By Abigirl Phiri
CELEBRITY endorsement is now a common way of effectively communicating your brand in the market. Modern-day entrepreneurs can also utilise whilst capitalising on such a strategy after having weighed its pros and cons against the long-term existence of their entrepreneurial venture.
That said, there is no problem whatsoever in going with the flow by utilising means that will justify the end in the form of well-known celebrities. Nevertheless, the most important point to note is that in picking these celebrities you should really be on the same page with them so that they help you to achieve your goal of extensively communicating your brand.
This is because celebrity endorsement method if done correctly does attract many people therefore creating brand awareness as well as playing a hand on recall purposes. However, just like everything else on the face of earth, it sure has some negative aspects attached to it when done wrong. Worth noting, this is what entrepreneurs should look out for and not bury their heads in the sand.
Quite frankly, this celebrity endorsement marketing strategy to get people’s attention on the market is as old as time. We all have to agree there is nothing that beats the splendor given to your product when it is endorsed by a well-known celebrity who holds the hearts of many people in the palm of his or her hands.
There is this fascinating aura that surrounds the celebrities that in the eyes of their huge fan base they can never do no wrong. It is as if they are enveloped in a bright halo over their heads of only doing good which unfortunately sometimes is not the case. At all times an entrepreneur should expect the good and the worst especially when the venture finds itself in a tricky and sticky situation especially when celebrity endorsement does go wrong.
The fundamental pointers that an entrepreneurial marketing team should consider before they rope in, on board these celebrities are the vampire effect and the hired gun problem. Now these two are the downside to celebrity endorsement because they do not work out for the benefit of the brand. Instead they work against all the marketing efforts put on the table by a contemporary entrepreneur. In the same vein, they worsen the situation and all the hard work put in by everyone will look as if it had been all in vain especially vampire effect which to me is the worser devil between the two.
The element of sucking the blood out of the advert is drawn from the ghoulish Count Dracula scenario. When the vampire effect occurs, the celebrity will in other words have “over shadowed” the product or service that he or she is advertising. Indeed, this is one thing to look out for when contemplating using celebrity endorsement as an entrepreneurial venture.
To be exact, all the attention will now be zeroed on the celebrity, outshining the product and the initial purpose of the advert. To this effect, celebrity endorsement would have overshadowed the brand image thoroughly defeating the whole purpose of using him/her on your adverts. This is happening on many countless occasions and the sales of the product or service will even drop or remain constant whilst the popularity of the celebrity however continues to blow over.
Sometimes it is not the fault of these celebrities but the marketing team itself in calling on board people such as these. For that reason, the vampire effect will suck the life blood out of the product or service and all the focus henceforth the spotlight will remain on the celebrity, dazzling and boggling the minds of the customers not to pay much attention to the brand itself. In short, your plan of action would have back fired for you now have to do quick thinking and put contingency plans in action of going back to the drawing board and seeing how you can rectify this little problem.
Additionally, if that celebrity is embroiled in some nasty business that bad publicity might affect your brand by association thus affecting your sales. This is why some brands end up revoking their contracts with these celebrities like what happened with Mike Tyson who sullied Pepsi name over these endorsement issues. Similar other celebrities like Muhammad Ali and even Robert Kelly (RK) were also caught up in such nasty debacles.
Unlike the vampire effect, the hired gun problem is when you use a celebrity who is already swamped up with many assignments of endorsing different products. Rodger Federer is one such celebrity who was endorsing brands such as Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Lindt amongst other top brands. This celebrity endorsement will lose effect because the celebrity is firstly, over used and secondly would be entailed in your advisements only for the money not for the love of the brand itself.
Undoubtedly, it is a common fact that celebrities make quick money out of endorsing brands. Consequently, both the vampire effect and the hired gun problem are the down side to celebrity endorsement which the entrepreneurial marketing team should really think through first before they use these celebrities.
Worth noting, celebrity endorsement is a good strategy in marketing that will have more people, the followers of these celebrities coming through your doors to buy your products and services likes bees to flowers. Each entrepreneurial venture’s dream is to increase its market share and have more sales for that alone is a good indication that you are doing something right. To ensure that possible cases of vampire effect and the hired gun effect do not take place, entrepreneurial ventures should first screen the celebrities they have in mind.
The screening process should take into consideration that, does the celebrity match your products and advertisement message? If it is sports related then definitely athletes will be the way to go such as LeBron James or Mohamed Sala. Also, athletes can be used for products such as watches or cars that is because they help represent time consciousness and speed in that order. Particularly in interpretation, this has a direct link with what they represent to the people unlike taking an actor to endorse these.
After having inferred that the celebrity does fit perfectly with the product/ service the next thing is to ensure that this individual has a low-key life style which is not shady. This is because if you choose celebrities whose names are constantly in the papers for wrong reasons their reputation might rub off to your brand and put you in a worse state that you had already been before.
Another issue to take into mind is that, do these celebrities have the love for your products because when you are in tandem they can do the job wholeheartedly with the purpose of wanting to achieve the common goal unlike if they are just doing it for the green big bucks. A good example is of Eva Longoria who endorses L’Oréal products of which she is a beauty queen really into facial cosmetics.
At the same time, if possible you should also consider taking upcoming celebrities or low-key ones that way the vampire effect issues will be vanquished to some extent. If celebrity endorsement is done right you will revel and marvel in the big returns but if it goes wrong, there becomes a big problem.
That said, use celebrities that will do right and good by your brand to ensure it is recalled by your customers and potential ones. Marketing requires quick thinking and acting with the sole purpose of getting more sales and making your name a force to be reckoned in the market.
As a result, do eye catching adverts by professional celebrities who are serious in their dealings so that at the end of the day you don’t end up pulling out from using them as the face of your brand like how many companies like Nike did in the case of Tiger Woods over his scandalous extra marital cases.
Actually, food for thought, you can even use celebrity entrepreneurs to endorse your entrepreneurial venture since they represent resilience and hard work just like your brand such as Phillip Mataranyika the CEO for Nyaradzo group or Tinashe Mutarisi the founder of Nash paints. All in all, these are some options that you can play around with, the intention being to grow your brand to greater heights that it deserves to soar.