CELEB ENDORSEMENTS: Enhancing brand image or ruining it?

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Branding is one of the most important aspects of marketing a product. Branding decisions take place before a product is launched in the market and also when a product needs to be reinvented. The logo, name, symbol, tag line, colour combination on the box are all very integral parts of Branding. Whenever a company is launching a new product, the idea behind it is to make the product more attractive and desirable to the buyers as compared to its competitors’ products. This can be achieved by obtaining a distinctive identity and tapping the uniqueness of their product. If a company does not aim at making their product unique, it is bound to get lost in a sea of “me too” products.

Today, use of celebrities as part of marketing strategy is a fairly common practice for major firms in supporting their brand image. For example if we choose a segment for sports products, public figures such as Shane Warne, Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods etc are associated with many different brands.

To enhance their brand’s public image, companies often employs celebrities as the face or ambassadors of their product to boost the sales and improve their standing in the market. A very good example of this is the way Adidas has been able to make a comeback in the sneaker market since the advent of its Yeezy collection which is designed by popular rapper, Kanye West. Nike was dominating the market up until 2010 with over 90% of the market but as of 2016, Adidas’s market share has gone up from 6-7% in 2010 to 30. Some people believe it is due to the design of the sneakers but the star power of Kanye West cannot be denied.

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It is because masses idolise celebrities and when they are assured that a popular name uses a product, it affects their perception about the quality and style of a product. Trustworthiness and reliability towards a company’s products is also improved. Wearing what a famous personality wears will never go out of fashion.

Celebrity endorsements can also lead to damaging a company’s brand name when a star who falls out of favour with the public as a result of a wrongdoing or negative publicity or a personal scandal (e.g. Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius). (McMahon, 2016)

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Social media has been a major boost to celebrity endorsements. Many companies even pay up to US$10000 per tweet/post to celebrities who are active on networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote their brand online. It is a great way to generate buzz about a new product launch. Nowadays celebrities are taking a proactive role in product development and marketing.

Celebrities have segmented them into different products and put their names to fashion collections or in case of chefs and kitchen appliances which reflects the particular styles or values of celebrity. Most of the charities and NGOs cultivate relationship with celebrities because of their ability to increase public awareness of their causes due to which it encourages more donations from the public. (Research, 2014)

Celebrity endorsements are inherently unstable as endorsers are people and people make mistakes, so it has certain risks such as consumers may be sceptical as they are not sure that a celebrity really uses the products they endorse? The cost of paying celebrity to endorse the product is also quite high and the company might lose this money if they do not get the desired benefits.

Celebrity endorsements are quite profitable as celebrities enhance brand equity and increase name recognition which is really important for launching a new product. This helps in getting the necessary awareness for that product among the customers. A celebrity can build brand credibility and bring a distinctive personality to a company’s brand name.

 

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