Turn on any television set and pass any magazine stand—celebrities saturate our daily lives, and they have true power when it comes to advertising. Companies of all types and sizes have taken note, taking advantage of the massive reach today’s stars offer. While celebrity endorsements continue to be a popular branding route for major players in every type of industry, it’s not the right fit for every singular company. Pursuing a celebrity endorsement is a strategic move that’s rife with risks. Rewards can be great, but the game must be played a particular way.
There are many benefits to celebrity endorsements if done right. From tapping into new markets to improving brand retention, it may be in your brand’s best interest to employ the help of a popular face.
Reach a New Audience
Celebrities allow brands to tap into massive fan bases. With many celebrities boasting millions of followers on their Instagram accounts alone, the opportunity is vast. Gaining awareness could be something as simple as a singular post. When it comes to brand awareness, every little bit counts. There has been a massive rise in online celebrities that companies have learned to capitalize on, with YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram posts serving as the perfect advertisement (though recent rumblings make it seem as though there may be more stringent guidelines regarding ads on the latter).
If you’re looking to make a name for yourself that customers remember and turn to for any particular product or service, you’ll need to come up with a strategy that helps with retention. Celebrities provide this in spades. When you picture Smartwater, images of spokesperson Jennifer Aniston come to mind. Likeable and adored by the public, the bottles have become synonymous with her celebrity status, and given the brand a standout image in an industry saturated with competitors.
Celebrity special collections can draw in a whole new batch of customers looking to get special edition items that their favorite celebrity designed themselves. Consider sock brand Stance. There’s no end to the variety of unique partnerships Stance has done. From special collections designed by pop star Rihanna to mentions of the brand in rapper Jay-Z’s songs, there’s no limit to the exposure this relatively new sock company has had in popular culture. As if the music industry wasn’t enough, the popular sock brand has also made their mark with popular athletes, as they were made the official NBA in-court socks for the 2015-2016 season. Dwayne Wade also helped create a special collection, entitled “Gatbsy”. Creating special editions with the power of celebrity can result in huge sales and expanded reach.
There are major drawbacks to signing on with a celebrity. Often their celebrity status brings less-than-stellar return on investment, and it’s important to examine the risks of endorsement before signing a famous face.
Overexposure Leads to Distrust
There is such a thing as overexposure for a celebrity, which can translate into overexposure of your brand. If the popular figure you choose is the face of too many brands, their trustworthiness in the eyes of the general public is significantly diminished. If the celebrity you’re courting for endorsement couldn’t be reasonably pictured as using your product or service, it’s not worth the investment. Modern consumers are smarter than many advertisers give them credit for, so it’s important to take your time choosing the perfect fit.
Public Image Can Change in a Heartbeat
With the snap of a camera or rumor of scandal, a celebrity can fall from great heights in the minds and eyes of their adoring public. Celebrities are put on a pedestal, and that means their achievements and their failures are magnified and blasted worldwide to finicky audiences. Unfortunately, their failures can reflect badly on your brand, and companies often must quickly distance themselves from so-called “fallen” celebrities. Consider recent events in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. When it came to light that Ryan Lochte and a few of his swim teammates had made up a story of a robbery in order to cover up their own drunken indiscretions, the popular Olympian immediately lost numerous financial partnerships. Speedo, air mattress company Airweave, Ralph Lauren, and Gentle Hair Removal brands decided to drop the 12-time Olympic medal winner within weeks of the story breaking.
Deciding on a celebrity endorsement is a matter of personal company interests. Weigh these pros and cons before approaching a notable figure and make sure this business decision works in your favor.