In the entire gamut of storytelling in media, be it advertising or persuasive communication as we call it or then
the entertainment domain - the two main pillars of a story are 'Brands' and ‘Talents'. Here talent refers to the
human element. In layman’s language, talent means – a person with a potential skill or attribute.
Let us first understand the difference between who is a celebrity and what is the basic difference between a celebrity and a star?
To differentiate it in one word, it is 'Fame'
A star is a public figure and has a lot of contributions to his or her projects whereas a celebrity is famous but may or may not be skilled enough and just carries face value.
Like everything around us, celebrities also rank on the basis of hits, profits and face value.
'A’ lister celebrities are the ones at the very top of their field. Be it a movie, artist or broadcaster their notoriety extends beyond screens. With them on board, the movie is a profitable project for sure. It may not always be a box office hit though. 'Kalank' as you know was full of 'A’ listers, their pre-sales got profits but it wasn't a hit per say. In other words, 'A’ listers are brands that pre-sell films or services that they offer.
On the other hand, 'B' listers can not get sales without getting propped by another brand and a 'C' lister is the one who is usually known by face and not by name. Talent management as a profession involves a holistic approach to the talent or celebrity-brand fit services.
It includes two areas of work – Business and Service Operations. Some celebrities have their business managers outsourced to professional talent management agencies.
A few of the popular ones today are Kwan Entertainment, Bling Entertainment Global, Mates, Exceed Entertainment and Matrix Inc amongst others. Other celebrities have their own managers in an individual capacity who look after the business opportunities and the day-to-day operational functioning for them.
'Creating a brand out of an individual is the role of the talent manager', if I were to explain it in one line, it is about building up the desired perception of the human brand and maintaining it.
The talent manager shares a one on one connection with the celebrity/talent. He/She looks at the image of the celebrity 360 degree by strategically planning the multi-medium and multi-functional presences of the celebrity. For this, the manager must have a proper understanding of the individual's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) and work around it with consistency and focus.
The manager also needs to make sure that the celebrity/talent maintains to shape up with the set goals.
Talking about the business aspect of the profession, the talent manager is required to intelligently seek opportunities for the celebrity she/he is handling.
The most utilized business opportunities for a celebrity are with brands, TV /Web shows, a film, special appearances in events (televised and non-televised), CSR activities and Catalogues amongst others. There is also an event triangle that converts sponsorships and sponsorships into promotional leads.
Nowadays a lot of celebrities have a very heavy digital presence. Apart from the normal Instagram – Facebook and Twitter handle which promote their professional activities, they maintain specifics. For example – Shilpa Shetty has an Instagram page and a mobile application especially with her focus on Yoga, Health and Food.
Many times a particular celebrity may not have projects in hand due to which he/she tends to get off the limelight. After all, 'Out of sight is out of mind!'
The manager has also to plan for such fluctuations as they are a part of every business. Avenues like CSR tend to work best in these kinds of scenarios. The aid in getting the celebrity in focus or in news.
It is also important to understand that for an established personality, a brand or for that matter any business lead, the focus would be enhancing their value in a progressive manner. The face value is also to be considered while looking at the celebrity - brand fit. That is exactly why brands reach out to personalities they think would match up the purpose.
The truth is that a conventional celebrity can be a great endorser for a brand but an unconventional endorser may prove smart advertiser for the same brand.
Talent/Celebrity schedules/contracts and payment receivables fall into the operational aspect of the manager's role. A good manager is one who knows where and how to play the good cop - bad cop and how to be an apt transfer learner who can switch roles by the clock.
A manager needs to always remember that a celebrity would never want another celebrity as his /her manager and hence he/she needs to be and behave as a balanced resource to function.
Maintaining the fan/audience engagement of the celebrity in both ATL and BTL is a crucial element in the manager's role.
Talents and Celebrities are not confined to television or film actors alone. It is an extremely vast zone and includes sports personalities, musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, models, motivational speakers and political figures to name a few.
Each of these needs managers to handle their business and routines. Only then will they function with a focus in their roles as a celebrity and perform at their best.
To be a celebrity manager, the skill set you need is to be organised, patient, street smart and presentable in appearance. You are able to think on your feet and are well-informed about the current updates of the industry
You are excellent with your written and oral communication skills.
This is one profession in mass media which helps you as a candidate to build a strong network.
The rule of thumb here is - 'Work Smart & Network Hard'
If you are a beginner, here are a couple of things for you to keep in mind.
Getting internship opportunities in celebrity management is uncommon. The reason being, just in case you are allotted a celebrity and the celebrity gets used to your style of functioning and you leave the agency as your internship completes, it may prove a client loss for them.
On the other hand, the agency may not even allot you a celebrity directly due to the same reason, more true if you are a beginner. Also, they aren't sure if you are able to handle the celebrity. Sometimes a candidate may end up managing or assisting the manager of a celebrity especially if the candidate is an untrained one.
The best option to get into celebrity management is to do your 1st internship in PR or Marketing and then join a mid-size talent management agency as your 1st job. It's the most sensible way to learn the tricks of the trade and build your professional base in the media.
Another thing is that getting into a big organisation at entry level is not advisable as you may get lost in their hierarchy and compartmentalisation.
Always remember that professionally trained entry-level candidates are able to make a better learning curve during Internships as compared to a raw candidate who may not even have a clue of what he or she is getting into or even know what work area to focus on.
Talent management is not only a very lucrative profession but also is a 'ladder' to most of the work roles in media when you are not able to get the 'lift'!
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