Celebrity endorsement is one of the most popular brand building tools. However, more often than not, it does not deliver the desired results. Why some endorsements work and some don’t? Today, I will try to solve this intriguing problem. Here is what I recommend:
To begin with, celebrity endorsement is more suitable for established, big brands. There are two reasons: First, celebrities are expensive and small brands are better off spending that money for other marketing activities that offer higher ROI. Second, celebrity endorsement solely cannot build credibility in the mind of consumer. You need to communicate AND deliver your brand promise consistently for years. Endorsement can only add to your credibility, it cannot build it for you.
Second, your brand personality and that of your endorser’s should be aligned. For instance, Michael Jordan stands for excellence, can-do spirit, winning and premium. Those values fit with performance-related products such as sneakers and soft drinks. What would you do had he endorsed, let’s say, Delta Airlines? Can you see the alignment? I can’t.
Third, make sure that the celebrity has credibility in your brand’s domain. Let’s use Michael Jordan again. When he tells you to drink Gatorate, you agree because you want to be a great athlete like Mike. But, when he tells you to buy renewable batteries, you get confused since he is not known for his support to the green movement.
Fourth, make sure that the celebrity is not too famous. You don’t want the celebrity to overshadow your brand. Otherwise, you will be endorsing your celebrity. You want to do the other way around.
Finally, invest long-term. The relationship between JELL-O and Bill Cosby lasted more than 30 years. How long will Justin Timberlake’s endorsement of Sony electronic last?
Today’s actionable tip: Find a celebrity who stands for the same values that you do. Focus more on the purpose and less on the benefit. Look at how he/she can magnify your purpose.
Why don’t you give me a couple of examples of best and worst celebrity endorsements?