From Sarah Bernhard and Lily Langtry in the early 1900s, to Michael Jordan in the late 1980s. To more recently, with Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga, marketers have always used celebrity endorsements as part of their PR and branding strategy to win the hearts and minds of customers.
Today, the popularity of social media and widespread access to the internet has created the phenomenon of online, self-made superstars. It has also reinvigorated the status of well-known, A-list celebrities.
Celebrity and influencer endorsements can be immensely beneficial in generating buzz for a brand. This can influence purchase decisions.
Here are other ways that celebrities can influence your marketing campaign and overall business, and examples of brands getting it right with celebrity marketing.
Influencing Buyer Behaviour with Celebrity Endorsements
According to Sheila Khoeler, author and instructor at Princeton University, one of the reasons people are fascinated by celebrity is an inborn curiosity to learn what makes celebrities famous, and our own desire for fortune and fame. For this reason, consumers pay close attention to products that celebrities are using, wearing or talking about.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, an Oscar winning actress was instrumental in boosting T-Mobile’s customer base and visibility, starting in 2002, when the lesser-known mobile carrier was just entering the market.
Generate Buzz for a Product
Perhaps the primary reason marketers leverage the power of celebrity is to generate attention about a product. It’s easy for a festive product launch to be forgotten soon, given consumers’ short attention span.
However, continued celebrity endorsement can help to make a product or brand ‘sticky’. This will leave a longer impression beyond just a fad. This explains why most brands sign up their celebrity ambassadors for contracts spanning as long as 3 to 5 years, just to create a long lasting buzz for a product.
David Beckham is one of the most-loved H&M ambassadors. The 2015 Modern Essentials campaign was extremely popular among middle-aged men. It was Beckham who helped to generate buzz around H&M men’s spring collection.
Other celebrities who have generated buzz for fashion brands includes Penélope Cruz for Loewe. Below you’ll also see a full length stylish Youtube video Marion Cotillard featured in which generated over 2 million views for Dior and lot’s of attention.
Creating Brand Awareness and Outreach
Brand awareness is particularly important for small businesses with few trading years. Unless you have a strong product and a big marketing budget, gaining that awareness for your product can be difficult. However, one celebrity endorsement can catapult your brand from obscurity to fame.
The rise of online celebrities such as bloggers, social media gurus, funnymen and video superstars has made it possible for small businesses to gain the benefits of celebrity endorsements on a smaller budget.
A small business such as Nip+Fab made use of video bloggers specialising in the beauty niche. They then moved on to secure a big celebrity endorsement contract with famous Kylie Jenner to promote their skincare products.
Reviving a Brand
While small brands often struggle with awareness, big brands can succumb to the doldrums symptom. They gradually cease being popular with their once enthusiastic fans and are overtaken by competitors.
At a time where the business environment is highly competitive and consumers are increasingly discriminative, it can very difficult to revive a ‘dying’ brand. However, a well-crafted celebrity endorsement marketing campaign can be an effective antidote.
Take the example of Adidas, a global sports footwear brand that has been struggling under the weight of Nike’s immense popularity. In May 2015, Kanye West helped launch the Adidas YEEZY BOOST sneakers. This move was instrumental in increasing Adidas’ second quarter returns by 17%.
Celebrity Endorsements Overview
According to Ivan Yuen and Allen Lau, the founders of Wattpad, small businesses stand to benefit more from celebrity endorsements and partnerships if they look at the partnership as a two way street. As the marketer, you are providing a means for the celebrity to engage with their audience. At the same time the celebrity is introducing their audience to your product.
Celebrity marketing is not suitable for every business. However, it is possible to realise the potentially enormous benefits of endorsements. To do this the partnership should be diligently planned, executed and managed.