus employees, is also consistently ranked one of the best places to work in Austin.

Promoting its celebrity endorsements is a key part of the company’s marketing strategy: A significant portion of the company’s homepage is dedicated to featuring the company’s celebrity endorsements, which it calls the “Onnit pros.”

To hear more about how Onnit keeps its cadre of celebrity endorsers happy, watch the video above.  

Related: 5 Considerations When Seeking a Celebrity to Endorse Your Brand

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