Rob Glen / Aug 17, 2020
Welcome back to Thirstie’s 3-part series on “Celebrity Endorsement in the Digital Age”. This 3-part series offers advice on how to successfully leverage celebrity endorsements, and also highlights what to watch out for when managing a celebrity endorsement. Below is part two of this series. For part one, click the following link https://rb.gy/8f3he1
So why do brands employ celebrity endorsements?
There are many benefits of investing in celebrity endorsements, including (but not limited to):
To promote sales and brand loyalty: One of the primary benefits of using celebrity endorsements is of course a sales boost and increase in brand loyalty. In other words, if you select the right celebrity to endorse your brand, consumers will buy and support your brand as a direct result, simply because they like that celebrity
To inspire consumer confidence: Another benefit of having a celebrity endorsement is that it inspires consumer confidence in your brand. When a high-integrity celebrity is willing to associate their legacy and personal brand to promote a product, this gives consumers more confidence in the products or services your brand is offering.
To showcase their actual investment and passion for the brand. Celebrities who have “skin in the game” and invest their money into the company behind the brand are very effective and authentic spokespeople. This is quite common in the Beverage Alcohol industry.
Examples of Celebrity-backed brands in Beverage Alcohol industry: Mary J. Blige & Sun Goddess Wines; Ryan Reynolds & Aviation Gin, Justin Hartley & Avila from Revel Spirits.
To leverage the influencer: Lastly, since celebrities have their own brand base and influence, their endorsement for your brand will extend to their fans, who will buy and endorse your brand because of the celebrity association. You gain new advocates as well as customers.
Are celebrity endorsements effective?
Yes, and here’s why:
The public love familiar faces: Celebrity endorsements are effective because familiarity reduces risk. When we see a familiar face, we are much more likely to try a new product.
The public follow celebrities: Another reason is that many people view celebrities as icons, which makes the average person much more likely to try to mimic their behaviors.
To open up a new demographic: Another reason celebrity endorsements work is that it exposes their products to new demographics. For instance, if your chosen celebrity has a totally different demographic base than your brand, then you will immediately be exposed to an entirely new group of potential consumers.
To capture a quality association: Leveraging a reputable celebrity endorser, especially one who people believe would be selective on premium quality, transfers this same association to your brand.
To ensure more memorable marketing: Lastly, using a celebrity association makes your marketing messaging more memorable and stand out in a crowd. Words of Caution
A Tarnished Reputation
Celebrity appeal can turn on a dime. There are many examples where a celebrity’s behavior will expose your brand to significant risk. Out-clauses in contracts for these types of behavior are standard, and brands can actually leverage their celebrity divorce through quick actions and promoted responses.
Examples where issues have negatively impacted brand appeal: Jared Fogel (criminal charges) and Subway Restaurants; Lance Armstrong (cheating) and U.S. Postal Service.
Additionally, celebrities that promote everything under the sun lose their credibility with consumers, creating a huge expense with diminishing returns. It is best to ensure industry exclusivity in contracts and careful section criteria to prevent selecting endorsers who are already over-exposed.
It is important that consumers actually believe the celebrity who is endorsing your product actually uses it. Millennials are particularly wary of endorsements by celebrities, especially when they come off as spokespeople just in it for the money without a believable connection to the brand.
Next week we will return to review the do’s and don’ts of celebrity endorsements.
Rob Glen CMO — Thirstie, Inc.