In 2016, as many as 20% of ads featured an athlete or at least semi-famous celebrity. Even in these times full of ex-reality show D-listers, a celebrity endorsement can still be a powerful way for brands to increase awareness, build credibility, and promote products. Amazingly, brands don’t even have to wait to feel the celebrity effect—upon announcing a celebrity alignment, some brands saw their stock prices rise and sales jump by 4%.
Why are celebrities so impactful?
Celebrities are high profile influencers! Consumers feel more sympathetic toward a brand if its products are endorsed by someone they admire or relate to—and on a subconscious level, they’re trying to emulate the celebrities desired traits (beauty, athletic ability, popularity) by using a specific product. But to be successful, a celebrity endorser must have an authentic affinity for the product. Consider some of the most successful partnerships; Katy Perry for Cover Girl or Michael Jordan for Nike—they’re believable and they make sense. How can you be sure you’re your partnership will come across as authentic? Before launching a campaign, marketers should consider these questions:
Can the celebrity become synonymous with the brand?
Is the celebrity a match for the target audience?
Do the celebrity’s values match the brands?
Does the celebrity physically embody the brand?
Is the celebrity a credible representative for the brand and product?
Does the alignment help the celebrity build his or her image?
Is the celebrity a fan of the brand?
From Tweet to Tycoon – The Right Strategy For Your Brand
Influencer strategy should always begin with an evaluation of your business goals. Although one well-timed Tweet or Instagram post from a celebrity can make a splash, a long-term partnership may be a better fit for your objectives. Temporary ambassadorships and long-term endorsement deals have a ripple effect, each impacting brand awareness differently. Temporary ambassadors typically work with a brand on a specific campaign or contracted time period and can help to shape perception or bring awareness to a new product line. Long-term endorsement deals often rely on celebrities who evoke a strong emotional connection with their followers to build a following and connection to the brand. Finally, celebrities who are owners or investors in a brand or work with brands to design products establish the most credibility of all as the brand is integral to the celebrity persona.
More Than Just A Pretty Face
Celebrities can help brands reach scale, but it’s essential for brands to keep their eye on the goal—educating consumers about their product attributes and differentiators. With this in mind, brands can tap into a celebrity’s fan base to build trust and deliver the brand message through the influencer’s voice. Celebrities with a large social media following can be a gold mine for brands (a.k.a. the “Kardashian Effect”), and that phenomenon is not limited to A-list’ers—even modeling agencies are now scouting talent based on their Instagram following! Although there are celebrities whose connection to a brand is so organic (the way, Jennifer Aniston was with Living Proof, for example) that lack of a strong social presence isn’t a concern, in most cases, that’s the exception, not the rule.
Social media can help to propel talent and brands into the spotlight, but there’s also a dark side to fame. Missteps by influencers often result in brands doing damage control, or at the very least, dealing with some embarrassment. Most brands and influencers recover from minor gaffes with little to no long-term damage. Although it’s unlikely, in today’s always-on media environment it’s worth noting that it can and does happen, and it’s a risk marketers take when working with endorsers.
Contact us to learn more about how your brand can work with celebrities to drive brand awareness and product sales.
Sources: Impact of Celebrity Endorsements on Brand Image Debiprasad Muykherjee, The Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements Anita Elberse and Jeroen Verleun, CNN The Risks and Rewards of Celebrity