Celebrity endorsements are based on a simple logic – people idolize celebrities and if these role models recommend products or services to the audience, it is bound to influence their purchase behavior.
While not all brands subscribe to the use of celebrities. The ones that do utilize this method of branding pride themselves on being associated with a known face. It helps them to establish a connection with their target audience in a relatively fast manner, because of the instant “recall value” of the celebrity.
That being said, it is not by any chance an easy proposition as well-known celebrities come with a hefty price tag. Only established brands and the ones with deep pockets have the privilege of utilizing celebrities for promoting their brand name.
This blog is an attempt to engage readers on how celebrities have the potential to transform a brand. It is meant for the reader who closely follows emerging branding trends and seeks to understand the finer nuances of branding.
Reasons on how Celebrity Endorsements Transforms a Brand
- Builds Credibility: People generally are attached to celebrities and this translates to an abiding notion of trust in their public persona. The brand with its association with the celebrity intelligently leverages this trust to their benefit in promoting the brand name. The brand-celebrity association can reassure the customer of the quality and authenticity of the product. With time the association will have a direct bearing on the performance of the brand if the fortunes of the celebrity are on an upswing. In other words, the performance of the product in the market will be proportional to the success quotient of the celebrity.
- Cuts the Clutter: A market is a crowded place and a multitude of brands are vying for the same market share. Such a situation makes it incredibly difficult for a brand to stand out. Incidentally, celebrity endorsement is the panacea that can cut through the clutter. A celebrity association can assure the brand of instant recognition and traction in the crowded marketplace. Moreover, a perfect celebrity-brand association can even compel long-standing brand loyalists to switch brands. Such small events at the micro-level can cumulatively add up creating great possibilities for the brand in the immediate and long-term future.
- Opens Up New Markets: Certain celebrities have a cult-like following in certain domains or geographies. For instance, when Nike wanted to diversify from primarily sponsoring tennis events to basketball. They signed up Michael Jordan and the association was a match made in “brand-heaven.” In no time, Nike became synonymous with basketball. Another similar example was the basketball player Yao Ming from China. He was quickly scooped up by Nike during his rookie season. Analysts suggest that the sign-up helped Nike break new ground in the Chinese sports market with the soaring popularity of NBA in the Chinese Mainland. These two are good examples of how an established brand was able to penetrate new markets on the strength of the celebrity’s name.
- Inspires Consumer Confidence: As soon as the celebrity signs the dotted line, there is renewed confidence about the brand in the market. Not all but some celebrities are known for certain qualities and the customer starts identifying those traits in the brand. Such identification can tremendously help in boosting the sales performance of the brand in the short term. However, in the long-term, no one really is entirely sure how long the association is going to last. Moreover, if the brand is a listed company, then signing up a celebrity is like a shot in the arm with improved investor sentiment pushing the price by significant base points.
- Appeals at an Emotional Level: Some celebrities especially sports personalities bring out a sense of nostalgia. They could represent a big sporting achievement that played out at an emotional level for a segment of the target audience. By signing up a celebrity, a brand can resonate with the customer at an emotional level – bringing up happy memories from the past. Establishing such an emotional connection goes a long way in cementing a long-lasting relationship with the customer.
Although celebrity endorsements are considered a safe bet. It is not foolproof by any measure. The persona of the celebrity is dynamic and it goes through its ups and downs. A classic example is Tiger Woods, who once was the poster boy of golf but went downhill both career-wise and as a public persona due to his illicit affairs. Brands associated with his had to pay the price for their association. Similarly, any brand that seeks association must carefully evaluate its options and exit strategy before bringing them onboard. Alternatively, brands must stay clear of banking heavily on one celebrity, other marketing channels must be given equal importance and weightage in case there is a need to pivot branding strategy immediately.
More from Strategy
If branding experts are to be believed then emotions are the driving force behind most buying decisions. Once a brand …