Grow Your Business Like a Celebrity: Harness the power of celebrity endorsement

Grow Your Business Like a Celebrity: Harness the power of celebrity endorsement

Names matter.

Especially when the names are as big as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Rihanna, Ronaldo, etc. Or the names can be as meaningful as Nike, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, or McDonald’s.

Celebrities and brands have always been part and parcel of each other; celebrity endorsement has influenced generations and fashions, building mindsets and identities, making brands out of icons, and transforming brands into personalities.

It’s an INEVITABLE branding and marketing tactic for businesses.

Whether running a brand or working in a branding campaign for a branding campaign, here is a must-read article that’ll add value to your knowledge base. Keep reading.

What is Celebrity endorsement?

Celebrity endorsement is a process that is used for two main purposes: promotion and awareness. Usually, brands utilize the fame and popularity of celebrities to promote and market products.

Some nonprofit organizations also mount the idea of raising funds or spreading awareness about particular environmental, societal, or global causes.

A positive celebrity endorsement looks like what the collaborations of Michael Jordan and Nike resulted in – a new brand like Air Jordan.

Emma Watson’s work with UN Women to promote gender equality by including men and boys in the campaign is also a work of celebrity endorsement.

The much-needed elements here are a cause, the audience, the value, a brand, a celebrity, and the right hook that connects them all. To sum it up, celebrity endorsement is a marketing strategy, or awareness campaign targeted to specific audiences to promote or raise awareness.

Now, it is important to understand who the celebrity is. Brand endorsing celebrities don’t necessarily have to be movie stars. Social media influencers, artists, musicians, and even fictional characters like Mickey Mouse or Batman can be brand endorsers. 

What are the Benefits of Celebrity Endorsement?

Among the many benefits of celebrity endorsements is not a boost in sales. Yes, brand endorsement through celebrities improves sales figures for a temporary time frame. But that is still temporary. 

But the effect celebrity endorsement has on brands is persistent. It leaves major imprints seen throughout years or decades, in fact. It helps ease market expansion, improves brand positioning, etc. Most importantly, a brand starts getting a competitive edge in the market.

Here are a few things brand endorsement helps build –

Trust

Celebrity brand endorsement helps create trust and credibility. If the celebrity is someone like Michael Jordan, it is common for people to be swayed by their endorsement messages. The value offered to the audience should resonate through the celebrity endorsing a brand.

Building Quality Perception

Celebrity endorsement helps brands build and sustain the quality perception of their product. It gives the audience the idea that a certain product is of high quality. LeBron James promoted the sneakers brand, and David Beckham testified about the quality of Gillette Razors, which improved the quality perceptions of both brands.

Sales

Celebrity brand endorsements improve sales in the short term. However, the long-term effects are also present in cases like Mint Mobile. Ryan Reynolds’ brand endorsement caused a revenue increase of 50,000% within three years.

Brand Loyalty

Endorsements through celebrities can help brands establish a loyal customer base. Michael Jordan’s endorsement helped build a loyal customer base for Air Jordan.

Brand Personality

McDonald’s has been endorsing their brand personality with new and energetic artists like Travis Scott and BTS. Their launch of personalized meals adds to the brand personality McDonald’s is trying to establish. The collaboration with Travis Scott left a good, lasting expression on McDonald’s, which went viral as the Travis Scott effect. The “Travis Scott Meal” made some of the locations of McDonald’s run out of Quarter Pounder ingredients.

Market Expansion

Endorsed branding can help a brand branch out into new markets without the resources needed to enter a new space. Plus, the fans of the celebrity endorsing a product become the purchasers of that product.

Product Positioning

Another important aspect of celebrity brand endorsement is product positioning. Both in eCommerce chains and brick-and-mortar stores, celebrity-endorsed products do well in sales. When kept on the shelf or in a POS place, these products catch the attention of people visiting the store.

Celebrity endorsement through product placement in stores and eCommerce stores has huge benefits. Store owners can place images of celebrities endorsing a product at the storefront or at the window. Such endorsement images boost brand awareness and improve the company’s sales.

3E Benefits of Celebrity Brand Endorsement

The types of benefits any brand will receive from endorsements are also categorized into three different categories. Here are the three different celebrity brand endorsement benefits –

  • Enabling
  • Enticing
  • Enriching

The 3E benefits of brand endorsement are related to different types of human needs. These needs usually come under common typologies such as motivations, values, needs, and goals. When a celebrity endorses any product that fulfills any of these needs, the audience feels the impulse to purchase them out of trust or passion.

The enabling benefits, one of the 3E benefits of brand endorsements, help build a strong bond between the brand and the consumers. It builds a more powerful sense of belonging to a brand and gives them better control over their environment. Michael Jordan’s endorsement of Nike enables its followers to feel empowered and gives them a sense of personality, changing their behavior as consumers.

Brands have the tendency to utilize personalized experiences to create exclusivity and build a sense of connection. It reflects personal hopes and beliefs, thereby providing enriching benefits to consumers. In 2020, Snoop Dogg worked on Corona ads during the Golden Globes, providing enriching benefits to consumers.

Celebrity endorsers also can provide the 3E benefits themselves. Their good looks, voices, and humor can provide enticing benefits.

Sometimes celebrities can also offer employees enabling benefits like skills and expertise in different product categories. Many sports celebrities exhibit an active lifestyle through their brand endorsement of sports or health-related products.

Celebrities usually show off their lifestyle-related meanings and values, which consumers and followers often take as authentic meanings. These meanings can craft a sense of self and provide enriching benefits.

Risks of Celebrity Brand Endorsement

Of course, celebrity brand endorsement comes with benefits, as mentioned above. But they also come with many downsides of brand endorsement. Celebrity brand endorsements can also have negative effects. For example, if the celebrity were to be part of any controversy, inappropriate behaviors, or scandals, it would affect the brand’s image.

Negative celebrity endorsements can have detrimental effects on brands due to their association with controversies, scandals, or inappropriate behavior. Here are some examples of negative celebrity endorsements.

Negative publicity

Celebrities can get caught up in ugly controversies and problems that are hard to get out of. Some of them are baseless, and some of them have some truth to it. Often, negative publicity affects brands immensely. Sometimes, consumers change their opinion about a brand after any negative news about a celebrity breaks out.

Celebrity chef Paula Deen was also facing backlash once she admitted her use of racial slurs. She had a contract with the brand Food Network, which was terminated once she admitted to her wrongdoing. This negative publicity created around Paula Deen also affected the brand reputation of Food Network. It changed their brand image and consumer’s perception of the brand.

At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. This event caused tremendous negative publicity around Kanye West and his reputation. He had to face tremendous backlash from fans around the world, resulting in a negative impact on his brand associations and damage to several brands.

Negative Association with Celebrity

When a brand has a negative association with a celebrity, it can affect the trust of the existing customers and consumers of a renowned brand. In such cases, the consumers are likely to associate the negative traits of the celebrity with the brand that they endorse.

Tiger Woods, a former golf player who was sponsored by Nike, was involved in a public scandal. He was facing an issue with an extramarital affair, which reflected on his career. However, due to his association with Nike, the effect was also passed on to Nike through association.

Negative Behaviors

Negative behaviors of a celebrity can also alter consumer behavior. A celebrity’s negative behaviors sometimes overshadow the good a brand they endorse has to offer.

Lance Armstrong, the former professional cyclist, once admitted to doping while active in his cycling career. When the news was revealed, it had a negative effect on the brand Livestrong, which he had created himself. The revelation of this negative behavior had a negative effect on Armstrong as well.

Jared Fogle, a spokesperson who was endorsing the healthy eating campaign on Subway, was charged with sexual misconduct. He was also reportedly accused of being related to child pornography. This negative behavior made Subway Cut its ties with Fogle. Subway’s brand reputation was also being criticized, with some backlash from fans and food lovers.

These are some popular examples of the negative effects of celebrity brand endorsement. All these examples show how the negative sides of celebrity brand endorsement can impact the company’s reputation and harm consumer trust or cause potential financial repercussions.

Choosing the Right Partner for Celebrity Brand Endorsement

Here is how a brand chooses the right celebrity partner for brand endorsement –

1. Setting Goals

Before choosing a celebrity for brand endorsement, a brand needs to look into a few things. It starts with understanding what they have to gain from such endorsements. Usually, brands aim to achieve the following goals through celebrity brand endorsements –

  • Building increased brand visibility.
  • Building trust and credibility.
  • Influencing consumer behavior.
  • Increasing brand visibility.
  • Targeting a specific audience.
  • Or building an emotional connection with the audience.

A successful celebrity brand endorsement has to have goals. So, first, it is crucial to identify what goals any brands are aiming to achieve.

2. Target audience and brand alignment

This is by far the most important aspect to consider when choosing a celebrity for brand endorsement. A brand needs to first set its target audience and identify values, preferences, and interests that align with the personality of a celebrity.

So, the starting phase has to outline the demographics and psychographics of the target audience. It involves understanding their education, income, lifestyle, motivation, hobbies, and more. Brands conduct thorough market research on their customers and look for celebrities who match the interests of the targeted customers. This is how the brand aligns with the targeted customers.

3. Identifying & Shortlisting Celebrities

With the targeted audience decided and ready, it is time to shortlist celebrities for potential brand endorsement partnerships. It is critical to evaluate the credibility and relevance when choosing a celebrity for brand endorsement.

Brands usually follow a few common parameters mentioned below –

  • They look for celebrities representing the same characteristics, interests, and lifestyles the targeted customers are after. For example, fitness brands usually look for sports celebrities or celebrities who are fitness-conscious.
  • Market analysis should also help brands come up with results reflecting the industry reputation or presence of a celebrity in a particular industry.
  • Celebrities are also supposed to have high levels of expertise and skills in their fields or domains. It builds credibility, trust, and authority during brand endorsements of any type. Their strong engagement and connection with their fans help spread the brand voice through word-of-mouth marketing as well.
  • Brands also calculate the ROI while choosing a celebrity. They usually look for celebrities who can provide their partnership for fair pricing.

4. Evaluation of a Celebrity

An assessment is mandatory before finalizing a celebrity partnership for band endorsement. It helps mitigate all the negative aspects of celebrity brand endorsement we discussed previously. Here are some parameters for assessment –

  • Evaluation of social media presence is a key aspect of assessment. Brands want to tap into the large base of celebrity followers on social media. However, despite the large numbers, what matters is the authenticity of the follower base.
  • Past endorsements work like background checks on a celebrity. It demonstrates information and data related to their previous affiliation with other brands and how it helped the previous brand. This assessment also helps evaluate the alignment between a brand and a celebrity.
  • The public perception of a celebrity is also crucial when choosing certain celebrities for a collaboration. It is important to analyze different media coverages, go through opinion polls, and gauge the public perception of a celebrity before choosing them for a collaboration.
  • How does the personal branding of a celebrity fit into the brand image of a product already established in the market? Thai is an important aspect of celebrity brand endorsement before deciding on a partnership.
  • There are more people who will follow; there are more people where you need to follow as you need to follow, and there are more.

5. Staying Different from Competitors

A successful celebrity endorsement is one that stays unique and unrelated to any market competitors. For example, when all the other brands are using reality show stars, a new brand can come up with a social media influencer for celebrity endorsement. However, no matter how unique a brand is trying to be through a celebrity endorsement, they have to decide on a celebrity partner who shares the same characteristics and values as the brand.

6. Analyze Potential Initial Risk

Calculate costs and decide if the investment is worth the potential sales in the long run. If there is any doubt, choose an alternative marketing campaign. Consider the celebrity’s personal life or decisions because any press could affect the success of your endorsement. Include a morality clause to remove yourself from the partnership should his/her image change. Lastly, remember the celebrity’s longevity so that a brand can avoid having to look for new endorsers, which will become confusing for your audience.

7. Drafting and Finalizing Contract

Once the celebrity is decided upon, the brand has to draft the terms of the partnership or collaboration. They have to create a contract that legally binds both the brand and the celebrity. The legal Contract has to outline the specific information related to the partnership, such as –

  • Liabilities to the brand.
  • Deliverables.
  • Payment.
  • Timeline.
  • Dispute resolution.
  • Conditions regarding the termination of the Contract.

Both parties have to carefully go through the Contract and come to an understanding. Once both parties have agreed upon the terms and conditions, they can sign the Contract and form a celebrity-brand partnership.

Get the Most out of Celebrity Brand Endorsement

A proper celebrity brand endorsement is more than fitting the right celebrity to the right product. Brands get the most out of a celebrity brand endorsement by following strategic practices for brand endorsement. Here is a list of some of them —

Build a Long-Term Strategy

Celebrity brand endorsement should be time intensive. It is a long-term strategy. The celebrity, the brand, and the product need time to connect and build a perception of identity among the audience. This long-term strategy is critical, especially when a brand is using a celebrity to attract new customers or positioning its products in the market.

Run a 360 Degree Campaign

Celebrity marketing or brand endorsement is not simple marketing content created and displayed on TV. Brands have to be thoughtful to make the most out of such campaigns.

How?

There are multiple social channels where brands can repurpose and reuse marketing content through different formats. Here is how to use a celebrity marketing campaign for an all-around celebrity advertisement campaign.

  • Creating video advertisement content and bumpers for social platforms, as well as YouTube.
  • Banners for paid campaigns on social media and Google.
  • Articles, posts, photos, and videos for blogs and social media platforms.
  • Visual assets for company websites.
  • Email campaigns.
  • Press releases.

Prioritizing the Legalities

Celebrity branding differs from other types of marketing campaigns. It involves complex contracts, agents, unions, and more. Brands really need a legal team to help them juggle all these complex aspects. It would be wise to hire a legal consultant who is experienced in celebrity projects.

Build a Working Relationship

Celebrity endorsement is a complex collaboration that involves different parties from different domains. The most difficult part of it is that these parties have some agendas of their own. Most importantly, Hollywood stars and their agents are always super protective of their career and their image. So, it is difficult to get all the parties on the same page.

Keep Track of the Partnership

Celebrity endorsement is not done after one single collaboration. Celebrities have to maintain their image in a way so that it stays aligned with the brand’s personality. That’s why brands keep track of the celebrity’s social behaviors and standings. Such actions are not like stalking. Brands usually include clauses in the Contract to find solutions for such contingencies.

Measuring Success

There is no straightforward success measurement process for celebrity brand endorsements. However, there are still some qualitative and quantitative parameters brands can follow. It is best to schedule a celebrity campaign separate from other marketing campaigns.

This helps brands set a timeframe for the celebrity brand endorsement campaign and helps with the measurement of lead generation, sales, and other attainable metrics. Such demarcation helps with better calculation of the campaign’s ROI. 

Celebrity Brand Endorsement Examples

Rihanna X Louis Vuitton

Fashion brands and celebrities are almost synonymous. Without the touch of Hollywood stars, Luxury fashion brands are not as sparky as they should be. Pharrell Williams partnered with Rihanna in a recent brand campaign for Louis Vuitton, making it a success on different social platforms.

Chanel X Timothee Chalamet

 

Dune star Timothee Chalamet partnered with Chanel as a representative of the changing beauty standards and fluid norms of masculinity. He has continuously been challenging gender norms throughout his career in diverse roles.

This new norm of style with multiple celebrities like Timothee Chalamet and Harry Styles resulted in people wanting more gender-fluid style statements. Chanel took the right opportunity at the right moment, choosing Chalamet as the face of men’s fragrance in the gender-fluid fashion era. 

Dior X Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson is the brand ambassador of Dior Homme Sport and has been continuing his partnership with the brand through new brand commercials. In the commercial, Pattinson portrays the role of a boxer. The video showed him as an intense and active boxer with a sporty personality.

Ryan Reynolds X Mint Mobile

In 2019, Ryan Reynolds got 25% ownership of Mint Mobile. Mint Mobile has stood tall among the mobile network brands thanks to the self-aware marketing videos Ryan has been starring in for them.

Mint got creative with their commercials as they aired one of their old commercials in the Super Bowl. No, they didn’t spend millions of dollars on one ad. Instead, Mint aired one of their old commercials; only this time, it was displayed upside down. This helped them reach a massive global audience.

Snoop Dogg X Corona Beer

Snoop Dogg partnered with Corona Beer in 2020, and the partnership was a hit. The famous rapper appeared in flashy style, endorsing Corona, making a name for himself while also earning more than $10 million through their Contract.

An advertisement starring Snoop and another famous rapper, Bad Bunny, was shown during the Golden Globes.

Justin Timberlake X McDonald’s

In 2003, popular pop star and NSYNC band member Justin Timberlake endorsed McDonald for a solid $6 million. His “I’m Loving it” campaign for McDonald’s was a success back in 2003.

Jennifer Aniston X Emirates

Friends star Jennifer Aniston was the face of Emirates, the famous Dubai-based airline, in 2015. She appeared in different TV c campaigns, commercials, and global prints for Emirates. A quirky TV commercial for Emirates featured Aniston, showing that she’s having nightmares about being on a non-Emirates flight that had no shower facilities.

Selena Gomez X Coach

 

Pop icon Disney star Selena Gomez starred in several commercials for the famous commercial brand Coach. Her social media presence and power to influence her followers are paramount. In fact, during this Contract, Selena was one of the most followed celebrities on Instagram. The brand endorsement initiative seems to have increased Coach’s sales and sort of resurrected the brand from a state of lethargy.

Ronaldo X Armani

Previously endorsed by Beckham, Armani chose Ronaldo for Armani Emporio jeans and underwear and jeans.

Final Thoughts

Brands have been using celebrity brand endorsement tactics to attract and influence audiences and people for more than a century. Harnessing the power of celebrity fame has always been beneficial. However, celebrity brand endorsements have both benefits and drawbacks.

In fact, there are worst examples of brand endorsements by popular celebrities. Pierce Brosnan faced a huge backlash for endorsing Pan Bahar. The collaboration did put a stain of ‘Pan’ on his public image. But, with both the good and the bad sides in mind, brand endorsement has to be done properly with all the pros and cons in mind.

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