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Are brands too dependent on celebrity quotient on social?

16-August-2013
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Are brands too dependent on celebrity quotient on social?

When online fashion and lifestyle store Fashionandyou launched a quirky teaser campaign named ‘Who Is She’ on its Facebook page, little did its fan know that the e-commerce portal was all set to unveil its new brand ambassador – Nargis Fakhri.

Over a million Twitter fans of Chetan Bhagat were wondering for quite a while about why he is tweeting about Shaadi.com, until the new television campaign broke on Twitter.

Social media is gradually changing the face of celebrity endorsement, making it more of celebrity collaboration today.

According to an Economic Times report, celebrities in India, like their counterparts in the West, have started including social media like Twitter and Facebook in their brand endorsement contracts or are getting paid separately for tweeting about brands, as marketers scurry to reach their online fan base. In fact, many brands are in talks with high profile Bollywood and cricket celebrities for their upcoming social media campaigns, mentioned a digital expert.

So, are brands too dependent on celebrities to endorse their proposition or they just trying to grab consumer attention using social. exchange4media speaks to digital experts to understand why are brands are betting high on celebrity quotient on social media.

Celebrities generate credibility…
Over the years, many brands have come to be recognised by their brand ambassadors. Be it for a launch announcement or during crisis management – celebrities have helped boost brands’ image in many ways.

Commenting on this aspect, Vineet Gupta, Managing Partner, 22feet said, “Celebs aid recall and have mass appeal. If you look at Twitter alone, some of the most followed handles belong to celebs. That seems to be the primary reason why you see a lot of brands trying to leverage celebrity endorsements on digital platforms.”

A spokesperson from IndiBlogger made an interesting observation, “The reason why brands look at celebs in their overall marketing is to lend credibility to their claims. That is the same reason why they’re relevant even in their content strategy.”

Taking the unconventional route…
Brands today are going beyond paid tweets and shared posts while using celebrities for their social media activities. According to Rajiv Dingra, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Watconsult, “With the social media clutter increasing, use of celebs offers an opportunity for brands to attract eyeballs and increase visibility. Also, many brands are leveraging mainline campaigns on social media and, therefore, the heavy use of celebrity-oriented content.”

Gone are the days when celebrities were just seen on television commercials, today a celebrity voluntary endorses the brands that they are associated with on social media on quite a few occasions.

What are brands gaining?
So, what’s in it for brands beyond likes, tweets and shares? “Brands today are vying for mind share and that really is the key. Hits are one, which is why all the ads link to call to action pages, such as buy, lead generation, etc. But unlike traditional media, celebs and influencers play a very different role in online medium, which is more battle for the mind,” remarked the spokesperson from IndiBlogger.

According to Watconsult’s Dingra, “The outcome for the brand would be limited to celebrity association only. As on social media, one gets better response to content than just celebrity quotient. Yes, use of celebrity does get one the views/ impressions, but interactions only happen when the content is good. On the whole, engaging content beats celebrity quotient and brands need to reinvent their content strategy in order to woo the audiences on social media.”

It will be interesting to see how brands and digital agencies create content using the new age social media celebrities in the coming days.

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