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Celebrity Wellness Brands Are Everywhere, But Do They Work?

The Unwinder Pro” Newsletter For New Wellness Companies

That celebrities launch wellness brands is no surprise. The best celebrities portray an enviable lifestyle, while also letting their fans in and feeling familiar. The link between flawless and attainable must exist somewhere – and unsurprisingly, its often manifest in products. Once, this went on predominately in advertisements and endorsements, with celebrity brands rare and in collaboration with mainstream retailers. Today, with DTC supply chains and e-commerce platforms like Shopify, anyone can launch a brand, and celebrities often do.

The 2010s celebrity wellness trend kicked into high gear with Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company reaching a $1bn valuation in 2016. As Instagram made celebrity lifestyle ever more consumable, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow (goop), Kate Hudson (INBLOOM), Cindy Crawford (Urban Remedy), and Maria Sharapova (Supergoop!) launched products.

Today, about 10% of the brands The Unwinder tracks on our New Wellness Company Index are celeb-founded or led.

But the big question is – does having a celebrity founder help a wellness brand perform better?

By analyzing the marketing outputs of celebrity vs non-celebrity wellness brands in our index, we can see how having a celebrity involved effects social media and website performance. These leading edge indicators are crucial for any consumer brand to build awareness and fill their sales funnel efficiently.

A quick note on methodology: we divided the list of wellness brands we track into those with a celebrity founder or co-founder, and those without. In addition to those mentioned above, celebrity-led brands in our index included Kin Euphorics (Bella Hadid), Kora Organics (Miranda Kerr), Hello Bello (Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard), 22 Days Nutrition (Beyonce), and ~10 more. To avoid outlier skew, for both lists we cut the single top and bottom performer for each metric (e.g. Goop, which has a media arm and has 22 million backlinks).

Do Celebrity Brands Grow Faster On Social?

The Unwinder’s Instagram Growth Index tracks the growth in IG followings across ~250 wellness brands.

Over the past 3 months, celebrity-led brands have outpaced their non-celebrity wellness brand counterparts in Instagram growth:

Celebrity Wellness Brand Social Media Growth vs Non-Celebrity

The average celebrity brand is 3.33% bigger than it was 3 months ago, versus 3.03% for non-celebrity brands, meaning celebrity brands grew nearly 10% faster.

Do Celebrity Brands Have More Engagement?

Yes, celebrity brands get more engagement. We measured engagement as the sum of total likes + comments on a brand’s most recent six posts, divided by the brand’s total following.

Social Media Engagement Rates for Celebrity vs Non-Celebrity brands

On the celebrity side, @hellobello (3.37%), @ourhummingway (9.06%), @tobeinbloom (7.56%), and @kineuphorics (4.96%) stood out for their heavily engaged followings.

What’s notable to me in a year of studying wellness brand’s instagram engagement is how bipolar it is. Some brands do social right, and have engaged followings of real people. Others have so clearly bought followers who barely engage. It’s obvious, and there are few in between.

Do Celebrity Brands Have Better SEO?

Backlinks are the crucial ingredient for website SEO success. They are the single-best predictor of a website ranking high in Google organic search (and therefore garnering lots of free high-intent prospective customers). “Domain Rating” is a common metric for rating overall website SEO strength (ours comes from AhRefs).

Celebrity wellness brands have a huge advantage in backlinks versus non-celebrity brands (+60%). This is likely because anything a celebrity does is news-worthy, so when they launch a wellness brand, that generates a lot of online news stories and links to the brand.

SEO advantage of celebrity vs non-celebrity wellness brands

Interestingly, in this sample, this backlinks are not leading to a higher domain rating. This could indicate that non-celebrity wellness brands are doing a better job with other assets of SEO, like content creation, on-page, and technical.

Celebrities Are Distribution

Based on our data, it appears celebrity-led brands have a leg up in the wellness products market. This should come as no surprise. In a world of ubiquitous entrepreneurship, frictionless commerce, and near-infinite media, attention is the scarcest resource, and it is attention that a consumer brand must first seek. Celebrity brands start with the attention piece solved, and therefore can get noticed quicker, grow faster, and garner more engagement than their non-celebrity counterparts.

That said, there is more to building a brand than awareness marketing. So while celebrity brands may have an advantage there, there is no substitute for serving a customer well, repeatedly, and innovating.

News & Notes

🥗 Sweetgreen made its IPO debut, and the stock popped big – 76% above offering price, though it has since trended downwards.

🥔 Potato milk is coming for the alt-milk market, with Scandinavian brand Dug getting a writeup in Well+Good.

CBG is the hot new cannabinoid, but being rarer than CBD is more subject to mislabeling, says LeafReport. 53% of CBG products they tested were mis-labeled (most often containing less CBG than stated).

🦠 A new study probes further the link between the SAD (Standard American Diet) and harmful, pro-inflammatory gut bacteria. Plant-based helps. Inverse with the write up.

🤑 Women’s sexual health app Rosy closes a $2M round of funding.

Planterra Foods wants to crash the Beyond/Impossible party by getting first-to-market with plant-based chicken cutlets.

Instagram Growth Leaderboard

Marketing spends for the holiday shopping season are showing through, with higher Instagram growth than normal for our tracked Wellness brands.

Instagram Growth Leaderboard for The Unwinder Wellness Index, Nov 30 2021

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