Michael Jordan and Nike, Michael Jackson and Pepsi, Jennifer Lopez and Venus. For decades now branding giants have paid big bucks to get celebrities to endorse their brand and it’s not hard to see why. It can be a critical and very profitable part of your brand strategy.
From winning athletes to global superstars of the entertainment industry, the use of celebrities as brand ambassadors offers significant advantages to a company.
Celebrity endorsement is concerned with the strategic alignment of the celebrity brand and the marketing brand. A celebrity brand spoksperson can attract attention and generate emotional affinity with the brand in a way that may not be possible with traditional advertising.
A well-matched celebrity endorsement partnership can benefit the brand when the target audience transfers their admiration for the celebrity onto the brand, thereby allowing it influence their purchase decision making process.
As well as influncing the bottom line, aligning the brand with celebrity gives the brand greater access to more fans. The wider the fan base the larger the spread of the marketing message and the increased profitability of the brand.
7 Essential Tips to Getting the Right Celebrity Brand Match
Celebrity Brand Mismatch
In the same way brands develop a perceived brand image within their market, celebrities develop a public persona based on their professional achievements and public behavior. The closer aligned the brand image and celebrity image the better the return on investment of the celebrity endorsement.
Using a celebrity who’s public image, or what they stand for, which is incongruent or does not align with your brand’s message/image and what it stands for, will cause confusion and largely do more harm than good.
Damage to Reputation
The danger of using celebrities to endorse your brand is that any discrepancies in their personal life can damage the reputation of the brand. Celebrities as brand ambassadors should be looked upon as role models or inspirational people for your customers.
In associating your brand to the celebrity it is intended that their positive public image is reflected on to your brand. An athlete who tarnishes their reputation by using drugs instantly strips value from any brand they were endorsing. Tiger Woods lost millions in sponsorship deals when brands were quick to disassociate with him after his marital indiscretions.
Brands Like Winners
Sporting heroes are admired because of their talent and performance. They are desirable brand ambassadors as they inspire audiences and positively influence purchase decisions, as long as they are winning…
There is a risk to brands when investing in a sporting partnership in case the athlete is ‘off form’ or performs poorly. The value of the sports celebrity to the brand is only as valuable as his or her performance in the field. The ROI often lies in the amount of media coverage they receive. A player who is not getting the pitch time offers little value to the brand.
Personality is also a factor. If the athelete is lacking in the personality stakes then they are of little value as a brand representative at consumer-facing events or brand-focused media activity.
According to a national survey, Brian O’Driscol is Ireland’s most admired sports personality, favoured by one in four irish adults. It is a combination of his performance on the field with his personality off the field that makes him appeal to consumers and the brand alike.
While the use of celebrity endorsers has been shown to improve brand recall, increase brand awareness and help develop brand image, the cost of signing up strong celebritiy role models as brand endorsers is often prohibitively expensive to small business.
Even by Irish standards, IRU players can command €10,000. for a single corporate appearance, never mind the cost of exclusive brand partnership deals. There are however a number of ways to align your brand with a celebritiy ambassador without bursting your budget
If you have identified a celebrity that fits with your brand identity and can increase your market penetration or reach with your target audience then gifting your product to that celebrity may be a way of gaining greater exposure for your brand.
Neff Headware is now popular street wear among snowboarders, surfers and other boarding customrs. Unable to pay for celebrity endorsement in their early days the company sent their merchandise to up and coming influencers in the sport. When the audience began seeing the brand being worn by their sporting idols the demand for the brand sky-rocketed with the company enjoying a 300% increase in revenue over the last 3 years.
There is a growing trend of getting aspirational celebrities on board as brand ambassadors by offering them an equity stake in the company. This allows the company to land high profile endorsement while maintaining cash flow. Furthermore, the celebrity has an incentive to continue their association with the brand and continue to offer promotional support.
Traditional celebrity endorsers were those that had wide audince recognition and influence. Some of the biggest influencers of the 21st centuary come not from entertainers and athletes but from those with a large online following.
Frequently bloggers have as wide and significant a reach as traditional celebrities and demand fees of far less to promote a brand. By redefining ‘celebrity’, brands can harness these people with an engaged internet following and use their online voice to fuel marketing campaigns for the brand.
Many celebrities rely on sponsorship to suplement their salary. Therefore remaining relevant and maintaing a positive public perception is equally important for their earning potential.
Celebrities that have had their reputations tarnished in some way often look to improve their public image by being associated with charities and non profits. Small companies can use cause marketing to find common ground with potential customers. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. This makes the brand attractive to celebrities in public disrepute.
Celebrity endorsement is not for every brand but it certainly broadens the potential customer reach for those that find a suitable celebrity match.
• Have you considered if your brand is suitable for celebrity endorsement?
• Does your brand strategy include elements that would be attractive to a potential celebrity ambassador?
• What do you think of celebrity brand endorsement?
Drop us a line we’d love to hear your thoughts.