A celebrity manager provides services such as celebrity/athlete grooming, managing his or her time schedule, public relation services, marketing and advertising campaigns, negotiating endorsements, promotional launches, parties, and personal appearances.
What do they do?
That aptly describes the life of a celebrity and artist manager. While the artiste or sportsperson has most certainly put in a lot of work to have "arrived", it's the job of a manager to help them reap the benefits and "live the life". And that is a lot of work. But that's what it takes if you want to be indispensable to the likes of Bipasha Basu, Sania Mirza, and Vijendra Singh.
Celebrity careers can last as long as a few decades or might be over before you can say "flop". In that varying span, the celebrity manager has to get the in-demand person the right brand tie-ups and the best price.
It is also the celebrity manager's job to recognise talent and nurture it before the medals and accolades prove the point. It pays huge dividends to identify a sport, or a genre (in the case of music) that is likely to catch the imagination of the masses in the coming years and pick a rising star in that field. And this takes foresight.
"We did not want to limit ourselves to cricket, and based on the country's talent pool, the industry landscape and our gut feel, we identified sports such as boxing, wrestling, football, hockey, and squash. With boxing on the top of our charts, we signed-up Vijender Singh in 2005. And the rest, as they say, is history," says Neerav Tomar, co-founder, Infinity Optimal Solutions (IOS). Singh subsequently moved on to another agency.
Tomar's firm currently promotes boxers such as MC Mary Kom (four-time World Boxing Champion), Akhil Kumar (Arjuna awardee) and Pradeep Kumar (professional boxer) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (Olympic bronze medallist).
Most of the existing top-grossers in the field of celebrity management have had unusual starts. "It all started with my passion for sports — being a National-level squash player, I always thought of promoting sports that got step-motherly treatment in India," says Tomar, who had to step off the squash court due to an injury.
One of the earliest starters in Indian rock and now a well-known artiste management professional, Subir Malik says, "It all started in the way I managed my own band and how I marketed it. We were probably the first band with our own website (1995) and advertised the band through all available channels, including the Yellow Pages. They put us under 'orchestra parties'. I soon realised that there was no organised sector in India for 'live bands' and thus Parikrama Inc was born. Today, we manage and book more than 75 bands from over 40 genres," says Malik, whose band, Parikrama, has blazed a trail for itself in the world of Indian rock.
. An amazing amount of patience and maturity
. Ability to connect with people from varied backgrounds
. Ability to come up with quick solutions
. Understand media and image-building
. Well-informed about brands
. Creative thinker
How do I get there?
After senior secondary education, you can pick up a public relations or advertising degree or diploma. Marketing and media planning courses would also provide an edge. One can then intern at a celebrity/sports management firm. Industry insiders strongly recommend on-the-job training, developing brand awareness and deep knowledge of the endorsement market