In today’s world, branding is crucial for business sustenance. Nike is known around the world for being one of the most iconic brands. It was recently ranked as the world’s 29th most valuable brand in terms of its brand value worth over USD$12.6 billion by Business Week’s global top 100 brand survey.
Nike is also very well-known for using one particular method of branding that is Celebrity Marketing. In fact, one of the most successful collaborations between a brand and a celebrity is that of Nike and Michael Jordan. So successful was the collaboration that Nike and Jordan launched a new brand variant called the Air Jordan (followed by billion dollar sub-label Brand Jordan) line of athletic apparel. Nike pulled off a very similar coup in the sports industry when it joined forces with the ace golfer Tiger Woods to enter the golf category with its apparel, equipment and accessories. As is known today, Nike has emerged highly successful in golf.
This channel of Celebrity Marketing is now being used by many brands around the world and it raises some crucial questions such like, “Is associating with a leading Celebrity the most efficient way to build a brand? Should Celebrity endorsement be the principal channel of brand communications? How can brands decide on potential brand endorsers”?
Some focused questions you need to ask yourself before jumping into collaborations.
Consistency and long-term commitment: As with branding, companies should try to maintain consistency between the endorser and the brand to establish a strong personality and identity. More importantly, companies should view celebrity endorsements as long-term strategic decisions affecting the brand.
Celebrity–brand match: Consistent with the principles discussed earlier, companies should ensure a match between the brand being endorsed and the endorser so that the endorsements are able to strongly influence the thought processes of consumers and create a positive perception of the brand. While there are many factors to consider when deciding upon a celebrity, there is one important factor that sticks out more than others. For a successful campaign to occur, the brand and celebrity need to share common perceived personality traits. When this occurs, the collaboration is seen as authentic and brand elevation rises faster and more efficiently than any other equivalent branding and marketing initiatives.
Constant monitoring: Companies should monitor the behavior, conduct and public image of the endorser continuously to minimize any potential negative publicity. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ensure that celebrity endorsement contracts are effectively drafted, keeping in mind any such negative events.
Brand over endorser: When celebrities are used to endorse brands, one obvious result could be the potential overshadowing of the brand by the celebrity. Companies should ensure that this does not happen by formulating advertising collaterals and other communications.
Celebrity endorsement is just a channel: Companies must realize that having a celebrity endorsing a brand is not a goal in itself; rather it is one part of the communication mix that falls under the broader category of sponsorship marketing. Do not ignore the rest of your marketing channels and initiatives. Celebrities are not a magic bullet to campaign success.
Trademark and legal contracts: Companies should ensure that the celebrities they hire are on proper legal terms so that they don’t endorse competitors’ products in the same product category, thereby creating confusion in the minds of the consumers.
It is well advised to hire a Celebrity marketing firm and sharing your needs and requirements with them. They can select the best Celebrity for your brand or product endorsement, using data-driven decision insights. Despite what marketing agencies are doing now, Celebrity and Influencer marketing is rarely a superficial decision. With the increasing budget allocations going towards a personality-driven marketing strategy, Brands will need to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the talent strategy. Find an agency that works in your interest, whereas traditional Talent Agencies are focused on their Talent’s interest.
While factors like market relevancy, timing, appeal, brand / talent personality fit, image and price all come together to play a crucial part. Our number one guideline at The Lumenere Group is that, “It is NOT just about a Celebrity. Every successful campaign is about the RIGHT Celebrity”.