When it comes to establishing your credibility and value, few things are more effective than endorsements. An endorsement puts a trusted and well-known figure behind your invention. It says to potential customers, in effect, “I wouldn’t stake my reputation on this invention unless it performed like its creator says it does.” This is an enormous help in the task of establishing your invention as something worth buying. But how do you go about getting endorsements for your invention?
Well, there are basically two types of endorsements you can get for your invention: endorsements from respected people in your field, or endorsements from celebrities. We will examine each type separately.
Endorsements from those in your field
Getting a respected authority in your field to endorse your invention is an excellent way to build credibility. Fortunately, getting one is a bit easier than getting celebrity endorsements. There are a few ways to go about it. One way is to contact the person you are seeking an endorsement from and simply ask for one. Tell him or her that you are willing to send them one of your widgets and that you would appreciate a few positive sentences to use in your promotional materials. Nine times out of ten, the person you ask this of will be happy to help. Just be respectful of their time and be sure to thank them if they do help you.
If you are not sure how to strike up a conversation with this person, try flattery! After all, if you are in the same field as this person, you should have some common ground right there. If they have a great product on the market, tell them how big a fan you are, how you use it yourself, how you have recommended it to others. This builds some good will between you and establishes a basis for continued conversation. Once this has been done, feel free to come right out with something like “Hey, so speaking of kitchen widgets, I just invented a really neat new so-and-so and I was wondering if I could send you one to check out and possibly review for me. A testimonial from someone as accomplished as you could really help.”
Where do you find professionals in your field? Typically, trade journals, conferences, or periodicals are the best source for this information. Anyone who publishes papers or is generally considered an authority in a field will probably be in these publications. You can also ask your colleagues if they know anyone of importance.
Endorsements from celebrities
Now, a word of caution: A-List celebrities like Angelina Jolie probably won’t be singing your invention’s praises anytime soon. However, that does not rule out local celebrities! An excellent article on Helium.com gives some practical tips on how to find them:
“Try local celebrities. Many local radio personalities are not only expected, but contractually required to advertise for a certain number of sponsors. Contact your local radio stations, and you’ve got your celebrities. Local acting schools and modeling agencies are filed with eager students, always needing a few shots and spots to boost their portfolio.
If you do want to spend the bigger bucks, subscribe to the professional version of the Internet Movie Database and gain access to actor’s agencies. While you may not net or afford any A-Listers, there are plenty of more obscure actors who would consider giving an endorsement.”
Of course, it helps if your invention is in some way related to what the celebrity is known for. For example, it would not make very much sense to ask a radio DJ to pipe up your latest suite of computer programming tools. But if you just invented a new kind of stereo speaker or sports widget, a radio DJ would be a perfect fit. Seek out celebrities that have something in common with your field, and you will drastically increase your odds of scoring that killer endorsement.
We live in a celebrity obsessed world, so it certainly makes sense to try and get one to endorse your invention. However, it may be far more effective to go the first route: getting one from a credible authority in your field. These are people who your customers already know and trust. You can only benefit from capitalizing on their good will. Additionally, some celebrities are very polarizing. Half of your customers might love someone while the other half despises them. It would be a shame to alienate potential customers over something trivial like that. Therefore, you should take care to only seek out neutral celebrities that don’t engender a whole lot of controversy.
If you are diligent and selective in the process of seeking endorsements, you will almost certainly secure one. It is simply a matter of getting out there and making the necessary phone calls.
Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of IdeaBuyer.com, the online marketplace for intellectual property that gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.