Being associated with a well-loved celebrity who has a credible image can have a positive impact on your branding. As well as helping to capture consumers’ attention, it says you’re a brand to be trusted and the qualities the celebrity possesses can also be linked to your company.
However celebrity branding should be approached with some level of caution. It’s a big decision for your business and one you should make sure you get right. There are cons as well as pros, so you might want to consider the points below before you choose to take your business down this route.
Cons of celebrity branding
- Celebrities are human too: Not all celebrities are ideal brand ambassadors. As well as making sure they relate to what you’re selling, it’s worth doing some research to see what else they’ve promoted to avoid any negative associations that could rub off on you. One of the worst things that can happen with celebrity branding is when a celebrity is involved in a scandal, as their negative publicity could have a damaging effect on you. It’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s rare for people to be famous forever, so when a celebrity’s career comes to an end, you’re likely to lose fans too. It’s for this reason most organisations work on a contract basis and sign up different personalities at the end of each term.
- Your brand could get eclipsed: You may think you’ve hit the jackpot by getting a hugely popular celebrity to endorse your product, but they could end up overshadowing your brand. With advertisements it’s wise not to focus on the celebrity too much, as it could mean there’s no brand recall. Before you make any commitments, it’s worth sitting down and deciding exactly what it is you want the celebrity to do. For example, some celebrities have distinct voices that are recognisable even without seeing their faces, which could be a more subtle way to add celebrity branding to your product or service. After all, it’s your brand, not theirs.
- It can be very expensive: Unless you’re prepared to spend a substantial amount of money, you might want to re-think this type of marketing. That said, if you have a great product and you manage to get it into the hands of someone with a huge social media following, there’s a chance you could make it big.
Pros of celebrity branding
- It adds credibility and builds trust: People are emotionally connected with their idols, so getting the stamp of approval from someone who’s influential should lead to a substantial amount of people instantly trusting your brand.
- It helps to personify your brand: As soon as a celebrity endorses your product, their attributes automatically get transferred to your brand. But for celebrity branding to be successful, it needs to make sense. What you’re selling should match the celebrity’s personality so they can attract the right audience. For example, David Beckham is a sports personality and he promotes sports products like Adidas. But he’s also a pin-up so he can use his status to enhance the profile of brands such as H&M and Gillette too.
- It can attract new customers: As soon as a celebrity promotes your brand, they open you up to a whole new market – their diehard fans. People who may not have known or cared about your brand will now see it as desirable, simply because their hero is endorsing it.
If you decide that celebrity endorsement is right for your branding, it’s vital you consider all the legal aspects first. You should always get permission from the celebrity otherwise you could find yourself in the middle of a costly law suit. You wouldn’t want to end up like Taco Bell, which was ordered to pay 50 Cent $4 million in 2008 for not getting permission to use the rapper’s name and trademark as a way to endorse their low-cost menus.