Talent partnerships are relationships. Each partner needs to put in 100% for the relationship to be successful. In an everyday scenario, it looks like this: You work a full-time job to provide financially, take care of the kids, clean the house, grocery shop and cook, and do the laundry, all while your husband/wife vacations in the South of France. You’re exhausted, bitter and the end is in sight.

Does the above scenario sound a little too much like your current partnership with an Influencer or Celebrity Talent? Are you doing all the work, the Talent isn’t engaged and your spend isn’t showing an ROI? It might be time to take a closer look at the relationship dynamic. Here are some clear signs that your Celebrity Partnership is one-sided, and what you should do about it.


The Talent puts restrictions around messaging, wearing, or associating with your brand in public, press or on social media.

Lace up your Nikes and run hard and fast in the opposite direction from this partnership. This is a sign that either the Talent isn’t willing to do the work, they aren’t comfortable with your brand, and they just want the paycheck. Authenticity is a must and if the celebrity isn’t a true fan or user of the brand, you’ll be fighting this battle until the end of the term. In addition, your Millennial consumers can sniff a fake a mile away and will tune you out.


The Talent repeatedly changes Services, Dates or Obligations with no notice.

No one likes a date who cancels at the last minute. Your services should be just as important as the next paid date or obligation. If Talent makes a commitment, they should keep it. And if your partner doesn’t, there are plenty who will.


Talent won’t agree to meet you in person or take a call prior to signing the deal.

NEVER sign a deal unless you or your agency has met with Talent directly. Would you marry someone you’ve never met and only communicate through a representative? No. If you’re cutting a sizable check, you need to know you are choosing the very best partner for your brand.


Talent leverages a competitor’s offer to negotiate more money.

These Talent are in it for the money and have no real allegiance to your brand. This is a clear sign that the Talent already views your Brand as Daddy Warbucks and will continue to press for more money, outrageous glam fees, travel fees, and drain your bank account during the Term. A partnership should never just be about the money. If Talent can’t acknowledge the benefit of having you as a partner, find one who will. You’re a catch!


The Talent won’t communicate upcoming plans, releases or press announcements.

When Talent starts claiming items are “confidential” or won’t provide a detailed press plan, launch plan or tour dates, it either means he/she (a) doesn’t have anything scheduled (a red flag in re: to relevancy) or (b) he/she doesn’t see you as a trusted partner. All relationships are built on trust. Establish it at the beginning.


The most successful partnerships are built when the Brand and the Talent trust each other, visions and goals are aligned, there is a revolving door of opportunities for both partners beyond the scope of the initial contract, and communication flows freely. It seems simple, but more often than not, brands are blinded by the sex appeal of a celebrity partnership and do not heed the warning signs. A bad relationship will cause many sleepless nights and potentially cost you your job if it doesn’t deliver. So before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself, is this partnership one-sided?