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Preparing for a Celebrity Speaker That Will Meet Your Event Needs

Karen Viotti
Thursday, Apr 26, 2018

In our Tuesday Tip this week, we explained what you should be looking for in a keynote speaker – unique content, speaker engagement, and consistency with your overall goals and message. So how does an A-list celebrity fit into this model?

Booking a celebrity speaker brings a level of excitement to any event. You are providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for attendees to meet and greet (and perhaps take a picture with) someone they otherwise would have likely never met. They will talk about your event for years to come. If the goal for your event is to sell out, the celebrity factor almost guarantees a full house. Additionally, marketing an event around a celebrity is much easier because they bring their own brand. At an event in the past in which we booked Michael J. Fox, the client centered their theme around “Back to the Future”, which brought a fun energy to the event making it the talk of the town.

There are four things to consider when booking a celebrity speaker:

  1. Be prepared to spend top dollar. These days, an A-list celebrity speaker may cost well over $100,000, so you will need to take that into consideration when building your event budget. Their speaking fees are rarely negotiable, and often don’t include the added expenses, such as first-class travel and accommodations. Like everyone else, celebrities have packed schedules, but their name recognition and unique appeal are what drive their costs way above the rest.
  2. Don’t try to call in favors. We’ve seen it too often before. A client wants a high-profile talk show host to give their keynote, but only has a fraction of the budget for the speaker’s fee. All of a sudden, the client knows someone who knows someone who is willing to make a plea for a discount on their behalf. The speaker receives the offer and respectfully informs the client of his/her unavailability. It happens all the time. Unless you have a true direct connection to a celebrity, it is highly unlikely that you will receive a discount, and even more likely that you could do further damage to the relationship, should you wish to book that celebrity in the future.
  3. Not all celebrities are keynote speakers. Becoming a celebrity does not always equal becoming a keynote speaker. When building their platforms, celebrities have multiple choices: some write books, some give speeches, some only do interviews, some start foundations, and some prefer to stay out of the public eye all together and save the lights, camera, and action for the big screen. While politicians have had experience with stages and speeches, and are often more comfortable in front of a large crowd, authors are not always predisposed to being on stage. Their magic happens in the words they write. Keep that in mind when making your top 5 list.
  4. Be flexible. If you only remember one thing from this blog, remember this. Be flexible. Be realistic about your budget, and understand that it may not go far with that #1 A-list celebrity choice. It’s critical that we set the right expectations on the front end so that we can help you find common ground between your ideal, ultimate celebrity and your budget. Rest assured, our goal at Executive Speakers Bureau is always to find that perfect keynote speaker that meets your event objectives and budget needs. For more information, give us a call at (901) 754-9404 or visit our website at www.executivespeakers.com.

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