Guest Column: Celebrity endorsements increase visibility, but might hurt a company
Giving celebrities a fortune to endorse your brand or product does not guarantee sustainable sales and leads. Hereâ€™s why:
1. Celebrity endorsements can result in a short-term surge in sales and brand visibility, but this growth is not sustainable and can lead to heavy losses . There is no doubt that celebrity endorsements can punch huge holes in a companyâ€™s pocket. A common misconception dwelling for years is that celebrity endorsements can skyrocket a productâ€™s sale and bump up an organisationâ€™s business many folds, justifying the millions spent initially. Unfortunately, most of the times it is a costly mistake that results in short-term brand visibility and profits converting to potentially crippling losses.
When a celebrity endorses your product or service, the ad campaign for it only runs for a certain period, a few weeks in most cases. The campaign easily gets the advertisers the much-required eye balls, making sales and brand visibility increase, but only for the initial period. If you come to think of it, consumers are bombarded with a wide range of celebrity endorsed products on a day-to-day basis. How long can your ad campaign realistically sustain their interest and attention? In most cases, not too long. Once the consumersâ€™ attention is diverted to another brand or product, your product can easily be forgotten. Sales and business propositions can decline at the same speed at which they initially grew. Simply put, itâ€™s difficult to obtain profitable returns from celebrity endorsements in the longer run.
2. Celebrity endorsement means less resources invested in sustainable brand communication, strategy and consumer engagement. Setting aside millions for celebrity endorsements often leave very limited resources with an organisation to invest in an effective brand communication strategy. Once your product loses the celebrity face, only well-structured consumer engagement mechanisms and solid communication strategies can sustain sales and profits. Unless a company is large enough, it cannot afford both, celebrity endorsements and a strong product strategy. Good content, a foolproof strategy and higher levels of consumer engagement bring in stable profits. Therefore, itâ€™s wiser to opt for purpose branding over celebrity endorsements, where the growth curve and visibility might take longer, but can yield well planned growth.
3. Your brand is tied with the associated celebrityâ€™s reputation. It is a well-known saying that your reputation precedes you. When it comes to public image, celebrities have a hard time dealing with it for its ever- fluctuating nature. Celebrities are constantly on the media radar. Itâ€™s easier for them to fall prey to a scandal, gossip or slander making their public perception shaky and untrustworthy. When a celebrity endorses a brand, the reputation of the celebrity goes hand in hand with the product. So why take the risk of associating your brand with a celebrity whose likeability and trustworthiness can easily be threatened? Your brand should have an identity of its own that thrives beyond a celebrity face, which only adds fleeting glamour to the brand.
4. Celebrity endorsed brand campaigns can backfire if they are not a genuine fit.
Consumers are smart, and they can gauge unauthentic messages. In the digital age, people have ready access to celebritiesâ€™ day-to-day lives and brand choices. For instance, if a famous actress tweets a photo of her new iPhone one week, and the next week she is a brand ambassador of an Android phone, the message communicated to the public raises suspicion. This in turn can put off potential customers from your brand, making it obvious, that the celebrity is being paid to endorse a product they wouldnâ€™t personally use, feel associated with or care about.
Overall, no prudent marketing professional will base the future of their company on a celebrity and their short-term fame and career. The primary focus when marketing your brand should ideally be an effective and sustainable marketing and communication strategy to engage consumers.
Prasad Ajgaonkar is the CEO, iRealities Technologies
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the
author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.
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