The global embrace of celebrity culture has become tiresome to many.  Tales of scandal, bad behavior and general banality surrounding film stars, singers, b-list social media influencers and athletes have led many to switch off their televisions at the outset of the nightly news.  This is understandable, especially alongside the influx of mindless reality and talent(less) shows on networks everywhere.

Over the past several weeks, the ongoing courtroom saga between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has been a sour reminder of the unwarranted pedestal that celebrities occupy in society.  It is of course only the latest in what seems to be a never-ending churn, amplified by shallow gossip magazines and vacuous celebrity-centric current events programs.

But, for the BPO community, it is important not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  While audiences are undoubtedly tired of mundane celebrities and their shenanigans, the opportunity to work with credible members of this community to bolster a provider and the industry at large still holds promise.

Consider brand ambassadorship as a tool for recruiting.  Young people across the world are intensely tuned into music, films and sports. A credible celebrity spokesperson who can offer a testimonial for a BPO as an employer of choice stands to resonate significantly among this group.  And an endorsement of an outsourcer’s capabilities via video or well-placed billboard can make all the difference in onshore and offshore destinations, especially in locations where tight labor markets make it hard to recruit talent.

This strategy to facilitating recruitment has been successfully adopted by the US-based provider Global Telesourcing, which enlists the services of legendary hip-hop artist and Law & Order star Ice-T alongside N.W.A. alumni rap icon Ice Cube to help attract agents to its team in the Mexican nearshore.  Caribbean operator itel has taken this approach also, by partnering with well-known Jamaican radio-personality Khadine “Miss Kitty” Hylton. Her stature brings instant credibility to the local brand among prospective employees.

Also, consider the ability of celebrities to draw attention not only to a particular vendor but to the industry as a whole.  It can be argued that the outsourcing space has been the victim of poor perceptions in the general public.  Rightly or wrongly, this has made it more difficult to recruit talented agents into the industry, and it also has colored the views of enterprise decision-makers.  However, someone of public acclaim can act as a spokesperson or partner to highlight the benefits that BPOs deliver. In short order, this can better position the credibility of individual outsourcers and the sector.  This concept has been proven by South Africa’s Western Cape province’s outsourcing industry body, CapeBPO, which partnered with celebrated cricketer JP Duminy to draw attention to the sector from an audience both at home and abroad.

This is not to say that an outsourcer has to work with major Hollywood, Premier League or NBA stars. Rather, it may be more effective to enlist a spokesperson of local prominence.

Still, “credibility” is the keyword when using any celebrity.  Outsourcers must be discerning in terms of finding celebrities who are well-viewed and seen as role models.  This means avoiding those whose names are in the newspaper for all the wrong reasons.

Fundamentally, celebrity spokespersons convey reputation. Done well, that should allow a BPO provider to gain caché from prospective recruits, new clients and the community on the whole. Miss Kitty, Ice-T, Ice Cube and JP Duminy are four excellent examples of how outsourcers can strategically use celebrities.  When choosing a celebrity partner, do so wisely – it can make all the difference.

Image from Angela N. used under Creative Commons licence